2010-05-18

Mì Ăn Liền "Thịt Xào Pork Flavor"

Brand: Mì Ăn Liền
Flavour: Thịt Xào Pork Flavor
Format: styrofoam bowl
Packets: four
Identifiables: noodle dome, flavour powder, oniony oil, dried veggies
Sodium: 1.03 grams

First, I had a stretch of being busy enough that ramen reviews weren't on the agenda. Then... well, you'd think that it would be easy enough to remember to buy replacement batteries for my camera. Amazingly, I forgot for several days in a row, then went out of town for a few days to help friends move, and now here I am, nearly a month after the previous review. I can only apologise and get on with it. Here, we have another treat from Ramenbox, a Vietnamese noodle soup with a name that has all sorts of unusual accents in it.

A note on the name of this bowl: Understand that I occasionally do professional document layout and design. I've created my own custom keyboard map to allow me to type nearly every accented Latin character, every (monotonic) Greek letter, and nearly every bit of punctuation I could conceivably want. Still, I find myself digging back into the old character map to pull out the multi-accented letters of Vietnamese, all so you can read the most accurate review possible. Why don't I do this for Chinese, Japanese, Thai, or Korean language script? Because that's just too geeky for even me. (Though I've been tempted to try. Oh, I do love Unicode.)

Because of the smooth finish, I initially thought the bowl to be plastic. It turns out to be rather sturdy styrofoam, with a foil top that's glued on almost too well. Inside are four packets, but only if we count the clear one containing an approximately bowl-shaped brick of dry noodles. A foil packet labelled "soup base" holds sandy powder. Another clear packet labelled "flavour oil" containt precisely that, pale oil with a few dark-brown bits of fried onion in it. The last packet holds dried vegetable bits and is labelled... "flavour oil". One wonders....

The instructions are simple enough, though slightly odd in that there's no mention of the fill line inside the bowl, just an encouragement to "pour boiling water nearly full". Three minutes and a good stir later, the bowl is full of swirling noodles and lightly-coloured broth with veggies and... something. That something is flavoured soy protein yearning to simulate pork. Oh, don't give me that look; you eat more of the stuff than you even realise. It's good for you. The appearance, however, is that of unappealing tan flakes of fish-food.

Fortunately, this bowl is surprisingly good. I say "surprisingly" because I've traditionally had a rather mediocre time of instant Vietnamese-style noodles. These noodles are typically thin vermicelli-style, meaning they tend to hold more of the broth between them. (The scalding hot broth. Be careful, ramen lovers.) That broth is simultaneously light of texture and full of flavour, so much pork and onion and a bit of black pepper. The ill-looking porkish floaty bits turn out to be tasty enough that they're not a negative. Thus, I'm glad to say that this is a tasty bowl and delightfully free of sugar. The verdict? Decent stuff, even if not brilliant.

Numbers: packaging 2, preparation 3, heat 1, flavour 3, overall 3
Music: Setsuo, Tomozou, Sato, Yuko, Kirry - Megaman X - Storm Eagle

1 comment:

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