Category Archives: Thai President Foods

Vegetarian MAMA Samples FromThai President Foods

A nice package came in the mail today from Thailand! I saw some pictures one of the people I met in Thailand posted on facebook that showed some neat yellow-packaged varieties I’d not tried and so I asked what they were.

Vegetarian tom yum and vegetarian shiitake mushroom and tofu! Very cool!

Both in pack and cup form. Thank you very much to Ms. Pojjana and Ms. Ratha for sending these – looking forward to trying them!

#1731: MAMA Instant Noodles Shrimp Creamy Tom Yum Flavour

Some of you are going to say ‘hey this is a re-review!’ But actually, it isn’t. This is the MAMA Shrimp Creamy Tom Yum for the Cambodian market! Yup – Cambodia. A lot of new countries lately which is awesome! I got these sent to me when I saw them during my visit to Thailand at the Thai President Foods European Agent Meeting in May! Let’s have a look at this one for the Cambodian market.

Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge). I don’t see it on the package, but I’m guessing this contains shrimp. To prepare, add contents of package to a bowl. Add 300ml boiling water and cover for 3 minutes. Stir and enjoy!

The noodle block.

The dry soup base sachet.

Has a spicy and shrimp scent.

A liquid sachet.

Has a spicy scent.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added shrimp, Thai chillies, mung bean sprouts, white onion and coriander. The noodles hydrated very nicely, with that trademark gauge and slight crumble that MAMA noodles always have. The broth is spectacular – brilliant looking and with a slightly sweet, spicy, lemongrassy, shrimpy, creamy balance that’s just superb. Love this stuff! 5.0 out of 5.0 stars. EAN bar code 8850987128301.

5 Packs – MAMA Shrimp Creamy Tom Yum Flavour Instant Noodles Thailand

An older MAMA Shrimp Creamy Tom Yum TV commercial.

The Ramen Rater’s Trip To Thailand: Day 6 – The Long Road Home

Day 1 * Day 2 * Day 3 * Day 4 * Day 5 * Day 6

Came down to have a last try at the breakfast buffet. I’d been putting off the noodles but I figured I’d kick myself if I didn’t give them a try before I left. Good stuff!

A little of everything before I go.

I took this photo right when we were leaving our corner suite for the last time. The view of Bangkok was addicting; wish I could’ve taken it with me as more than a photo. I think we’ll be back someday though.

Last night at the farewell dinner, I met the guy who accompanied us to the airport. Mr. Yatra had spent some time working in the Seattle area which is very near to where I live. He told me his favorite place to eat was a restaurant called Tai Tung – a place I’d been years back as a kid. Upon dropping us off at the airport he bid us a kind farewell, reminding me ‘hey don’t forget – go to Tai Tung!’ Mr. Banks also gave me a call before we left to bid farewell which was really nice of him. Really going to miss all the people we met. We went and checked our bags and then went through security.

We had a good amount of time to kill before our flight, so it was a perfect time to do some shopping. Found a lot of really neat stuff and stuffed my carry on. I even got one of those little cats that wave – maneki neko – at a ramen shop!

This is the most wonderful thing ever. It’s a superpower air conditioner! They’re all over the place at the airport in Bangkok and some had little wifi antennas and had speakers with flight info and announcements.

A hot dog? Yes, a hot dog. Some fast food sounded good and we hit Dairy Queen. Yes, they have Dairy Queen in Thailand. Dairy Queen, Pizza Hut, KFC, Domino’s and Burger King. I’m sure McDonald’s was lurking somewhere as well – but no Taco Bell! I think what was interesting was the presence of sesame seeds on the bun.

A pic of the overhead menu.

So when it was time, we went to our gate and waited. And waited. And waited. It was very close to boarding time and nobody showed up to open the gate. Everyone was looking at eachother a little confused. My sister went and tried to find info. Well, EVA Air didn’t feel like letting us all know that the gate was moved! So we ended up waiting here.

