Hans over at the Ramenrater got to go on an awesome trip to visit Nongshim America and do a tour. Check out the full story over at the RamenRater. Some cool pics and info!
Vernon over at The Noodle Guy contacted me this weekend and when I got back to civilization, I checked it out. The site has been up for a couple months now and seems to be going strong with lots of reviews of the numerous SF bay area noodle shops and restaurants that serve noodle dishes. I imagine he could eat at one a day and never finish this site. Living here in Northern Colorado, we don’t have quite the selection that he does, so I’m enjoying his reviews vicariously. If you live in the Bay Area or are visiting (like I am in May) then you should definitely check out his site.
The site also has noodle recipes, many of which require a visit to an Asian grocery store (also a challenge for me). This one for Vietnamese Garlic Noodle – Thanh Long Style looks good and has a surprise ingredient that I don’t think is part of traditional Vietnamese cooking; a French influence perhaps?
Hans over at the RamenRater did a Top 10 instant noodle bowls in the world. In general, I prefer the brick to the bowl, but when I’m in a hurry, the bowl wins every time. After looking at his list, I’ve only had one bowl on the list, #5, and it is pretty damn good, like everything Nong Shim makes. I’ll have to take Hans’ word on the rest. Has anyone on the list tried any of these other ones?
If you missed it in February, this list is a follow-up to the Top 10 instant noodles of all time, which does not include any bowls.
According to this press release, within 5 years people will buy 154,000,000,000 packs of ramen annually. That’s enough for about 31 packs per person annually, which is probably how much I eat per year these days. I’ll give you the obligatory that that’s enough ramen bricks to stack them to the moon and more than 9 times (given average lunar distance and ramen brick thickness).
As I read the report more, I realized that the press release is a really a link to a full analysis of the ramen market. This is why you go to Wharton everyone.
The research report titled “Instant Noodles: A Global Strategic Business Report” announced by Global Industry Analysts Inc., provides a comprehensive review of the instant noodles markets, impact of recession, current market trends, key growth drivers, recent product introductions, recent industry activity, and profiles of major/niche global as well as regional market participants.
Unfortunately the CBOT does not currently trade ramen futures.
Although most of us just cook instant ramen, it is possible to make real ramen at home. This article from the Huffington Post has some good hints and links to recipes.
Later on in the story, there’s a description of four types of ramen:
Shio ramen is the subtlest form with a clear, light-bodied salty chicken broth. Sometimes fish or pork are included.
Shoyu ramen is soy sauce flavored and made with a chicken and vegetable broth base. Sometimes fish or beef are included.
Tonkotsu ramen is rich and pork based, almost milky white in color.
Miso ramen is rich in flavor from miso paste — it also comes in a spicy version that’s topped with spicy bean paste. The broth can be a combination of chicken, fish and/or pork.
Tonkotsu ramen is my favorite kind.
I got an email from some ramen fans this morning. Neil from Ohio writes:
This email may sound confusing, but just let me explain. We love and enjoy Ramen Noodles and always have ample supply at home and also our motorhome. If you are a television watcher, you no doubt have seen the Allstate auto insurance commercials. The Allstate spokesperson points to a young driver saying “….. Emily’s on a budget … ‘LIKE A RAMEN NOODLE EVERYDAY BUDGET”. This commercial objective is saying anyone on a very tight budget can afford their insurance. [We] are very senior citizens and absolutely love Ramen Noodles. Especially after a cool winter walk as a warm-up snack or Ramen Noodles and a salad or sandwich for lunch or dinner.
We feel the Allstate Insurance commercial is demeaning to Ramen Noodles and shed a very negative impact on a food product that is wholesome and delicious. As the months progress television viewers will be subjected to tons of negative advertising from those individuals running for the Office of President of the United States and feel that the Allstate commercial is detrimental to Ramen Noodles.
Well I must say that I agree with Neil and also I use Progressive Insurance. Hey Progressive, you shouldn’t definitely sponsor me!
