Friday, April 1, 2011

Nissin Top Ramen Picante Beef Flavor

Made By:  Nissin USA
Tools Required:  Saucepan & Range, Bowl, Spoon & Chopsticks
Meal Size (380 calories per package)
Price:  25¢ (sale at Safeway in Woodinville)
Rating:  :)

Well, it looks like I am back to doing lunchtime reviews from home for the time being--I managed to hurt my back and am under doctor's orders to stay home and make myself useless.  Today I'm going to try the Top Ramen Picante Beef that's been hanging around in the cabinet for a while.

Everyone already knows what to expect inside a package of Top Ramen, right?  We have a stereotypical block of instant ramen noodles and one foil packet which is simply marked "Seasoning".  We bring two cups of water to a boil, drop in the noodles and cook for three minutes, then stir in the seasoning packet and put the soup in the bowl.  I'm not sure what to call the aroma, except to say that it smells like instant ramen noodles--I am not sure the aroma changed at all after I put the seasoning in.  Anyway, the eating is more important than the smelling, I guess.

I was surprised to see that unlike the Oriental Flavor, the broth has some seasoning flecks visible in it; I see some things that look like chives, some crushed red pepper flakes, and various other tiny red and green flecks.  The noodles are of course the typical American grocery-store variety, which means that they are a bit mushy compared to the "upscale" brands.  The broth actually has a very nice flavor; it is mostly a beef broth flavor, but there is enough spice to make it seem interesting.  It doesn't really seem like a mexican flavor, though, despite using the word "Picante" in the name; it's really just a spiced-up beef ramen soup.

For a domestic ramen noodle soup, this was actually quite good.  It fits pretty well between the aggressively-spicy Korean-style noodles and the sometimes-bland American ones.  I was hoping for something that would have an interesting flavor without being too assertive, and this fit the need quite nicely.  Maybe the noodles were a bit soggy, but you can't have everything for a quarter.  I'd eat them again.  :)

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