There was another air conditioner, but it wasn’t running… So eventually, they had everyone go to the left down a corridor – and onto the tarmac. We all got on a bus (hey wait – can we take a bus to Taipei?) and it took us down the airfield to a plane we boarded by stairs. Eventually, we took off. Now, the delay was pretty long. We were supposed to have about a 3 hour layover I believe in Taipei. Well, with the delay in Bangkok and then when we got to Taipei the pilot came on telling us we’d be circling since the airport was too busy – for 20 minutes! What was scary was that that announcement came up right when we were supposed to boarding our connecting flight! We eventually landed and just booked it as fast as we could through the checkpoint and to our gate. I figured worst case scenario, I do know a lot of instant noodle people in Taiwan, so all might not be so horrible if we end up having to wait for another flight. Well, we ran ran ran through Taoyuan airport and got to our gate. There we waited about an hour and got to board our plane. Phew!

The flight from Taipei to Seattle is a real brain-smasher. Our flight left Taipei around 11pm on the 20th. Then about 10 hour later, it arrived in Seattle at 7pm – on the 20th. But we finally arrived – got our bags, went rhgouh security (which was mind blowingly fast for US Customs) and we were off in our own direction – my sister to her car and I went and waited for my wife to pick me up. It was weird to be back; It’s a strange feeling; like Frodo Baggins after the long journey he took and then coming home, never looking at things the same way again.

I must say I recommend everyone visit Thailand; the people, the sights, the everything. It’s so different from here. I loved it! I love being back though as my wife and I are starting our next big adventure with a new baby on the way this summer. I want to thank my sister for accompanying me – if she hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to go. I want to thank everyone at Thai President Foods and President Rice products – everyone was so nice and kind to us. Also want to say thanks to all the great MAMA noodle distributor from Europe we had the fortune to meet – a great group of people! In conclusion, I would say that I found one thing in Thailand; harmony. Looking out the balcony way up high, I didn’t hear the sounds you might expect in a big US city – sirens and possibly gunshots or people yelling and honking. The traffic was crazy but it worked and people accepted that it was crazy. The way of the Thai is to give when you can, forgive transgressions and then to forget they even occurred. I think Western society could gain a great deal of insight from Thailand. Well, until my next adventure!

#1696: MAMA Cup Yentafo Tom Yum Mohfai

Today I’m posting the last of my series of travelogues covering my trip to visit the folks that manufacture MAMA noodles, Thai President Foods. Being a resolute fan of instant noodles from the world over, the ability to visit where they’re manufactured anywhere is really fascinating to me. This one in pack version was on my Top Ten Instant Noodle Of All Time 2014 Edition. I was lucky enough to be next to a convenience store where we stayed the bulk of our stay in Bangkok.

I got to visit 7-11! You might be wondering why that would be a big deal…

Now you understand? This is almost the whole aisle right across from the Slurpee machines. Just a huge selection of cup and bowl noodles. Of course, there’s a lot more to Thailand than 7-11, so have a look at my travelogue! Now, let’s learn a little about yentafo from Wikipedia:

Yong tau foo ( also spelled yong tao foo, yong tau fu, or yong tau hu yong tofu;yentafo in Thailand) is a Hakka Chinese food consisting primarily of tofu that has been filled with either a ground meat mixture or fish paste (surimi). Variation of this food include vegetables and mushrooms stuff with ground meat or surimi. Yong tau foo is eaten in numerous ways, either dry with a sauce or served as asoup dish.

It is commonly found in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, and in cities where there are large Teochew and Hokkien populations.

South East Asia

In South East Asia, the term “yong tau foo” is used to described a dish instead of the stuffed tofu item exclusively. The dish can contain a varied selection of food items, including young tau foo, fish balls, crab sticks, bitter melons, cuttlefish,lettuce, ladies fingers, as well as chilis, and various forms of fresh produce, seafood and meats common in Chinese cuisine. Vegetables such as bitter melon and chilis are usually filled with surimi. The foods are then sliced into bite-size pieces, cooked briefly in boiling broth and then served either in the broth as soup or with the broth in a separate bowl. The dish is eaten with chopsticks and a soup spoon and can be eaten by itself or served with a bowl of steamed rice, noodles, or Rice vermicelli . Another variation of this dish would be to serve it with laksagravy or curry sauce. Essential accompaniments are a spicy, vinegary chili sauce, originally made with red fermented bean curd and distantly similar in taste to Sriracha sauce, and a distinctive brown sweet bean sauce or hoisin sauce for dipping.

