Friday, January 28, 2011

Nong Shim Bowl Noodle Soup Spicy Chicken Flavor

Made by:  Nong Shim America Inc.
Tools Required:  Hot Water, Spoon & Chopsticks
Light Meal Size (400 calories per package)
Rating:  :D

(available online through

One thing that is good about loving instant ramen is that when I need some comfort food, it's very economical.  I am ready for some noodles today, and I've picked this Bowl Noodle to try; it's a Spicy Chicken flavor from Nong Shim of America.  After the last review, I decided to take a look through the ingredients list beforehand, and interestingly, although this is supposed to be a chicken flavor, the ingredients include beef and beef fat, but not chicken.  Odd.  Hopefully having seen that won't color my opinion of the flavor--maybe I should stop looking at the ingredients before tasting after all.

Peeling back the lid, we see that there are noodles and some dried veggies loose in the bowl, and one seasoning packet to open.  All we have to do is add the powder, add hot water to the well-defined fill line, and wait three minutes.  After a quick stir, we arrive at the meal pictured!

The noodle texture is pretty average; there isn't anything to complain about and they are nicely firm, but nothing really remarkable either.  There are green onion and red pepper flakes, along with some textured soy bits (fake chicken) and a few shaped flat things that very much seem to be chicken flavored surimi {'imitation crab'}.  Those are a bit odd, but more in a "scratch your head" way than a negative one.  The broth has a very nice flavor; it is pleasantly spicy although the actual heat level seems a bit tame.  It almost seems more like a mexican spice flavor to me, reminiscent of a chicken enchilada or similar.  I will admit my opinion might be colored slightly by the Corona with lime that I paired with it, but I have to write my opinions as they come.  (My sweetie told me that beer goes well with spicy things, so I was testing the theory.)

Overlooking the technical weirdness (A chicken flavor noodle that has beef and fish but no chicken in it?  Really?) these were a very pleasant bowl of noodles with an interesting, unique flavor.  I'm happy. :D

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Paldo Seafood Flavor Korean Noodle

Made by:  Paldo (Korea)
Tools Required:  Water, Saucepan & Range, Bowl, Spoon & Chopsticks (or Fork)
Meal Size (490 calories per package)
Rating:  0_0

(available online through

Today I'm going to be trying a Seafood flavor noodle from Paldo.  This will be my first time trying one of Paldo's products, so it should be interesting!  It even scores some extra bonus points before I ever open the package with the cute Super Happy Chef mascot.  (Hey, I like cute stuff, what can I say?)

Upon opening the wrapper, we discover a large brick of thick, round, yellow-colored noodles (is it colored noodle week on Ramen Butterfly or something?) along with a foil packet of powdered "Soup Base" and a clear packet of dried goodies labelled "Vegetable Soup Base".  I see some things that look like seafood bits in there too, so the "vegetable" label seems odd, but they had to distinguish them somehow, I suppose.  We are supposed to boil either 550cc (ml) or 2-3/4 cups of water, add the noodles and soup base, and simmer for four minutes.  2-3/4 cups sounds like a lot (which it is--that's 650ml), so I decide to go with the 550ml measurement, which is more like 2-1/3 cups.  Anyway, four minutes after we finish doing unit conversions, it is time to eat!

Hmmm... you know, judging from the aroma and from the bright orange-red color of the broth, I am wondering if there is something the package forgot to tell me about these noodles.  My first sip of the broth confirms my suspicion--these are actually fairly spicy!  Probably not quite as hot as a Shin Ramyun (which I am planning to review sometime) but I think it is the spiciest thing I have reviewed so far.  I happen to like it, but it is not what I was expecting at all based on the package.  I mean, look at all that cool blue color!  What about the cute, innocent-looking mascot?  That'll teach me to trust a cartoon chef.  Anyway, the texture of the noodles is nice; they are more like a thick spaghetti rather than the "typical" ramen texture.  I can pick up a nice shrimp-and-surimi seafood flavor, which isn't quite overpowered by the chili powder, but almost. The serving size is quite filling, too.