Update: The Arkansas Times has weighed in and they’re kinda upset about the commercial. It doesn’t bother me either way, so times are good in Arkansas if they’re upset about this.
March is National Noodle Month and ramen of course is always an excellent choice for celebrating. Now some sites will tell you to make noodle crafts or what-not, but I say noodles are for eating, especially ramen.
I’ve posted this a few years ago, but try out this noodle quiz (PDF)
During March, please send me your wildest, but tastiest recipes, and I’ll be posting them all month. I also have an archive to go back through and pull out some weird stuff. If possible, attach pics to the email!
Today for lunch it was time for leftovers, leftovers and ramen! I had a brat that I cooked yesterday and to go with it, I cooked up some GreeNoodle Yakisoba flavor from RamenPlace.com.
The noodles themselves are made with “Moroheiya” aka “mallow leaf” which, according to the Japanese Health Ministry, “contains great amounts of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibers in quantities that surpass most known vegetables and herbs”.
This leaf gives the noodles a green color and they remain slightly chewy after cooking. The packet comes with some dried veggies, seasoning, and oil/sauce. I cooked these up in a couple minutes, drained, added seasonings, and stirred it up. The flavor was an interesting mix of sweet, savory, and just a very slight spiciness. The dried vegetables, mainly carrots, corn, and I believe cabbage, added some nice extra flavor. The oil really added a lot to this dish. I ended up only using about 2/3rds of the seasoning since it was in danger of becoming too salty. I really enjoyed these noodles. They felt healthier, but tasted better than regular noodles.
Here is Hans’ review of this same flavor. I did not get any of the unpleasant earthy flavors he mentioned, I really enjoyed mine!
Today for lunch, I decided to dig into my box of goodies from RamenPlace.com. I decided on the Long Kow Crystal Noodle (Spicy Sesame Paste) flavor. The noodles in this are the translucent crystal noodles, which are thin and have a good flavor and texture. Also included was a soup cube, a compressed cube version of the standard flavor pack, and sesame paste. I made a mistake when I boiled the water in that I didn’t boil enough, so I’d recommend you boil 2 cups or more so you don’t run out like I did.
After adding the extra water, I stirred in the soup cube and sat down to eat. The last step of prep is adding the sesame paste. This proved to be difficult. I ended up using the back end of my fork to scrape out the paste. I then stirred the noodles, but a couple chunks of the sesame paste remained. I think next time, I need to warm the paste so that it’s easier to extract and dissolve. I have a few more of this type of ramen, so if I figure out the trick, I’ll post it here.
Despite my issues with cooking this, I have to say that this ramen was delicious. The noodles were awesome, almost invisible in the soup and with a great texture. The broth was spicy, but not over the top. The soup cube has some seaweed in it that added some flavor and texture. The sesame paste added a note of sesame which is always good on noodles.
I finished the noodles and then gulped the soup. The flavor of the bowl was excellent overall. I don’t do star ratings here (that’s Hans’ gig), but I did enjoy this. I wish the bowl was slightly larger perhaps, and I wish I had a better method for extracting and mixing the sesame paste, but all in all, I liked this one.
Sorry there’s no more pictures today. The noodles are so transparent that the picture of the bowl, with flash, made the bowl look empty!
A ramen shop in Tokyo, aptly named Niku-ya (Butcher Shop) takes pork ramen to a whole new level. Every February 9th, you don’t get the normal amount of pork, you get 60 times the normal amount of pork, because February 9th is “Super Meat Day”. This means instead of 1 slice, you get 60 slices. You really have to see the video to understand just how much pork this is for one ramen bowl.
Even though the video is in Japanese, the imagery is what impresses. Each bowl has about 2 and 2/3rds to 3 pounds of pork!
As it turns out, Niku-ya doesn’t even consider themselves a ramen shop, they’re a meat shop, and so if you can’t make Feb 9, you can attend Meat Day on the 29th of each month. If any reader has visited, I’d love to see some pictures!