Alright! Let’s check out this yentafo mohfai flavor cup from MAMA!

Detail of the side panels (click image to enlarge). Not sure if it contains meat. To prepare, empty sachets into cup and fill to line with boiling water. Cover for 3 minutes. Stir and enjoy!

Detail of the lid (click image to enlarge).

An included fork!

The noodle block.

The dry soup base sachet.

A granular mixture.

A seasoned oil sachet.

Has a spicy scent.

A solid ingredients sachet.

Has a fish scent.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added kamaboko, shrimp, imitation crab, sliced squid, fish ball, tofu puff, red bell pepper, white onion, coriander and mint. The noodles have the standard wonderful gauge and chew of the MAMA wheat noodles that are in their cups. They have a nice texture and flavor to them. The broth is great – a nice color, spiciness and flavor that is a little sweet and very unique. Translates perfectly to a cup – perfect! 5.0 out of 5.0 stars.EAN bar code 8850987142710.

MAMA Instant Cup Noodles Yentafo Tom Yum Mohfal Flavour

This is a ‘making of’ video for the new TV commercials  for MAMA noodles – here’s a link to the commercials themselves.

The Ramen Rater’s Trip To Thailand: Day 5 – River Kwai & Goodbye

Day 1 * Day 2 * Day 3 * Day 4 * Day 5 * Day 6

Woke up at this amazing place – Heard a strange sound coming from outside and figured out it was the sound of the Buddhist monks chanting – it echoes everywhere and was quite ethereal. Decided to head down for some breakfast.

Here’s the lobby.

Strolled around and checked it out outside.

It kind of weird to realize you’re in the jungle, but it’s probably the same when people from here come to where I’m from and think ‘wow, I’m in the forest.’

After checking out the place we came back and met up with everyone. Then we took a cruise!

We rode on a big flat barge that was pulled by a little boat. This is the Kwai River.

The famous Bridge On The River Kwai.

I think I’m wrong on this one – it’s not Burma but Cambodia. By the way – notice the music in the background?

We stopped to visit the memorial to those who died building the bridge in WW2.

It was a pretty sad place to be honest. What was amazing though is that I ended up having a conversation about politics, global food sourcing and war with a guy from the UK and a guy from Scandinavia. Was really cool.

Staying out of the hot sun, playing with the parents’ iPad.

A boat full of partiers on the Mekong Delta.

They gave everyone these little tightly wrapped cold towels – was nice to put on your neck after walking to the war memorial – very hot day.

Talking noodles on the return trip.

A large golden Buddha on the shore of the Kwai river. There were quite a few amazing sights by the water – temples and statues everywhere.

We ended up where we began, at the Dheva Mantra resort to have some lunch.

Quite an array of fruit!

Had some slow cooked eggs, Chinese sausage, cucumber and rice. Then it was a long bus ride back to Bangkok.

For our last night in Bangkok, we ended up getting to stay in a corner suite on the 29th floor.

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The view was just amazing here – really something to behold.

We had a bit of time before the big farewell dinner, so we went and checked out one of the places I’ve been dying to go to in Asia – a 7-11. You might say ‘but why?’ Well…

Well, need I say more? Instant noodles of all kinds and brands – and mostly ones I’ve never seen before or have access to here. I decided to get a couple bags of them and hope they’d make it through US customs, but figured they wouldn’t. But, a worthy gamble since I don’t know when I’ll have the chance to try this again!

Was nice to finally meet Ms. Ratha (far left) – she also was very pivotal in setting up the trip. Gonna miss everyone!