The final word?  I am actually a bit torn on how to rate these.  On the one hand, I enjoyed these and I wouldn't turn down the chance to eat them again, so I would normally give them a happy face.  However, my biggest impression came from the fact that there is no mention anywhere on the package that these are a spicy flavor. (Okay, so there is the ingredient list that shows "red pepper" as the third ingredient in the seasoning powder right behind salt and MSG, but who looks at that while they're shopping?)   I don't mind heat, but some warning would be nice for the people who do.  So as a public service announcement, these get a rating of "surprised face." 0_0

Monday, January 24, 2011

MAMA Tom Yum Shrimp Flavour Oriental Style Instant Noodles

Made by:  Thai President Foods (Thailand)
Tools Required:  Hot Water, Bowl, Spoon & Chopsticks
Snack Size (280 calories per package)
Rating:  :D

(available online through

Time for another noodle review!  I needed a noodle fix today.  Today's random draw is a package of Tom Yum flavor noodles from Thailand's MAMA brand.  The actual printing on the package is "Oriental Style Instant Noodles Shrimp Flavor (TOM YUM)," but I decided to rearrange the name in the post header so it makes a little more sense.  Call it artistic liberties.

The size of the package is a bit small by American standards; this might be a Thai thing as most of MAMA's products are 200-300 calorie portions, as are the Snapdragon bowls which were also from Thailand.  I decided to pad it out to a lunch size by also having some steamed gyoza; I realize I am mixing cultures, but I don't often worry much about authenticity when it comes to instant noodles.  Opening the package, we find the noodle block along with three sachets of seasonings--a plastic packet that has a dark reddish paste in it, and a foil double-packet with chili powder in one side and a mixture of dried green onions and light pink powder in the other.  The noodles are a nice golden brown color, instead of the nearly-white color we usually see.  The package directions call for a hot water preparation; we put the noodles and seasonings into a bowl, pour in 1-1/2 cups of boiling water, and cover for three minutes.

MAMA's noodles have a bit of a different flavor and texture than usual; they are quite firm and seem to have an interesting wheat flavor to them.  I rather like them!  The broth has a nice spicy-and-tart flavor and aroma too.  I haven't experienced a "real" Tom Yum soup before, so I can't say anything about the authenticity of the flavor, but it is quite nice.  It is decently spicy, but in a different way than I am used to; it is more along the lines of a hot-and-sour instead of just chili-pepper heat.

All in all, I enjoyed this packet of noodles very much, though I do wish it were perhaps a bit larger.  [I understand that MAMA products can occasionally be found in a "jumbo" packet; I will update with the calorie info for that size if I run across one.]  Combine that with the very inexpensive price point, and these easily earn their happy face. :D

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Nong Shim Japanese-Style Udon Noodle Soup

Made by:  Nong Shim (Korea)
Tools Required:  Water, Saucepan & Range, Spoon & Chopsticks (or Fork)
Meal Size (460 calories per package)
Price:  Unknown (received as gift; probably in the $3 range)
Rating:  ^_^
I chose today's noodle by random draw from the Noodle Stash.  I have had this one before, so I know I am going to enjoy it!  Let's do this, I am ready for some lunch!
For those who haven't had an instant udon before, these are a little different than the typical ramen-style noodle--they are fresh, soft noodles sealed into a clear plastic pouch.  In addition to the packet of noodles, we have a clear packet of "Liquid Soup" which resembles soy sauce, and a silver packet of "Flake" which holds some dehydrated goodies.  We are supposed to boil 400ml (or roughly 1-3/4 cups) of water in a saucepan, add the noodles and cook for only two minutes (the noodles are fresh, not dried, after all), and then add the packets of flavoring at the end.
When finished, the aroma is delicate, but it does have one; it is a gentle and pleasing scent of seafood and soy sauce.  We can see that our dried "Flake" has re-formed itself into some little seaweed flecks, green onions, some discs of actual imitation-crab style seafood, and most interestingly (to me anyway) some things that look like puffed rice cereal and have a strong fish flavor.  Fishy Pebbles?  Now those are some "Premium Ingredients."
The noodles are thick, tender, and satisfying, and the broth has a deep savory soy-and-seafood flavor.  I am not sure I can say too much else about it, except to gush about how amazingly delicious and satisfying it is.  This one isn't spicy or flashy, but when I am in the mood for a rich, savory, filling, and comforting soup, I can't imagine it gets much better than this.  It's one of my all time favorites.  This one makes me Super Happy. ^_^

