Friday, February 15, 2013

Indomie Onion Chicken Flavour Instant Noodles

Made By:  Indofood [Indonesia]
Required to Prepare:  400ml water, saucepan & range
340 calories per serving

For today's lunch, I'm reviewing an Onion Chicken flavour ramen soup from Indomie, who is probably better known for their Mi Goreng line of non-soup noodles but who also produces a decent variety of instant noodle soups--this one sounds like it should be a nice, mild, savory flavor.  On with the review!

Inside the packet we find a block of golden ramen-style noodles, along with a pack of seasoning oil and a foil double-pack containing soup base on one side and a decent portion of chili powder on the other.  To prepare, we boil our 400ml (or 1-3/4 cups) of water, and add the noodles and cook for three minutes.  Meanwhile, we are supposed to go ahead and put the contents of the flavoring packets into our bowl, and stir them up into a paste.  When I open the soup base, I notice a celery-like aroma, and the seasoning oil has a scent not unlike french-fried onions.  Anyway, once the noodles are cooked, we pour them over our seasoning paste, stir things up, and serve!

The flavor of the broth is a bit less oniony than I had expected; it seems very much like a western-style chicken broth.  The noodles have a decent texture, and interestingly, while eating the noodles I do notice a taste of the fried-onion flavor from the seasoning oil--the noodles must be picking up the oil as I lift them out of the broth, and it gave them a certain complexity that I appreciated and enjoyed.  I didn't notice a lot of spice while I was eating, but once the bowl was finished I did seem to have a small chili-heat afterglow going on.

While overall I'm not sure the flavor of these is that much different than just a plain domestic-brand chicken flavored ramen, the price is really not that much different either, and for the difference I appreciated the extra complexity and intensity of flavor that these had.  Even though they're basically "just" a chicken flavor, for some reason I'm looking forward to having them again.  :)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

MAMA Artificial Pa-Lo Duck Flavour Oriental Style Instant Noodles

Made By:  Thai President Foods, Ltd. [Thailand]
Required to Prepare:  12 oz. boiling water
240 calories per package

I wanted a small serving of noodles this morning as a pre-brunch snack, which is the perfect occasion to try one of these 2-ounce size Thai noodles.  I chose MAMA's Pa-Lo Duck flavor, so I can compare it to the "non-fried" duck flavor noodles I had a while back.  A cursory Google search seems to suggest that "Pa-Lo" is simply another word (the Thai word, perhaps?) for "five-spice", so I'm imagining the flavor will be at least similar.  I told you I was going to try to find the same flavor with the good noodles!

The package contains our lovely MAMA dark seasoned noodles, a packet of thick light-colored garlic-scented oil, and a double foil packet that has our soup base and the obligatory chili powder.  We add all the ingredients into a bowl, add 1-1/2 cups of boiling water, and cover and let stand for three minutes.  After a quick stir, we're ready to eat!

The noodles are definitely way better than the "non-fried" ones, with the nice firm texture that I am used to.  They might be a little less flavorful than I remember, but maybe it's not fair to compare these to noodles that have soaked in Tom Yum broth.  The broth is a bit spicier than I was expecting; I did rate the other ones at about a 3-star level, but these are probably more like a four.  Perhaps due to this, the five-spice flavor seems a little bit subtle, but it is there, along with a nice rich duck-broth base.

Overall, these were quite enjoyable, though they seemed a bit overly spicy for a morning snack.  Of course, I could probably do something about that by leaving out some or all of the chili powder, which I might actually do in the future--while I don't usually mind spice heat, it seemed a little out of place in this one.  While I still prefer the flavor of the Tom Yum varieties, I could see wanting this one again.  Oh, and of course it practically goes without saying that for only twenty extra calories per package, this one is just strictly better than the "non-fried" version. :)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Myojo Ippeichan Yomise-no Yakisoba Oriental Flavor with Mayonnaise

Made By:  Myojo Foods Co, Ltd. [Japan]
Tools Required:  ~2 cups boiling water
620 calories per package

While it hasn't been that long since I've had a package of Myojo's Ippeichan Yakisoba to eat, it has certainly been a while since the last Myojo yakisoba review, so when I found a new variety of it to review at Uwajimaya, I was excited!  But as everyone knows, finding a new food to try is less interesting than actually trying it, so for today's lunch, I am having Yomise-no Yakisoba!