The dinner was international style and they had the largest ham and beef roast I’ve ever seen. I went straight for the seafood – huge river prawn, squid, mussels and some asparagus. What was also amazing is that once you finish a beer, another one kept magically appearing. At one point I looked at my sister and said ‘watch this.’ I finished my beer, set it down and then started counting backward from 5. Right before I had a chance to say one, a hand appeared removing my empty glass and a full one appeared right there.

Everyone was presented a special commemorative framed piece of golden artwork – was really nice of them!

Right before going to sleep there was a knock at the door. Three of the ladies from Thai President Foods brought me this – mee crob! I had mentioned that I would love to try it while in Thailand. They actually went out and found me some! Was really nice! Imagine a Thai rice krispy treat, sticky and full of spices, peppers, and more. I’m really going to miss this – it’s been such an amazing trip.

#1695: MAMA Cup Shrimp Creamy Tom Yum

A few years back, I started noticing a lot of people leaving comments about MAMA Shrimp Creamy tom Yum. The first time I had it I wasn’t keen on it. They kept saying ‘dude, try it again – this stuff is awesome.’ So I did and was blown over – awesome stuff. I think the first time I tried it was a review in the low 100’s. It’s funny; after trying so many kinds, your tastebuds look for different things and your palate kind of matures. MAMA Shrimp Creamy Tom Yum was on the 2013 Top Ten Instant Noodle list. This cup was a neat one to find – I got it at a place I’ve wanted to visit for quite a while – an Asian 7-11.

During our trip to Thailand, we stayed at the Chatrium Hotel. My sister and I wanted to find some postcards to send back home, and the concierge there said to try the little shop a little ways down the street. Lo and behold, 7-11. They didn’t have postcards, but they had a lot of other amazing things…

Just take a gander at that! Right across from the Slurpee machines – which were Cherry and Coke flavored. It really reminded me of a 7-11 that you would see in the states, except it was way way more interesting. The huge amount of instant noodles was far larger than the candy aisle and about the same size as where the chips were. It’s crazy; I feel like some day I’ll have to move my family overseas just to stay for a while to review all the ones they have at 7-11’s! What more crazy is they have them all over Asia. I think one thing you’ll notice as well – almost all cups. Well, I’ve never reviewed the local Thai MAMA Creamy Shrimp Tom Yum variety, so let’s check it out!

Detail of the side panels (click image to enlarge). Note – I removed color and changed contrast for better readability. Not sure if it contains shrimp but pretty sure it does. To prepare, add in sachet contents and fill to line with boiling water. let steep for 3 minutes covered. Stir and enjoy!

Detail of the lid (click image to enlarge).

An included fork!

The noodle block.

The solid ingredients sachet.

A nice spicy and lemongrass scent.

A seasoned oil sachet.

Getting a shrimp scent here.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added white onion, red bell pepper, coriander and fish ball. The noodle have that wonderful MAMA wheat noodle character I’ve enjoyed in their other cup varieties – a slight crumble and a strong backbone. The broth brings all the flavor of the pack version of the shrimp creamy tom yum but some extra strength it seems. This is just what I wanted to eat tonight. The balance of lemongrass, shrimp flavor [and tiny shrimp which hydrated perfectly) and spiciness make an excellent shrimp creamy tom yum cup.  5.0 out of 5.0 stars. EAN bar code 8850987128400.

MAMA Cup Instant Noodles Shrimp Creamy Tom Yom…

An older MAMA TV spot featuring their cups as well as an app for iPhone – wish I had one – I dig noodle games!

The Ramen Rater’s Trip To Thailand: Day 3 – Seminar & Sightseeing

Day 1 * Day 2 * Day 3 * Day 4 * Day 5 * Day 6

Another breakfast at the Chatrium Hotel. Like I said in a previous post, I love two things about Asia – fish and fruit. Tiny bananas rock and so does watermelon. I really liked their pancakes – they make them with white cake batter – they go awesome with pineapple! Then there were these weird things that were hairy looking.

They’re called Rambutan.

I couldn’t remember it was called Rambutan in the video, but here’s how you eat it!

Then we all piled on these little boats and took a tour up the Chaophraya river and down some canals. Was great!

Here we go up one of the canals. Was really hot and humid but the breeze was nice.