Monday, January 17, 2011

Nissin Cup Noodles Hearty Chicken Flavor

Made by:  Nissin USA
Tools Required:  Hot Water, Chopsticks (or Fork)
Light Meal Size (300 calories per package)
Rating:  :)

(available online through

Noodle day again!  We're staying with the domestic noodles again for today's lunch, with our first Cup Noodle, Nissin USA's Hearty Chicken flavor.  (I actually chose the side first, and then picked these for something that would go well with Spicy Nacho flavor Doritos.  Just a little insight into the way my mind works sometimes...)

As this is a domestic cup noodle, preparation is the height of convenience; all we have to do is lift the lid, fill with boiling water, and wait.  No messing with packets, no measuring anything... just add water!  So easy, even an American can do it. :P  Three minutes later, lunch is served!

I have to admit, I am not expecting anything amazing from these, although the creamy chicken and herb aroma is pleasant.  Maybe I am giving them a break based on lowered expectations, but I am very pleasantly surprised!  The noodles are wider than standard ramen, and they are much more tender and palatable than I expected.  The flavor of the broth is quite nice as well; it is nicely rich and savory, and the chicken and herb flavorings are well-balanced.  Unlike many cup-style noodles, there are no added vegetables like peas or corn, but the flavor is nice enough to support the noodles on its own.  Most importantly, they did in fact complement the Doritos quite nicely!  I would say these are an excellent value for the price, and I will definitely be getting more of this one.  Not bad at all! :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Nissin Chow Noodles Tomato Basil Flavor

Made by:  Nissin USA
Tools Required:  Water, Microwave, Chopsticks (or Fork)
Meal Size (500 calories per package)
Rating:  :D

(available online through

Today's selection is a change of pace from the asian-style flavors that have been reviewed so far.  Although she is extremely supportive of my noodle habit, my partner does not actually share my passion, so normally when we are home together, we eat other things.  She does enjoy italian-style pasta, though, so when I found these tomato-basil Chow Noodles, I picked up two just in case, and today she agreed to give them a try with me!

Included in the tray are the brick of wide, fettucini-style "ramen" noodles, along with three packets; there is a clear "Premium Ingredients" packet with dehydrated tomato and onion, a "Powdered Seasoning" packet, and a "Liquid Seasoning packet.  These are designed for microwave preparation, so those are the only instructions printed on the package; we are supposed to add the Premium Ingredients and fill with water to the line, microwave for five minutes, then stir in the other seasonings.  Because I was cooking two, I modified the instructions and put them in together for eight minutes, and they turned out perfectly cooked.  It took a bit of effort to get the seasonings to coat the noodles evenly, but after an extended stirring, we are ready to eat!

The consistency of the noodles is pleasant; they are maybe a little more tender than an al dente, but not off-putting.  The flavor is quite nice!  They have a strong, bright tomato flavor without seeming heavy, which is complemented by a nice balance of herbs, garlic, and onion.  I would choose these over a frozen pasta entrée any day, and definitely over canned pastas.  For the second opinion, my sweetie said she would definitely enjoy having these again, and I think she might be a little more excited about trying the other flavor now too.  These get a unanimous "happy face" from the Ramen Butterfly household. :D

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snapdragon Singapore Curry Rice Noodle Soup Bowl

Made by:  Snapdragon Foods / Tabetai Inc. (Thailand)
Tools Required:  Hot Water, Spoon & Chopsticks
Snack Size (240 calories per package)
Price:  $1.79 (at World Market in Woodinville)
Rating: ^_^

In our last episode, I had a satisfying bowl of ramen but failed to find a curry-flavored noodle that tasted like curry.  I am feeling a bit snackish this afternoon, so it seems like an excellent time to try again!  This time I am sampling the Snapdragon Singapore Curry flavor rice noodle bowl.  The Sesame flavor one was excellent, so I have high hopes for this one!

