Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fuwaritoshita Tenpura Soba

Made By:  Yamamoto Seifun
Required to Prepare:  Boiling water (~12 oz.)
430 calories per package

Has it really been three months since I did a noodle review?  Time flies when you're having....  Well, without delving into things that the average ramen connoisseur wouldn't be interested in, it's been a crazy year.

Be that as it may, today I am having this Japanese noodle bowl for lunch, and so I decided to take pictures and write about it, just like old times!  The only english writing anywhere on the package is on the importer's sticker on the bottom, which identifies the manufacturer as Yamamoto Seifun, and the product as Fuwaritoshita Tenpura Soba, which means it is the same noodle dish as the Midori no Tanuki Tensoba that I really liked.

The primary difference between this product and the Maruchan one, in fact, seems to be the gimmicky-feeling addition of some whole shrimp embedded in the tempura disk; otherwise, the package contains just the standard block of soba noodles and packet of dry soup base.  Preparation is the same as practically any other bowl noodle:  Add boiling water to the line, wait three minutes, and stir and serve!

While the broth does have the requisite dashi-shoyu flavor going on, it seems bland to me; it doesn't seem to have quite the same savory depth of flavor that I am used to from other Japanese-style noodle products like the ones from Nong Shim or Maruchan.  Likewise, the noodles have the breadlike mouthfeel I was expecting from my experience with other instant soba, but the deep nutty flavor isn't as prevalent.  Even the tempura seems to lack the same richness as in the Midori no Tanuki tensoba.

And then we get to the negative part:  the little shrimp I mentioned earlier.  When I said they were whole dried shrimp, I meant it--there are actually tiny unpeeled shrimp, i.e. complete with tiny shrimp legs and tiny shrimp shells, imbedded in the tempura disk.  As you contemplate whether this seems like a good idea, think back to the last time you were eating a shrimp dish and ended up trying to bite into one of the tails by mistake.  Then, imagine that someone hid a bunch of chopped-up shrimp tails in your bowl of noodles as a practical joke, because that's exactly the experience of trying to eat this soup.  After the first one, I thought I was being vigilant in picking the stupid things out, but I still managed to end up spitting out shrimp shells several more times before I finished the bowl.  For me, it completely ruined the experience, and  turned what would have been a perfectly mediocre bowl of noodles into something that was actually pretty disgusting.
I have to be honest, I simply don't get it.  :b

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