We disembarked down the river and then got on a barge where we all got to sample a ton of different fruit!

I mean a ton! The variety was just amazing.

The light colored one with what looks like garlic cloves on the left is Mangosteen. Durian is considered the King of fruit – Mangosteen is considered the Queen. There’s also that leaf wrapped mango – it has sticky rice with it and is second to none. The large wedge on the right is pomelo. I also tried jackfruit, which I would liken to a distant ‘light’ cousin of durian.

We then had a nice lunch – a lot of differed foods featuring a new variety of noodle called Mendake. It’s a non-fried noodle that doesn’t come with seasoning but is for those who want to make their own dishes. They had a little ‘build your ramen bar’ thing where you’d get some noodles, some broth and some roast duck and then top it with all sorts of different thing – very nice! The picture here has some sushi and some river prawn that were wrapped in the Mendake noodles and deep fried – worked very nicely!

It was then time for the seminar! I was really excited to check this out. I find everything related to instant noodles fascinating – from the manufacturing to the development to the may they get from so far away to where they end up.

They had lots of display tables set up with all the lines by Thai Foods. This table fascinated me – they had varieties manufactured in Cambodia, Bangladesh, Hungary and Myanmar. I asked if there was any chance I could get some samples since each and every one you see here are varieties I’ve not reviewed. Sure enough, they were happy to oblige! I’ve been reviewing some of them as I’ve been doing this travelog!

We were shown to our seats to see this – such an honor! Wow!

Ms. Pojjanee is the Vice President at Thai President Foods. She sent me an email just after New Year’s asking if I’d like to come to Thailand and take part in this event. It was an honor to be mentioned like this – both myself and my sister are very grateful to have been invited here – we were honored to meet you and everyone else and will never forget this epic voyage!

Ms. Pojjana also played a big role in our attending the event. When we were making arrangements, I mentioned that my son’s birthday was in a week after I returned so was hoping to find him something Pokemon related in Thailand or on the way there. During the welcome dinner, she brought me a big stuffed Pikachu to give him! Thank you!

I think my favorite part of the seminar was the talk Mr. Songphop gave on food quality, food fraud and other compliance topics. I am very interested in these topics and his speech made me feel like I was in college again. Wish I could take a class from him on it. There are a lot of food standards that factories strive to get – ISO-9001 for example. Do you know what ISO-9001 is? Look it up. Don’t be surprised if you see instant noodle packaging with it prominently labeled on the back. Standards like this mean that the factory where the foods are manufactured have been rigorously checked for quality, cleanliness and more. I think a lot of the stigma of the instant noodle’s quality would be assuaged if consumers knew what these standards meant. Therefore, I plan on doing a special post about these standards in the near future to help educate folks on the requirements to attain them in hopes of educating people why they are so important. Thanks for the inspiration Mr. Songphop!

A group photo of everyone – I’m in the back!

After a bit of time to relax, we all met down by where the earlier boat tour started from and boarded a dinner cruise!

We got to check out a traditional dance and music!

The monkey.

…and the fish.

Here’s some video of the performance.

We ate wonderful corry, wrapped chicken in leaves and all things amazing. The views of Bangkok at night were amazing. Next stop was Asiatique.

It was explained to me that Asiatique is a night market made up of old East Asia Company warehouses. Lots of things to buy! I looked everywhere to find placemats and found this guy who had something that would work. Our friend Mr. Banks encouraged us to haggle. My sister got cornered by him – he was very interested in selling her a scarf after she bought a tapestry. I’ll never forget when he tried to sell her a scarf and exclaimed ‘it is the natural color of the goat ma’am. It is the highest quality.’ His t-shirt said ‘I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.’ Priceless. I found a few gifts to bring home and was quite happy with my haul.

We took tuk tuks to get back to the hotel. A tuk tuk has one wheel in the front and two in the back and disco lights and is a great experience – I had all I could do to keep myself whooping it up on the ride! That was really great!