There are four sachets of seasonings included in the bowl along with the bundle of rice noodles:  a green one containing dehydrated veggies, a red one that holds a stark-white Coconut powder, and an olive double-packet labeled "Seasoning" that has an orange powder in one side and a red oil in the other.  Preparation is as simple as emptying all the packets into the bowl with the noodles, and adding boiling water for four minutes (3-5, according to the package directions).  Quick and easy, perfect for an afternoon snack!

After removing the lid and giving a quick stir, we arrive at the picture shown.  The red seasoning oil seems to be hanging around the surface in menacing fashion, but I am undeterred.  I am not noticing any aroma from these at all; even putting my nose up to it, I would be hard-pressed to name something that it smelled like.  But of course, the real test is how they taste, and these noodles definitely perform in that category!  The flavor is much more like I would expect a curry to taste, with the sweetly creamy coconut flavor contrasting with the spicy and tart curry seasonings.  I really like this one!  Just as a note, when the package says it is "mildly spicy", it is being modest.  At least for the first several bites as the noodles pick up the chili oil, they are probably about "3-star" spicy, although they do get milder toward the bottom of the bowl.

These Snapdragon bowls are turning out to be some of my favorites; I have to give this one another "extra-happy" smiley. :D  Now if only they could take the flavor of this one, and combine it with the aroma from the Indomie curry ramen, then there wouldn't be anything else to ask for!

(Finally, as a mostly-unrelated public service announcement, I have learned that while using chopsticks to eat noodles topped with angrily-colored oil, a white top may not be the most clever choice of clothing.  It's a good thing these noodles were worth it!)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Indomie Chicken Curry Flavour Instant Noodles

Made by:  Indofood (Indonesia)
Tools Required:  Saucepan & Range (or Microwave), Bowl, Spoon & Chopsticks
Meal Size (420 calories per package)
Price:  unknown (received as gift)
Rating:  :D

Next up is the Indomie Chicken Curry Flavor ramen I got as a gift from my partner's sister.  It got a recommendation from my only comment so far (on the Sneak Preview post), and it was also the one my sweetie suggested for me today.  So, let's jump right in!

The package calls for 400mL of water, which is around 1-3/4 cups, and uses the standard three-minute stovetop directions.  Microwave directions are also available (five minutes on high), but I am sticking with the tried-and-true saucepan method.  Also included in the pack are three seasoning sachets:  a silver double-packet with "Bumbu Sauce" and "Chili" in it, and a small clear packet with "Minyak Bumbu/Seasoning Oil."  Thankfully, unlike the Mi Goreng Satay, this version of the Minyak Bumbu bears no resemblance whatsoever to peanut butter.  Like the Mi Goreng, however, Indomie wants me to stir the powder and oil together into a paste before I pour in the noodles and water.  I'm not really sure how that ends up being different than dumping them into the water like usual, but I do what I'm told.

The prepared ramen has a somewhat sweet and tangy aroma--it really does smell like a Thai-style chicken curry!  The taste of the broth is much more savory, though; there is just the faintest hint of that sweet-spicy-sour flavor.  I added the entire chili-powder packet and they were only mildly spicy, so nothing really to worry about there. The noodles are a nice firm texture, which is fairly common for imported Asian brands... I won't go as far as to say they are higher quality than the American brands, maybe most Americans have a preference for mushy noodles and that is why the difference, but I do prefer the firmer variety.

