September 26, 2016 By

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The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2016 Edition

 This is the fourth year of The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of All Time lists. The list definitely has had a lot of movement every year – a good sign as those who produce instant noodles in Taiwan are innovating and producing new styles and flavors all the time! Here are my pick of the tastiest and most memorable Taiwanese varieties from my over 2,000 reviews to date.

A video of this year’s list presented by Hans Lienesch, The Ramen Rater.

#10: A-Sha Dry Noodle QQ Thin Noodle – BBQ Sauce

These noodles are great! Very light and thin and honesty they seem to be happy. It’s a perfect balance of texture and delicateness. They definitely are wonderful to chew. The BBQ sauce? Well, this isn’t what most would think of when you say BBQ sauce – it’s not the 99 cents a bottle stuff at the local grocery store. Instead, it’s a very enjoyable and tasty flavor with nice depth. Soy sauce, garlic, a slight spiciness and other flavors are represented in a wonderful flavor that doesn’t have the usual American ‘slather’ BBQ sauce feel. This is excellent. #1 in 2013. Original review

#9: Mom’s Dry Noodle Onion Oil & Shrimp Flavor

It’s amazing how sometimes when I do a top ten list, some of the best ones are right before the cutoff for my list! I tried this one a week or so ago and let me just say – wow. The noodles are of an excellent quality and texture with a perfect chewiness. The flavor is well balanced with not too much saltiness but definitely not bland; it’s rich and delectable stuff. Original review

#8: Chering Chang Curry La-Men

This is the first variety I’ve tried of this brand and if the others they make are anything like this, they’re going to be doing very well with my reviews! The noodles are of a standard instant noodle gauge but have a very fresh feel to them. The curry broth is a wonderful sweet curry with a excellent richness to it. The included vegetable sachet was a show stopper on this one, with everything hydrating to perfection and a really ample quantity.Original review

#7: Tseng Noodles Rice Noodle Seafood Laksa Flavour

Laksa isn’t something that I would immediately connect with Taiwan, but now I think that’s going to change. This was a really interesting variety to try; the rice noodles have a neat gauge – just a little thicker than their others. The broth was very much on the thick and rich end of things with a nice flavor to it. Luxuriant and aromatic. Original review

#6: Jingqi Aloe Vera Guan Mian Cyanobacteria Noodle With Ginger Oil Sauce

Okay – cyano-what? Cyoanobacteria is often sold as Spirulina – the healthful blue-green algae. The noodles are extremely wide in this one and have a nice softness to them. The flavor was great – a kind of sweet with ginger and salty thing going on here which was absolutely delectable. Original review

#5: A-Sha Dry Noodle Veggie Noodle Baby Grass Noodle With Toona Sauce

The noodles have a very good elasticity to them. They have a broad flat nature and a premium texture and chewiness. The flavor was a soy and something else – the Toona aspect I imagine. It had an earthiness which was subtle and light – just right. I very much liked this; it seemed like something that would pair well with the acidity of tomato and richness of some kind of beef with wine juxtaposition. Original review

#4: Mom’s Dry Noodle Sichuan Spicy Flavor

After trying their Onion Oil & Shrimp, I couldn’t wait to try this one – and it was a real treat as well. What sets this one apart are the noodles. Sun dried and with a perfect texture and thickness. They’re absolutely amazing. As for the flavor, it comes together via three sachets: mushroom oyster sauce, sesame oil and chilli paste. The heat is ample and so wonderfully balanced with the sesame and oyster sauce. #1 in 2014. Original review

#3: Mom’s Dry Noodle Sour & Spicy Flavor

The noodles are really primo – excellent gauge and chewiness. They’re thick and have a gourmet quality to them. The flavor is really great. It goes from an initial hit from the black vinegar’s sourness, then mulls around with the heat and almost transforms into a sweetness at a point. It’s a very active flavor that kept my tastebuds fascinated the whole time. Excellent! Original review

