Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Nong Shim Champong Noodle Soup

Made By:  Nong Shim (Korea)
Tools Required:  Saucepan & Range, Water, Bowl & Utensils
520 calories per package

The only problem with going to the Asian grocery for a huge noodle restock is that it can be difficult to decide what I want to try first afterwards!  After a long period of indecisiveness, I went with this package of Champong flavor noodles from Nong Shim in Korea.  I admit, I am not completely familiar with what champong even is, but judging from the happy little squid mascot in the logo, I imagine I am in for a seafood flavor of some sort.

The package has a disc of noodles similar to the ones in Shin Ramyun, along with a packet of powdered soup base and another with a generous assortment of dehydrated goodies.  The directions tell us we are supposed to boil 1-1/2 cups of water, add both packets and the noodles, and cook for five minutes.  That's actually a fairly small amount of water for the size of the package--for comparison, Shin Ramyun calls for almost 2-1/2 cups--which is why the finished noodles seem to have very little broth, almost to the point that it doesn't really seem like a soup.

The seafood flavor is very deep and complex, with things like anchovy and bonito that can compete with the heat level.  It's probably about the same level of spiciness as most other Nong Shim Korean noodles, but the flavor is much more balanced and interesting than (for instance) the Neoguri I reviewed last week.  There are cabbage and seaweed flakes, a few bits of carrot, and three or four strips of some sort of very chewy seafood whose flavor reminded me of mussels.  The noodles aren't much of a surprise, being the same sort as in most of Nong Shim's other packet products, but they do absorb the flavor and pick up the broth well--I didn't even need to reach for my soup spoon until the very bottom of the bowl.

I am actually a little concerned that this review might not be completely unbiased, just because it has been so long since I've had imported instant noodles from the asian grocery; upon first taste, my reaction was, "Oh my gosh, I have missed this stuff."  Here's hoping that the rest of my selections are as good as this one! :D

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A long overdue restock!

I finally made it down to the new Uwajimaya Bellevue today!

I am excited to try some of the more unusual instant-noodle flavors I picked out, so I am hoping there can be more frequent reviews (and more frequent partaking of noodles) for a while. ^_^

Monday, August 22, 2011

Nong Shim Neoguri

Made By:  Nong Shim America
Tools Required:  Hot Water, Saucepan & Range, Bowl
515 calories per package

Rating:  :)

(available online through

So a few weeks ago, I got a comment suggesting that I try Nong Shim's Neoguri.  It took me a couple of weeks to actually make a trip to the one local grocery that carries it, and then another week or so to get around to having noodles for lunch again.  Today is the day, though!

Inside the package, we have our disc of noodles, which appear to be quite a bit plumper than usual, even compared to other Nong Shim products like Shin Ramyun.  The package did describe them as "Udon Type Noodles," so they might turn out a bit different.  There is also a packet of dried veggies and a packet of powdered seasoning.  We are supposed to boil 19-1/2 ounces of water (apparently 20 ounces would be too much), then add the noodles, veggies, and soup base and cook for five minutes.  Due to the soup base being added during cooking, these will boil over much more easily than most instant ramen, so you should keep an eye on them during cooking.  Once the five minutes are up, we pour the finished soup into our bowl and get ready to eat!

The broth is quite spicy, which is to be expected from a Nong Shim product; it is comparable to their Shin Ramyun.  The flavor is described as a spicy seafood (as opposed to the spicy beef flavor in Shin Ramyun), but any seafood flavor here is unfortunately far too delicate to stand up to the heat level--which is to say that the chili powder is really the only detectable flavor.  I don't mean to be too negative though; it's not bad, just not as interesting or as balanced as some of their other flavors.  The veggie packet seems to be mostly pieces of seaweed sheet, which adds color and a bit of texture, but the high point here is definitely the noodles; they are very thick and firm, but not sticky in the least.  It's a very pleasant mouthfeel, and turns out to be much closer to the advertised "Udon Type" noodle than I would have expected from a dried noodle product.

The noodles themselves are good enough to rescue this product from a negative rating, although I can't help thinking that I wish Nong Shim offered this style of noodles with a different, more multi-dimensional broth. :|

Monday, August 8, 2011

Nissin Cup Noodles Salsa Picante Chicken Flavor

Made By:  Nissin (USA)
Tools Required:  Hot Water
290 calories per package

Rating:  :)

(Available online through

I still haven't made it to the store to grab a package of the Neoguri for the requested review, so for lunch today I'm going back to the Noodle Stash.  I settled on a Cup Noodles product, just since it's been a while since I did one.  I picked out this flavor because it sounded more interesting than the average chicken, beef, or shrimp versions, so it's probably time I gave it a chance!

I have to admit, one of my favorite things about Cup Noodles is that they take exactly 10 ounces of hot water to prepare--which means that if your kitchen or office breakroom has one of these Keurig single-cup coffee makers, you can make lunch straight out of the coffee machine!  Just use the 10-ounce cup setting without a K-Cup, and make sure to keep the paper lid (and your fingers) clear of the hot water stream.  Can it get more convenient than that?

Anyway, whatever source you use for your boiling water, once the cup is filled to the line, we let the noodles stand covered for three minutes, and then we are good to go.  I notice that the noodles seem to have absorbed more water than I expected--the water level has actually gone down a bit during the stand time.

The texture of the noodles is a bit different than most I've had; they are thinner and flatter, and seem more "airy" than usual, almost as if they were puffed somehow; the mouthfeel is quite a bit firmer and more pleasant than the usually-soggy Top Ramen noodles.  The broth isn't overly spicy, although it is definitely flavorful when compared to the typical American ramen flavors.  With the chile salsa flavor and almost-breadlike noodles, it reminds me a lot of a tortilla soup.  There is a sweet citrus undertone from the lime flavor, also.  The included veggies (corn, carrots, and green onion) seemed to complement the broth flavor well, too.

I liked this one quite a bit!  With the interesting flavor, the very convenient preparation, and the very budget-friendly price, this is a definite recommend and repurchase.  :)