Anyway, the final word on these:  I would have a hard time saying they actually taste like chicken curry (although they definitely have the aroma down).  I would easily say that they are an above-average bowl of ramen, though.  This one gets a happy face. :D

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Snapdragon Japanese Sesame Rice Noodle Soup Bowl

Made by:  Snapdragon Foods / Tabetai Inc. (Thailand)
Tools Required:  Hot Water, Spoon & Chopsticks
Snack Size (220 calories per package)
Price:  $1.79 (at World Market in Woodinville)
Rating:  ^_^

I mentioned to my sweetie this morning that I hadn't had any noodles since Wednesday, so she suggested I try one of my new bowls she bought for me while we are waiting for the football game to start.  (Go Seahawks!)

These "gourmet"-style noodles come in a paperboard box, which contains a plastic (not styrofoam) bowl with a clear lid, similar to a margarine tub.  Inside the bowl there are the translucent rice noodles, and three seasoning packets--a green one containing some dried veggie bits, and a peach-colored double-packet with powdered soup base in one side and a few drops of oil in the other.  The instructions say to empty the packets into the bowl, add hot water to the line, and let it stand covered for 3-5 minutes.  Quick and easy!

Upon removing the lid, I was greeted with a strong and appetizing aroma of sesame--it certainly smells good!  The noodles stayed very nicely al-dente, and plumped up a bit thicker than I had expected.  The veggie bits re-hydrated into recognizable pieces of carrot and sweet pepper, as well as a few green onion flecks.  The broth is very hearty and satisfying, but possibly just a little salty.  Overall, I really like this one!  Unfortunately, the small portion size and 'gourmet' price means that it will be more of an occasional treat rather than a frequent meal, but for today, I will give it a "happy happy Jessie" smiley rating.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

More Upcoming Reviews--Snapdragon Noodle Bowls

My sweetie stopped at World Market and brought me home some gifts today!  These look so good... I am excited! :D

Indomie Mi Goreng Satay

Made by:  Indofood (Indonesia)
Tools Required:  Saucepan & Range, Strainer, Bowl or Plate, Chopsticks
Light Meal Size (380 calories per package)
Price:  49¢ (at Uwajimaya in Bellevue)
Rating:  :\

Here is something more exciting!  Mi goreng is a popular Indonesian stir-fried noodle dish, and this is the instant version.  "Satay" are those marinated skewered meat things that are popular in Thai restaurants (as well as in Thailand and Indonesia).  Sounds like a winning combination!

This one comes with five packets of seasoning!  There is a silver double-packet that has powdered "Bumbu Sauce" and "Cabe/Chili," and a clear triple-packet that has liquid "Minyak Bumbu/Seasoning Oil" and "Kecap/Soya Sauce" as well as dried "Bawang Goreng/Fried Onion."  In the package I had, the 'seasoning oil' looked a bit separated, so I found it helpful to massage the packet to stir it up before cutting it open, so it would squeeze out easier.

The noodles cook by the standard stovetop method:  boil water, add noodles for three minutes.  While the noodles are in the water, we are supposed to open the two liquid and two powdered packets and stir them together into a paste.  (The instructions say to use a plate, but I do love my pink butterfly bowls.)  At the end of the three minutes, the noodles get drained and then added to the bowl, and we toss them with the sauce until everything looks more-or-less the same color.  Right before serving, we sprinkle the tiny portion of fried onion on top as a garnish, and it is time to eat!

The noodles have a nice texture, firm but not sticky.  The flavor is mildly sweet, moderately spicy, and very peanutty.  I thought the "seasoning oil" looked suspiciously like peanut butter!  It actually tastes much more like the peanut sauce that comes with satay than the satay itself; I have to say, that is really not what I was expecting at all.  On the plus side, they did complement my Acai Green tea nicely.  I think these have some promise if I were to dress them up with extra ingredients, but standing on their own they get a rating of "disappointed smiley."

