Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Souped-Up Review: Nissin Chow Noodles Cheddar Cheese, Taco version

Nissin Chow Noodles Cheddar Cheese flavor (originally reviewed here)
leftover taco filling
chopped bell pepper

Rating:  Worthy Option

Here we go with another Souped-Up Review!  My sweetie and I had tacos last night, and there was some of this seasoned ground beef left over.  I also had some chopped bell peppers in the fridge, and a package of Cheddar Cheese Chow Noodles, which I said in my original review seemed "like the kind of thing that could become even better with a few added ingredients."  It sounds like a match!

I considered a few different ways of assembling this meal, but the method I settled on was to just dump the taco meat and a handful of bell pepper into the container before microwaving; my thought was that this way the flavors from the taco seasoning and peppers would have a chance to blend with the noodles better.  I microwaved for the normal five minute cooking time, and by the end of the cooking cycle the kitchen smelled strongly of bell pepper.  The noodles seem to be cooked properly, so I stir in the cheese flavor and get ready to taste!

The flavor is not exactly what I was expecting, but I like it.  The taco seasoning and pepper flavors are subdued--they seem to have blended with the cheese flavor and changed it from plain cheddar to more of a nacho cheese.  The result is (in my opinion) a pretty good rendition of a cheeseburger macaroni!  It probably isn't something that I would do to these every time, but I think it is a Worthy Option for a change of pace, as well as being a pretty good way to use up leftover taco filling.  Another successful experiment!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

No-Soup Review: Nong Shim Savory Bowl Noodle Chicken Flavor

Original Review:  Nong Shim Savory Bowl Noodle Chicken Flavor

No-Soup Rating:  :)

Okay, I think I am starting to wish I hadn't stocked up on quite so many of these--I am still working on the first case of 18 from that buy-one-case-get-one-free deal at Costco.  So to try to mix things up some more, I'm going to be doing an experiment today!  I do like the Mi Goreng/Yakisoba/Chow Mein style 'brothless' noodles, and it seems like they are much the same product as 'normal' ramen except that you drain the noodles first.  Some brands (notably Maruchan's Yakisoba line) even use a powdered flavor base, and it seems to work okay.  Recently I started wondering, what would happen if I tried preparing a "regular" noodle product in similar fashion?  Well, today I am going to find out!

I prepare the noodles with the same hot-water prep method as the printed instructions (stand for three minutes), except I don't add the soup base yet.  Once the noodles are done, I drain them with a strainer and dump them back into the bowl, then stir in the seasoning.  The seasoning seemed to blend in quite easily--more easily than some products I've tried that are designed to be prepared this way.  Now for the moment of truth!

Oh, I kind of like these this way!  They are much more flavorful than the normal 'soup' version, which is probably to be expected since the flavoring is more concentrated.  On the negative side of that, they do seem a little overly salty, but not to the point of being totally off-putting.  I'd say it's about the same saltiness level of a Campbell's condensed chicken noodle soup or so.  What I really like, though, is that the lack of broth seems to bring out the flavor of the included vegetables--the peas and corn give little bursts of sweetness here and there that make a nice contrast to the salty chicken flavor of the noodles.  I think I preferred this to the 'normal' preparation--I really enjoyed these!  I do wonder if they could be improved further by adding an egg, or even some extra veggies, that could help balance the salt a little more, but I would say the experiment was a success.  :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

MAMA Phở Bò Án liêñ

Made By:  Thai President Foods (Thailand)
Tools Required:  Hot Water, Bowl w/ Lid, Spoon & Chopsticks
Snack Size (210 calories per package)
Rating:  :)

(available online through

Today I am trying the instant (Án liêñ) version of a dish that I had never heard of prior to moving to the Seattle area, and that seems to be incredibly popular here--there are dozens of restaurants devoted to serving Vietnamese Phở, which is a rice noodle soup.  Phở Bò simply means "beef Phở."  I have had the privilege of eating in a couple of different Phở restaurants now, so I am ready to see how the home version stacks up!

Inside the packet is our bundle of rice noodles, which seem wider and flatter than traditional Phở noodles.  There are also two soup base packets, one with powdered seasoning and one with a lumpy yellow oil of some sort.  The noodles and packet contents go into our bowl along with 1-1/2 cups of boiling water, and stand covered for three minutes.  Upon lifting the makeshift lid, I am greeted with the distinctive aroma of phở broth!  For those who haven't tried it, the broth in phở is not a typical onion-based beef broth, it is much more herbal in flavor and aroma.  It certainly looks good, so let's see how it tastes!

The noodles do seem a little bit lackluster; they are very soft and seem to clump together.  They do have the same flavor as real bánh phở, which is to say that they are both rice noodles, but the texture is a little off.  The broth, on the other hand, is quite nice; I am having a little bit of difficulty coming up with how to describe the flavor, other than to say it isn't a bad rendition of a phở broth.

Like most Thai instant noodle products, the portion size is quite small.  I am actually under the impression that these aren't necessarily meant to be eaten "plain," though--phở is generally served with a variety of meat, herbs, and sauces, so the flavor can be tailored to the individual.  I am anxious to try these with the same treatment:  some roast beef, sriracha and hoisin sauces, and maybe even some basil and bean sprouts; adding all that would turn them into a pretty decent meal size.  Anyway, if I am wanting to "soup them up" with the same treatment as restaurant phở, that must mean I thought they were okay.  :|

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Paldo Yukejang Hot & Spicy Noodle

Made By:  Paldo (Korea)
Tools Required:  Hot Water, Spoon & Chopsticks
Light Meal Size (390 calories per package)
Rating:  ^_^

(Available online through

I am finally back and reviewing some new noodles today!  These are a Korean import, but I was able to find them at the local Top Foods here in Woodinville--yay for convenient shopping!  (I do so need to get back to an Asian grocery soon.)  Anyway, let's get right to the review, shall we?

Inside the bowl is a disk of fairly thin ramen-style noodles, as well as two seasoning packets, labelled "Vegetable Soup" and "Powder Soup".  {Note:  Later purchases of this have had the contents of the "Vegetable Soup" packet loose in the bowl instead, so don't think there is something wrong if you only get one packet.}  The dried veggie packet includes the usual suspects--green onion, dehydrated carrots, peppers--but also some little square sheets that remind me of tamago.  The powder soup is the deep red chili-powder color that is to be expected in a Hot & Spicy soup.  Preparation is simple; we just empty the packets into the bowl, fill with boiling water, and wait three minutes.  Upon removing the lid, we are greeted by a pleasant spicy soy aroma.  Time to eat!

The noodles have a very unique flavor and texture!  They are soft but not mushy; I thought the mouthfeel of these was very enjoyable.  It was enough to make me go look at the ingredient list, where I found that the noodles are made with potato starch as well as flour.  I approve!  I would say the broth is moderately spicy; the heat is present but it doesn't overpower the other flavors, which make for a nice, clean-tasting shoyu broth.  Unfortunately the little egg squares (or whatever they are supposed to be) didn't end up contributing that much, but I don't suppose that's a real disappointment if the overall product is good.

I was actually very impressed with this product!  I might even keep an eye on the ingredient lists for other products that include a potato-starch noodle like this one, they were that good.  They were not that expensive, for a bowl noodle, either.  I will definitely be buying more of these!  ^_^