#2: A-Sha Dry Noodle Veggie Noodle Tomato Noodle With Vine Ripened Tomato Sauce – Taiwan

The very first Taiwanese instant to make the annual top ten overall list. But there’s no denying – this is absolutely marvelous stuff. The noodles have a great gauge – broad, flat and soft with a light chew. The great part is the tomato flavor – when I opened the sachet of sauce the whole room smelled like fresh tomatoes. Not only that, there’s more than enough sauce to flavor all of the noodles.Original review

#1: Tseng Noodle Scallion With Sichuan Pepper Flavor

This is only the second Taiwanese variety to ever make the annual top ten overall list. These noodles are simply wonderful – wide with a sturdy chew and strong backbone. The flavor is salty and savory with a great hit of Sichuan pepper – hot, but not too hot. Excellence! Special Top Ten Re-Review

 

Products cooked according to package instructions. Product reviews done prior to adding any additional ingredients.
September 27, 2016 By

#2185: Nissin Raoh Hot & Sour Ramen

Here’s one that’s been lingering in the hamper a little – sent by a reader named Colin who sent a ton of varieties a few months ago – thanks again! So this is hot and sour – kind of surprised that his even exists as all the Raoh varieties I’ve tried in the past were traditional – shoi, miso, shoyu , tonkotsu et al. Let’s give this one a try!

Here’s the back of the package (click to enlarge). Unsure whether it contains meat. To prepare, add noodles to 500ml boiling water and cook for 4 minutes. Add in sachet contents. Stir and enjoy! Mentions to make it better with some scrambled eggs!

The noodle block.

The liquid sachet.

Thick and dark.

Finished (click to enlarge). Added Salad Cosmo mung bean sprouts, spring onion, scrambled egg and shichimi togarashi. The noodle are great – excellent chew and backbone. The broth is serious business – oily, rich in color and has a nice hot and sour taste. Unique and different! 5.0 out of 5.0 stars. JAN bar code 4902105900680.

Nissin – Raoh Japanese Instant Ramen Hot and Sour Noodle Soup (For 5 Servings) by Nissin

A Nissin Raoh TV commercial from Japan.

Products cooked according to package instructions. Product reviews done prior to adding any additional ingredients.
September 26, 2016 By

Re-Review: Tseng Noodles Scallion With Sichuan Pepper Flavor

I thought that after making The Ramen Rater’s top Ten Instant Noodles Of All Time 2016 Edition and winning The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of all Time 2016 Edition, it would be nice to revisit this tasty noodle! What do you think? Let’s dig in!

Here’s the back of the 4 pack package (click to enlarge). Looks to be meat free but check for yourself. To prepare, add one of the noodle blocks to 800ml boiling water and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes. Drain. Add in contents of sachets. Stir and enjoy!

Here’s one of the individual packages (there are 4 in the big bag).

Here’s the back of the package (click to enlarge).

The noodle block.

A liquid sachet.

Spicy smelling oil!

The second liquid sachet.

Has a salty and soy scent to it.

Finished (click to enlarge). Added yakibuta pork belly and scallions. These noodles are simply amazing! They’re wide and have a scalloped edge to them. Excellent chew but not al dente – just right. The flavor is equally impressive: a nice and tasty salty soy and oil with a snappy Sichuan pepper hit to it which has a nice heat level. The heat works with the flavor, rather than against it though, making everything balance and sing together beautifully. Love this stuff! 5.0 out of 5.0 stars. EAN bar code 4713008550021.

Taiwan (Bradt Travel Guides)

Here’s a video showing Mr. Tseng preparing his namesake noodles.

Products cooked according to package instructions. Product reviews done prior to adding any additional ingredients.
September 25, 2016 By

Meet The Manufacturer: #2184: President Rice Coriander Instant Rice Noodles

As we wind down this Meet The Manufacturer, I’ve been saving one that I found very interesting to be towards the end. I use coriander in the ‘finished’ photo of many instant noodle varieties – but never have I seen an instant noodles whose primary flavor is coriander. I’m very curious about this one – let’s check it out!

