Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Shin Ramyun - Hot and Spicy

This brand of Hot and Spicy has already been reviewed. Although I agree very much with the previous review, I still like this ramen a lot for the following reasons:

1) It is 120 grams instead of 100 grams like the typical ramen. More weight means a more filling meal. I ate this two days ago when I was very hungry.
2) Sometimes you're just looking for a hot and spicy soup and a "meat" flavor is optional. This flavor is extremely potent!
3) There are tons of dried veggies in the packet.
4) The ramen shape is round, which means it fits nicely into my microwaveable bowl.
5) The noodles are at least hefty and chewy; better than some other brands.

I recommend putting in just half of the spices packet and all of the veggie packet. Even though this ramen is very spicy, it's still one of my favorites.

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Friday, October 21, 2005

Nissin Demae Ramen - Tonkotsu Flavor

What is Tonkotsu flavor? Curiosity drove me to try this particular brand of ramen, despite the general mediocrity of the Nissin Demae product line.

As it turns out, Tonkotsu flavor is tasty! The package comes with a seasoning oil packet and a spices packet. The overall flavor is similar to sesame, and the spices packet includes sesame seeds. So if you like sesame, this flavor is for you!

Of course, the sesame broth did little to mask the tasteless filler that Nissin likes to call "noodles," nor did it include dried veggies or other spices to give the flavor some kick. Still, it was more flavorful than the pork flavor and different from any other ramen I've ever tried. Interesting, I did a quick Internet search for Tonkotsu, and it's supposed to be a pork, onion, and garlic flavor. Not much like Nissin's Tonkotsu flavor!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Six Fortune U-DONG Noodles

The Six Fortune U-DONG Noodles is a Korea product. The Korean made Ramens have bigger packages than most others. They often come in as a 4.2oz (120g) packge compares to a 3.5oz (100g) package for most of the others like Nissin's. That is a good 20% more. So if you're hungry, this will do a better job filling you up.

There are 2 soup base pouches inside each package. One pouch provides most of the flavor which appears to be heavily miso or soybean based with a touch of seafood flavor. It taste like most of the other Korean made ramens except this one is not spicy hot. The other pack provides some dried carrots and seaweeds. The texture of the noodles also appears to be the same as all other Korean noodles. Korea must be a very homogeneous country and everyone there have the same taste.

I like to overdo my Korean ramens somewhat. Reading from instructions on the package, it also advise you to "Quick cooking in 3 minutes". By that, I take that the manufacturer would like you to cook it instead of just add hot water to it. You may still get the same result by adding hot water, only you need to leave it in the bowl a little longer, say 10 minutes. You may even want to heat it up in a microwave oven before eating because by the time it's ready, it may already cool off somewhat.

Since I like Korean ramens, I'll give it a favorable rating of 8 out of a possible 10. I do think all korean ramens tastes alike, on both the soup flavors and the texture of the noodles. Your choice among the Korean noodles is basically spicy hot or not. Either way, I don't mind eating it often.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Sapporo Ramen - Miso Moyashi

I've previously blogged about Sapporo Ramen's soy sauce ramen. On our latest trip, we ordered Jon's favorite, the miso moyashi ($8.75) with extra noodles ($1.75). We forgot the digital camera, so no pictures, sorry!

The miso moyashi comes with ground pork and heaps of Chinese vegetables, including bean sprouts and Chinese broccoli. The ratio of meat to veggies to noodles is quite good, although the extra noodles are so absorbent that the broth can run out quickly. It is probably okay without the extra noodles. The broth is miso-flavored, which has a very light taste and is good if you are looking for something subtle. The chewy noodles are a better accompaniment to the miso flavor than the soy sauce flavor because the noodles are also light and somewhat tasteless. But the noodle texture does provide some nice heft to the soup. Jon adds garlic, chili paste, and vinegar to his soup, which gives it more flavor. I like to stay true to the purity of the ramen.