Upcoming Reviews (aka "Jessie's Noodle Stash")

Just because I felt like it (and because I am trying to reorganize the cabinets this morning), here is a sneak preview of some of the upcoming topics:

That looks like it ought to be about a month's worth for me! XD  My own stockpile included:
  • three more flavors of Nissin USA's Top Ramen:  Chicken, Shrimp, and the one I am most curious about, Picante Beef; some of the also-ubiquitous Cup Noodle, in Hearty Chicken and Shrimp flavors; a Bowl Noodle, in Rich & Savory Beef flavor; and Chow Mein, in Teriyaki Beef flavor.  And for something really different, some of their Chow Noodles, in Cheddar Cheese and Tomato Basil flavors.
  • from Nissin HK, we have a Nissin Demae Curry flavor Ramen.
  • from Nong Shim USA, there is a Shin Ramyun and a Kimchi Ramyun, and three flavors of Bowl Noodle (Spicy Chicken, Kimchi, and Beef & Ginger).
  • from Nong Shim Korea, a Japanese-Style Udon Noodle bowl.
  • another Japanese-Style Udon Noodle bowl, but from ChoripDong/Katsuobushi.
  • a Yukejang spicy Ramen bowl from Paldo of Korea.
  • three flavors of Indomie's Mi Goreng:  Pedas, Satay, and BBQ Chicken.
  • from MAMA in Thailand:  Moo Nam Tok Spicy Pork, Tom Yum Pork, and Tom Yum Shrimp.
  • a little UFO-shaped Shrimp Tom Yum bowl from Fashion Foods.
That would have been a pretty good stash on its own, but then I received a basket of noodles as a Christmas gift from my sweetie's sister:
  • two packs each of MAMA's Phở Bò, Phở Gà, and Pad Thai noodles;
  • two more Nong Shim Japanese-Style Udon, in packet format this time;
  • two packs of Indomie Chicken Curry flavor Noodles;
  • and two different ramen from Paldo:  a Seafood flavor, and a "Broad Noodle" flavor (whatever that is supposed to mean).
Hee, I think maybe a little of my collector spirit is showing through. :P  Seeing all these noodles gives me a happy feeling inside!  Now I need to go put them away though...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Nissin Top Ramen Oriental Flavor

Made by:  Nissin USA
Tools Required:  Saucepan & Range, Bowl, Spoon, Chopsticks
Light Meal Size (380 calories per package)
Rating:  :|

Okay, let's start this blog off in the most boring way possible, shall we?  Today we have the ubiquitous "Top Ramen" that you can get in most grocery stores for around 25¢, in the most generic, non-descript flavor available.  I will admit to having a preference for the higher-end imported noodles, but I can also appreciate the simpler flavors occasionally.  Besides, what better place to start to establish a baseline than the one everyone has probably already had?

The package includes the noodle brick and just one packet of powdered soup base.  We boil 2 cups of water in our saucepan, drop in the noodles and cook for three minutes, and then stir in the soup base just before serving.  Being more used to the imported products, the first thing I notice is how bare the soup looks.  Noodles, broth, and that is it--no little veggies, no little fake meat bits, not even any green herb flecks worth mentioning.

The noodle texture is really not that bad, though they do seem a little stickier than I am used to.  The flavor is certainly unoffensive... I am picking up mainly an onion flavor, along with maybe a bit of soy sauce and probably some chicken flavor or something.  Nothing exciting, but it isn't bad.  I would say it's comforting, in the same way that chicken noodle soup is supposed to be (which is to say that I might want it if I were sick).  Since I am not sick today, I give it a rating of "meh."


Hi everyone!  My name is Jessie, and I love instant ramen noodles.  I also enjoy trying new things, so I have sort of taken it as a challenge to try as many different variations on the "instant noodle" formula as I can.  I am making this blog as a space to organize my thoughts about each one, so I can remember which ones I liked best, and I thought I may as well put it on the internet in case anyone else wants to read and follow along.

The subject matter will mainly be instant asian noodles, but I do reserve the right to also review other shelf-stable "non-ramen" products if I find them interesting.  I would entertain the idea of taking requests too, if I can find the product in question, and if someone happened to send me some relevant foodstuffs I promise I would review them as soon as possible. :)  Reviews will be posted only as time permits; although I love ramen I don't eat it every day, and I need a chance to go back and have my favorites over again too.

Actual content coming soon!