Nick from OrderRamen.com sent me a goodie box of ramen last week. The box featured some new flavors that are supposed to be good as well as some old favorites like Sapporo Ichiban. First a quick review of Sapporo Ichiban. When the box came my kid and I were both excited, but since he doesn't like spicy stuff, I picked out the non-spicy stuff and let him choose. After much deliberation he settled on the Sapporo Ichiban beef flavor noodles. I cooked them my favorite way for making dry noodles, that is, add half of the flavor pack to the water, boil, drain. Then add the noodles back to the pot, and sprinkle seasoning while stirring. I was able to share this secret technique with my 3 year old as he "helped" me.
I managed to sneak a few bites before my kid noticed and I must say that I still like Sapporo Ichiban ramen. It is simple and good tasting. The texture is good and the seasoning is not too strong. My kid ate the rest, so he's a fan too.
My mom is from the south (technically I am to, but I left when I was 17), and so she has Southern manners. So, when presented with a super hot bowl of soup and given a pair of chopsticks and a soup spoon, she wasn't sure how to get the noodles into her mouth. I picked up the noodles, waited a few seconds for them to cool and them slurped them into my mouth. My mom, refusing to slurp, put them on a side plate until they cooled and them pushed them onto the spoon. These were the thick udon noodles, my favorite kind, served with vegetables, seafood, and an egg in a pork and seafood broth. The net result is that I don't think she'll order noodles with me again.
I'm sure there's a worse way to eat the noodles, in a restaurant I mean, can you come up with a better one?
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!