With the extra noodles, we both ate our fill for dinner and had two servings leftover for lunch the next day. A great deal and a nice bowl of noodles!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Doll Beef Flavoured Instant Mifun

As I ate these noodles, I had to ask myself, "Where's the beef??" Doll Beef Flavoured Instant Mifun is another uninspiring part of Doll's insipid noodle lineup. I had high hopes for this one, mostly because it's pretty difficult to mess up mifun. Also known as "rice sticks", mifun is made out of rice (duh!) and is much thinner than regular ramen. It is similar to the noodles used in pad thai. Although mifun is thinner than ramen, it takes longer to cook, because the noodles are capable of absorbing more water than ramen usually absorbs.

The flavor packet for these noodles was actually two connected packets. I've never seen this before, and I'm not sure if it was an intentional design or if the company is too lazy to cut apart their flavor packets. It is very difficult to use it without splitting it into two, so I had to end up cutting it apart anyways. One of the packets contains a pretty disgusting looking yellow curry paste, and the other packet contains the standard flavoring powder.

Hmm, doesn't look too bad from the picture, huh? Well, it didn't taste horrible, but there was pretty much no flavor besides 'salt' in this bowl of noodles. I didn't get any hint of beef, in fact, these noodles tasted more like chicken than beef. That leads me to wonder if the manufacturer actually put in the wrong flavor packet into these noodles.

It's pretty difficult to mess up mifun, because they are naturally quite flavorful and have a good texture to them. The Doll Mifun isn't terrible, but lacks any sort of impression, either good or bad. The failure of the noodles to live up to their labeled flavor is disappointing and misleading at best. My recommendation is stay away from the Doll brand; there's nothing I've seen from them that has impressed me.

Doll Beef Flavoured Instant Mifun - 4.0/10

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Sapporo Ramen - Acceptable and Convenient

1815 Mass Ave.
Porter Square, Cambridge
Hours: Mon. - Sat. noon-9 p.m.; Sun. noon-8 p.m.

Unlike California, Boston has very few restaurants that serve ramen. One of the few in the area is Sapporo Ramen, located in the Porter Exchange Building food court. It's a decent bowl of ramen but nothing spectacular.

Be prepared to fight for your seat - there are only three picnic-style tables with about six seats each. You'll have a decent chance on weekdays, but forget about it on Friday or Saturday night. Once you're seated, you have the choice of three different broths - soy sauce, miso, or clear (which I presume is the base stock. Either that, or steroids). Each of these broths has five or so versions with different meats and veggies. Jon usually gets the miso moyashi with ground pork and veggies. Last night, we decided to try the "normal" flavor of soy sauce standard, which comes with roast pork, bamboo, bean sprouts, scallions, and nori for $7.25.

The broth was very tasty and I liked the presentation, with heaps of scallions and an artfully placed seaweed strip. The service was excellent and fast, considering there's just one waitress. However, the noodles were nothing special and the "roast pork" was really just boiled pork slices. The bean sprouts provided a nice crunch, but the bamboo appeared to be rehydrated when I was expecting fresh or canned. Also, the serving size is ample for one person, but not enough for two. Next time if you're sharing, get the extra noodles for $1.75, and you'll have enough for about four servings.

In summary, it's a nice bowl of noodles and easy to get to, but nothing really amazing or delicious. I suppose that we in Boston have to take any ramen we can get.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Nissin Demae Ramen - Pork Flavor

Nissin Demae is a fairly popular brand of Asian ramen, although I usually get the beef flavor. This time, I tried the pork.

As you can see, the noodles are fairly standard. They did not absorb much flavor, but the texture was nice and overall did not really improve or detract from the overall ramen experience. The broth was really tasty! Subtle yet robust flavoring, and a change of pace from the usual in-your-face barrage of spices.

My only complaint, however, is that there was no hot oil packet or little bits of veggies. I really like the little bits of veggies for the color and taste. As you can see, the cooked ramen looks rather bland, although the broth is actually quite flavorful.

This is a good choice if you are looking for a basic ramen to warm you up on a cold rainy afternoon. Look elsewhere if you want something spicy or with a strong taste.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Ve Dan Chicken Flavor

I was a little confused when I saw the packaging to whether this was "Vedan" or "Veoan". But upon reading the label on the back, turns out it is actually "Ve Dan", based in Taiwan.

Like most Taiwanese ramen, the Ve Dan noodles are slightly thinner than other types and are crispier. Inside were two packets: one with dehydrated green onions/cabbage/spices and one with oil.