The contents of the package are roughly the same as in the other Ippeichan yakisoba, though the noodles and the sauce are both lighter in color, and the "mustard-mayonnaise" packet is instead just a "mayonnaise" packet.  To prepare, we add the "Dry Vegetable" (which seems to just be dehydrated cabbage) to the container, and fill to the line with boiling water.  After the noodles stand covered for three minutes, we peel open the drain spout on the other side of the container and drain the water out, then mix in the remaining packets.  The "sauce" has an aroma not unlike teriyaki sauce, and then when I add the "spice" packet I notice a strong scent of black pepper.  There are also sesame seeds and some unidentified red flecks along with the green seaweed powder this time.  Despite what the directions say, I can't resist using the mayonnaise as a topping instead of stirring it in.

The noodles have a wonderful soft-yet-firm texture, and again Myojo has presented me with a flavor profile that is going to be difficult to describe.  The sweet-and-savory note that I smelled when I opened the sauce packet is actually very subtle, and the mayo and black pepper notes are what take the forefront, with the other seasonings and hint of sweetness rounding out the flavor deliciously.  If I have a criticism at all, it would be that the cabbage bits seemed to stay a bit tough, though I will also say that they seemed much less out of place here than in most of the other cabbage-wielding yakisoba varieties.

If the original Ippeichan Yakisoba is like eating a McDonald's hamburger, this one is like homemade southern-style fried chicken--it's a lighter, simpler flavor but still definitely retains the 'comfort food' feel.  I honestly can't decide which one I like better, and seeing as how we're talking about one of my all-time favorite instant noodles, that is quite the compliment.  Myojo has definitely crafted an excellent addition to the brand!  ^_^

Maruchan Midori no Tanuki Tensoba

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

Available online through

Last time I was at Uwajimaya, I picked up the 'sister product' to the Akai Kitsune Udon that I reviewed a few months back.  Again, the name of the product is not disclosed in english, so I am left to translate the Japanese writing myself and come up with "Midori no Tanuki Tensoba", which roughly means 'green raccoon* noodles (with tempura)'.  I've heard of a red fox, but I don't think I've ever seen a green raccoon.  I actually imagine they are referring to the mythological kitsune and tanuki instead of the indigenous woodland creatures, though, so maybe a tanuki can be green if it wants to be.

Mythified critters aside, what we have here is an instant rendition of Japanese "Tensoba", short for tempura-soba, or buckwheat noodles topped with some fried tempura.  Preparation is largely the same most other bowl noodles; we add the contents of the included packets (a powdered soup base, and what appears to be an extremely tiny amount of chili powder), fill to the line with boiling water, and cover and let stand for three minutes.

The included noodles are 'real' soba, at least to the extent that they have enough buckwheat flour in them to produce the traditional grayish color.  They have an interesting bread-like mouthfeel and a deep nutty flavor.  The broth is pretty much the same dashi-and-shoyu "Japanese-style" savory flavor as in the Akai Kitsune Udon, and in other "traditional" imported noodles.  I happen to love the flavor, but if you didn't like it in any of the other products, this one won't be for you either.  The tempura disk becomes extremely soggy, of course, which one would expect, but which Americans might not associate with the word "tempura".  Unlike the abura-age from the Kitsune Udon, the tempura disk ends up breaking up into the soup instead of being eaten separately, providing nice little counterpoints of flavor throughout the dish.

While the two products--Akai Kitsune Udon and Midori no Tanuki Tensoba--have similar flavor profiles, since the broth is (as best as I can tell) exactly the same, I have to say that in the battle of Red Fox versus Green Raccoon*, I greatly prefer the Raccoon's tensoba.  I think the soba noodles have an amazing flavor, and I like the way the tempura becomes a component of the dish instead of staying a separate garnish.  Both are really good, naturally, but given the choice this is the one I would go back to on a regular basis.  :D

*While often translated as "raccoon", the Japanese tanuki is unrelated to the true raccoon native to America and is more accurately a raccoon-dog, since the tanuki is a canine.