Mr. Songphop and the guys from the Hungarian factory had to get back to work tomorrow, so we had to say goodbye even through my trip was only half over – great bunch of guys! My sister arrived in her tuk tuk a minute later and we headed up to get some shuteye. Another amazing day in Bangkok.

The Ramen Rater’s Trip To Thailand: Day 2 – Factory Tour & More

Day 1 * Day 2 * Day 3 * Day 4 * Day 5 * Day 6

After some sleep, we headed down to breakfast. The Chatrium had a big breakfast buffet which was really nice – I would say my favorite part was all the fruit . One thing I’ve found is that when you’re in Asia, you’ve got to eat a lot of two things: seafood and fruit. Because it’s good there. Damn good. I ended up trying some dim sum and some other interesting things.

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After breakfast, we met up with Mr. Banks. We headed off to the factory first thing. One thing we noticed around were lots of big purple billboards. As it turns out, April 2nd was the Princess’ birthday – click here to find out more.

On the way to the factory

So where is the noodle factory? Why Sriracha of course! What might surprise many is that the red rooster sauce everyone knows as Sriracha sauce isn’t super popular here.

The gate at Thai President Foods.

Entering the factory – everything smells like fried noodles! Was really nice.

Not sure but I’m guessing this is palm oil used to fry the noodles.

The first thing we did was watch a movie on this huge screen. It was all about Thai Foods and their products and company achievements.

Then we got to take a walk down the line and see the noodles being made! I can say first hand that this place was about as clean as it gets – standards are critically important in the noodles and food manufacturing business.

Walking down the line.

After the noodles come off the line, these two make sure they are in their little trays. If not, they tap them in.

Busy at the factory.

Packaging noodles.

Ms. Sumonrut, the RD & QA Manager and Mr. Songphop, the Regulatory Affairs Researcher took us around the R&D lab!

The R&D team!

They had homemade dishes and their instant version for me to try.

Talking food and trying it – really good stuff! It was an amazing tour I’ll never forget!

After the tour, we drove along the coast to Pattaya. This place was amazing; the smell of incense everywhere and this amazing temple by the sea.

We stopped at a seaside restaurant.

The food here was amazing – sea bass, morning glory in sauce, cashew chicken. We let Mr. Banks order figuring he’d know what was good – and he did!

Okay take a look at this. Take a long look. This sambal was like nothing I’ve tasted before – spicy from chillies, citrus hits from lemongrass, and a myriad of garlic and other herbs and spices. You grab some of the steamed sea bass and put a little of this on top. It was probably one of the best flavors I experienced in Thailand.

Some of the best squid I’ve ever had.

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Some neat street art.

On the way back to the hotel for a rest before the welcome dinner.

Amazing sunset out our hotel room’s window.

So Thai President Foods invites distributors every year for a special ‘agent’s meeting.’ It alternates by region every year and this year was the European Agents’ Meeting. People who distribute MAMA noodles all over Europe were there!

Everyone got to introduce themselves – here’s what I had to say (public speaking’s not my strong suit haha).

Got to meet some very nice people and have some tasty food! Jellyfish, crab, river prawn, prawn ball and my favorite…

This is duck – sliced very thin. You would take a pancake (the kind you would find with moo-shu pork) and put a slice of the duck on and one of these little bundles with spring onion and add some sauce, wrap it up and devour. Tasty fun stuff!

36th

The dinner was on the 36th floor of The Chatrium Hotel – and the view was spectacular. What a day!

The Ramen Rater’s Trip To Thailand: Day 1 – Departure & Arrival

THAITRIP-HEAD

Day 1 * Day 2 * Day 3 * Day 4 * Day 5 * Day 6

A few months ago, I received an email from Ms. Pojjanee over the Thai President Foods. They make MAMA instant noodles and I had recently done a Meet The Manufacturer series with them. It was just after New Year’s and she asked if my wife and I would like to visit their factories in Thailand! There was one hitch though – my wife would be in her third trimester of her pregnancy at the time of the trip and we both agreed that it might be a little too much for her unfortunately. My sister was happy to take her place if it was alright, and it was. With that, here we go on our trip!