I was very pleased with the amount of green onion and cabbage in the ramen. You can't really tell from this picture, but there were quite a few of these veggies that plumped up once they soaked in some water. I like them in my ramen because they add variety in terms of color, texture, and taste.

The Ve Dan was overall a bit bland, and a bit disappointing. Of course, it puts the American brands like Maruchan and Nissin to shame, but it still is not a top tier imported ramen. Still, a good basic ramen that would be good for recipes, if you like making more elaborate food out of your ramen!

Ve Dan Chicken Flavor - 5.5/10

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Shin Ramyun - Hot and Spicy and That's About It

Since we moved to our new house last weekend, my ability to cook an actual meal has been slightly diminished due to the fact that I can't FIND ANYTHING.

On the plus side, you are awarded with my first instant ramen review.

Shin Ramyun Hot and Spicy flavor certainly lives up to the billing. Klint typically puts the whole packet of seasoning in while I tend to go with three-quarters of the packet just so I can still feel my mouth after all is said and done. Regardless, this ramen flavor is spicy enough to induce sniffles in even the hardiest of souls.
Unfortunately, for the more discriminating ramen eater, there's not much flavor other than spiciness. No beef flavor, no crappy shrimp flavor, nothing. Even the freeze-dried vegetable packet doesn't add much other than color.

You'll notice in the picture that I do go the extra step and add a poached egg to my ramen. It's all about balancing this oh-so-nutrious meal with protein.

As for the noodles, they're pretty standard ramen noodles. Since the soup is so spicy, the noodles absorb the hotness too. Generally you'll have to settle for eating the noodles by themselves since the soup is not really worth drinking. That is, unless you're Klint and you'll eat anything as long as it scorches your tongue and burns a hole in your stomach.

Rating: 6/10

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Monday, October 03, 2005

Ve Wong Noodle - Peppered Beef Flavor

This brand of ramen was the preferred staple in the Lin household growing up, and I now understand why. Everything was well thought out, even down to the convenient notches already placed in the seasoning packets.

The soup flavor was excellent, with a rich spicy flavor and with lots of little veggie things. I know ramen is bad for me, but the abundance of dried veggies makes me feel a little better. The noodles are soft and highly absorbent - I recommend allowing more than the usual soaking time in order to bring out their full flavor. The picture was taken shortly after microwave removal. After another few minutes, the noodles had fully expanded to cover the entire bowl.

The only negative is that the noodle packet is rather small (although the same net weight as other brands). Combine this with the soft, melt-in-your-mouth quality of the noodles and I had to supplement this meal with other food items (or maybe that's just my being hungry as usual).

P.S. I noticed in my ramen bag o' tricks that I have the same shrimp noodle that Alvin hated. Oh well.

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Saturday, October 01, 2005

Kung-Fu (Shrimp Flavor)

First of all, let me start off by saying that the bowl of ramen pictured on the packaging does not look very appetizing at all. There are two gigantic shrimps with the heads still on, which is the style that they are generally served in Asia. But the shrimps in the pictured bowl are absolutely puny. At least they could have put some appetizing shrimp in the picture! The font and color scheme is outdated and looks like something from the 1940's.

I was equally unimpressed by the contents of the package. The block of noodles was rather small. Two seasoning packets were included, a small one with the flavor powder and a surprisingly large packet containing flavored oil.

Upon opening the seasoning packet, I was pleasantly greeted with the aroma of shrimp. The block softened and broke apart rather easily in the soup, which is not always the case. However, I definitely consider it a positive when the noodles can disintegrate from their block form in a reasonable amount of time. The oil package was absolutely huge! I have no idea why, because it's not like it was spicy oil or even particularly flavorful. It tasted like a combination of sesame oil and olive oil and didn't taste particularly good.

Somehow, when I started eating the ramen, the entire shrimp flavor was missing. I know I had smelled it when I had put in the seasoning packet, but it was completely overwhelmed by the oil. The noodles themselves were passable, but still not as good as some other brands.

Those brown spots in the picture are shadows, not fried red onions. This is a shame, because this ramen could definitely have used something to add some flavor besides oil! I am not a frequent shrimp flavor eater, and I can only hope that other shrimp flavored ramen doesn't taste this bad!

Kung-Fu (Shrimp Flavor): 2.0 / 10