Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Treasure Chest has Arrived!

I'm not sure I remember exactly how I became aware of this new "subscription box," but once I did, I knew I had to give The Ramen Box a try.  They are brand new, so I didn't have the benefit of seeing what prior boxes had in them to get an idea of the selection--I am in on the very first month!  So far all I know about the contents is that there is going to be two each of 3-4 types of instant noodles, and also that they asked me my t-shirt size a week ago.
So, in grand internet tradition, we are now going to do our first of at least six Unboxing Special entries.

Inside the box, there is the promised t-shirt and also a small 'The Ramen Box' button as this month's "extras," two package each of four types of noodles, and a tri-fold style informational leaflet which tells about this month's selections.  It seems May 2015 is Korean themed; we have the mild Ottogi Jin Ramen, the medium Paldo Cheese Ramyun, and the spicy Paldo Kokomen.  Finally, for something really different, they've included Ottogi's Ppushu Ppushu 'noodle snack' in BBQ Flavor, which is meant to be smashed up and eaten dry instead of being cooked.

The first box was mostly a hit for me; I've only had one of the four varieties included before, and I haven't reviewed any of them previously, a situation I will be rectifying over the next couple of weeks as time permits.  The t-shirt is just a little snug, but I was expecting that, and if I lose just a little more weight (maybe by eating more ramen and less pizza) then it will be perfect.  Overall, I feel like I got a good value and a fun experience; I'm looking forward to eating my way through this box, and I'm looking forward to the next one as well! ^_^

Update:  The products have now been reviewed:
Ottogi Jin Ramen Mild
Paldo Kokomen
Paldo Cheese Ramyun
Ottogi Ppushu Ppushu BBQ Flavor
All four got a positive rating; I know it's just the first month, but it makes me hopeful for the high quality of things to come!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Soup it up!

Inspired by the last review, in addition to trying to post new reviews on a semi-regular basis, I'm planning to update some of the older reviews as we have some of our old favorites again with our add-in ingredients--I'm thinking this makes more sense than my old idea of creating separate "Souped Up" re-reviews to talk about the add-ins.

The first old review to get updated is based on what my wife and I had for dinner tonight:  Shin Ramyun

Myojo Chukazanmai Soy Sauce Flavor

Made By:  Myojo Foods Co. [Japan]
Required to Prepare:  Water, Saucepan & Range
370 calories per package

Available online at Amazon.com

I know this blog has been woefully neglected of late, but I am still around... and more importantly to the story, my wife and I have been on a bit of a ramen kick recently.  We started by having some of my (already reviewed) favorites together, but it is time to start reviewing again!  I'm re-starting things with a very traditional product from Myojo, their Chukazanmai soy sauce (shoyu) ramen.

The package contains two soup base packets, one powdered and one liquid, and a very interesting block of dried noodles--they are not 'puffed' the way almost all instant ramen is at all; they quite hard and dense, and are much more like a dry pasta, like wavy spaghetti.  The liquid seasoning packet has concentrated soy sauce and sesame-flavored oil, and the powdered base seems to be, for want of a better description, a typical "oriental flavor" soup base.
We boil 600ml (about 2-1/2 cups) of water, then add the noodles and cook for 4 minutes.  The soup bases get mixed in at the end, either before or after we transfer the soup to our bowl, and with a quick stir we are ready to have some ramen!

[Note:  the delicious oils on top of the soup caught the
camera flash in an odd way, it didn't look this weird in person.
This does show how much rich flavoring you get though!]
Well, almost ready.  It feels a bit like there is something missing, and there is--I've skipped a step in the instructions.  See, this is actually a very respectable rendition of 'real' shoyu ramen soup; the non-puffed noodles are firmer and more like fresh, and the broth has that rich sesame and soy sauce flavor.  However, a 'real' shoyu ramen would never get caught being served naked like this, which is why the last step in the instructions is:  "3.  Try adding meat, or vegetable as desired."  To start, I think the 'serving suggestion' from the front of the package, which depicts some braised pork belly along with radishes, greens, and peppers, would be delicious, but really I think it would be a fine way to use whatever meaty leftovers you had around.  Extra rotisserie chicken, roast beef, kamaboko and 6-minute eggs all sound like good things to build a bowl of ramen around.

I actually could see eating it on its own for something simple and comforting if I were under the weather, but I can definitely see that it is meant as a base for a meal soup of your own design, and I think I may try to keep a couple of packs around for just that purpose. :)