Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Maruchan Akai Kitsune Udon

Made By:  Toyo Suisan Kaisha, Ltd. [Japan]
Required to prepare:  ~14 oz. boiling water
410 calories per serving

Available online through

Today is a cold, rainy day in Woodinville, WA, so a hot comfort food sounds like just what I need for a quick lunch!  I'm trying these noodles from Maruchan of Japan (who should not be confused with Maruchan USA).  Although there is english writing on the package in various places, such as the instructions and nutrition information, strangely there is no translation of the name on the package.  So, I have to resort to my extremely-limited japanese-decoding skills, and I make out the name as Akai Kitsune Udon, which seems like it would mean something like 'red fox noodles.'  Whatever they're called, I'm ready to try them, so on with the review!

The kitsune [fox] part of the name means that the noodles are topped with an abura-age, which is a seasoned fried tofu pocket thing, and which are the same thing used for making inari sushi.  Unlike other 'udon' products I've tried, these are dry noodles rather than being vacuum-packed fresh ones.  We also have a double-packet of seasonings, that has a basic-looking soup base in one side and what seems to be an extremely tiny amount of chili powder in the other.  We open the packet into the noodles, fill the bowl to the line with boiling water, close the lid, and let stand for five minutes.  Then after a quick stir we are ready to eat!

The broth is mild but quite flavorful; it has that dashi flavor that I really love, like in the Nong Shim Japanese-Style Udon.  I don't notice any sort of heat at all; if that really was chili powder in the packet, there wasn't enough of it to change anything.  The noodles are nice, but remind me more of an egg noodle than a true udon--the flavor is close but a little too rich, and the texture isn't quite right either.  Still, they are not bad by any means and accompany the broth well.  The abura-age has an interesting flavor, if you've never had one; they're mildly sweet and kind of remind me of a waffle.  It can also be a bit unwieldy to eat, especially (I would imagine) with a different implement than chopsticks--the outside crust is quite firm and tends to resist efforts to stab or cut it.  I can fold it in half and pick it up to take bites, but I'm not sure how you'd go at it with a fork or spoon.

Overall, I liked this one quite a bit; it seemed like another nice variation on traditional Japanese noodle soup. It might not be my absolute favorite in the category, but I'll probably buy it again. :)

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