Detail of the side panels (click to enlarge). Looks to be meat free but check for yourself. To prepare, add all seasoning sachets to the bowl and boiling water to fill line. Let steep covered for 4 minutes. Stir and enjoy!

Detail of the lid (click to enlarge).

The noodles.

The soup base sachet.

A very light powder.

The garnish sachet.

Coriander!

An oil sachet.

Has a bright yellowish hue.

Finished (click to enlarge). Added Salad Cosmo mung bean sprouts and coriander. The noodles hydrated very well. They are wide and flat and have a decent chew to them but not overly chewy for a rice noodle. The broth is a kind of salty and chicken like one, augmented by a nice oiliness. The sachet of dried coriander can be seen flecked throughout here. To be honest, I expected this to be an onslaught of coriander flavor, but it was a little drowned out so to speak by the broth’s saltiness. I think it could be served better with more coriander and less saltiness. Still, it was a tasty bowl of rice noodles. 2.75 out of 5.0 stars. EAN bar code 8851876001491.

Thailand: The Cookbook

A short and beautiful on harvesting and transporting coriander in northern Thailand.

Products cooked according to package instructions. Product reviews done prior to adding any additional ingredients.
September 24, 2016 By

Meet The Manufacturer: #2183: MAMA Instant Rice Noodles Moo Nam Tok Flavour

I thought the first thing to do would be to look this up on Wikipedia. I found an entry for nam tok and here’s some of what it said:

Nam tok can refer to two different kinds of preparation:

  • In Central Thailand, nam tok is mainly a spicy soup stock enriched with raw cow blood or pig’s blood. Blood is often used in Thailand to enrich regular noodle dishes. One of the most popular variants of the nam tok noodle soup is known as kuai-tiao mu nam tok. It includes broth, blood, noodles, bean sprouts, pieces of liver, pork, dumplings, green vegetables and spices. This type of soup has an intense, rich and pleasant taste and is often served by streetside vendors in small food stalls.[1]

  • Nam tok can be also an Isan and Lao meat dish which is similar to lap (larb). This dish is known in Lao as ping sin nam tok (Lao: ປິ້ງຊິ້ນນ້ຳຕົກ) and in Thai as nuea yang nam tok (Thai: เนื้อย่างน้ำตก, “waterfall grilled beef”), if made with beef, and as mu nam tok (Thai: หมูน้ำตก, “waterfall pork”), if made with pork. The name supposedly refers to the fact that there is still “water”, or liquid, in the meat, that is, blood. The “dressing” of this meat-based salad is made with ground roasted rice, ground dried chillies, fish sauce, lime juice, shallots and mint leaves. It can also feature spring onions. It is traditionally eaten with sticky rice and comes with raw vegetables such asthua fak yao (Thai: ถั่วฝักยาว, yardlong beans) and kalam pli (Thai: กะหล่ำปลี, cabbage).[2]

Ah ha – so from the second bullet point it looks as though this is a pork variety. Let’s check it out!

Here’s the back of the package (click to enlarge). Looks to be meat free but check for yourself. To prepare, add everything to a bowl and add 300ml boiling water. Cover for 3 minutes. Stir and enjoy!

The rice noodles.

A large sachet.

Has a rich scent.

A liquid sachet.

A dark, oily paste.

Finished (click to enlarge). Added Salad Cosmo mung bean sprouts, fried garlic, thin sliced chashu pork, coriander and chilli flake. Really like the gauge of these noodles yet again – good stuff! Hydrated well in the time allotted. The broth has a kind of mysteriousness to it; dark in color with a sour and spicy taste and other tastes lingering about. 3.5 out of 5.0 stars. EAN bar code 8851876001132.

Instant Mama Rice Vermicelli Noodles Moo Nam Tok Pork Flavor – Pack of 6

A short video showing the preparation of moo nam tok in Thailand by a hawker.

Products cooked according to package instructions. Product reviews done prior to adding any additional ingredients.