So the first leg of our flight left from Seattle, Washington at 1:50am May 14th. A well-packed plane took off on time.

We were greeted to water bottles in our seats. I had no clue how many water bottles I’d bsee on our trip – good thing really; Asia’s a hot place this time of year!

On the little screen embedded in the seatback in front of us, you can watch movies as well as this little GPS animation – really amazing that most of the time we were at 35,000ft, going over 500mph and the temperature outside was usually 40 degrees below zero – that’s cold!

After about 12 hours, we arrived in Taipei at Taoyuan Airport. We had a couple hours to mill around so we checked things out.

Back in October on my trip through here on my way to Penang, the theme was large sculptures of insects and beetles on fruit. This time, little people with large eyeball heads was the theme.

A Hello Kitty airplane! I found out they have Hello Kitty neck pillows, Hello Kitty food and even Hello Kitty printed toilet paper on these.

The Hello Kitty airplanes have their own Hello Kitty gate, and nearby, a Hello Kitty breastfeeding room.

We opted to skip this one – sounded a little rough.

Next was our flight to Bangkok – we were glad that it was much shorter than the 12 hours it took to get to Taipei!

Here’s my sister on a travelator at Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok. Getting through security was really easy and the man who checked my passport even smiled at me at the end! We got our luggage and met the guys who took us to our hotel room to relax a bit before going out to have something to eat.

Bangkok’s street were bustling with motorbikes and cars. Hot, humid and vibrant.

We stayed at the Chatrium Hotel, which is next to the Chaophraya river, a main waterway through Bangkok.

The room was very spacious and comfortable – but the real perk was outisde on the balcony.

We both almost fell over when we saw this amazing view. We were on the 23rd floor and could see everything! We tried to relax a bit but basically ended up just staring out the window just saying ‘wow’ a lot.

A view from the balcony.

The guys picked us up again and took us to a restaurant on the river called Lotus. Here we have some creamy shrimp tom yum soup.

Crab curry.

I had mentioned that I was very interested in trying Durian. Durian in known as the King of Fruit!

It’s a tough one to describe – definitely has to be experienced firsthand. It’s texture is kind of like a banana mixed with the stringiness of what you’d find inside a pumpkin. It has a very creamy kind of texture, reminiscent of papaya and ice cream. The one thing is that it has a smell – very strong smell!

A video my sister took of me trying fresh Durian for the first time. Mr. Banks (across from me) seemed fascinated to see how I’d react to the flavor.

They gave us a little sealed tray of it to have after dinner in the room. Now, during my time in Langkawi I remember seeing a sign in the hotel there that said no pets or Durian was allowed. Back at the Chatrium Hotel, we were going up the elevator and I noticed it started to smell. When we got to the room, it became quite evident that the smell was quickly filling the room! We tried putting it into a couple plastic bags, but no dice – the King of Fruit couldn’t be stopped! We knew then it had to go away!

We went back down to the lobby where I asked how it should be disposed up – the concierge had a very disapproving look and said it wasn’t allowed in the hotel and that I should find a receptacle outside the hotel to put it. Here’s the little trash can we found a little ways down. It’s funny – I really liked Durian a lot in my mouth, but not so much in my nose! It was really nice to now have a Durian story with me now.

Finally it was time to go to sleep – a long journey to Bangkok was over and a week of seeing new places, people and sights await!

#1691: MAMA Instant Cup Noodles Minced Pork Flavour

I got this one during my trip to Thailand. I was absolutely stoked to find out there was a 7-11 right next to the Chatrium hotel in Bangkok! To many, this will be a ‘so what?’ but to me, visiting Asian 7-11 stores have been something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time.

You might say it looks like the ones we have here in the US, just with some Thai on the door, right?

Ah – a little different! This is right across from the Slurpee machine! How awesome is that? I think in the local 7-11 here there might be 3 or 4 instant noodles in the whole store. Anyways, one this that’s pretty awesome about this cup is that I got it home at all. Pork, chicken and beef isn’t usually let through customs – but they waved me through so I didn’t hassle them. In fact, it was the easiest re-entry ever coming home which rocked – I weas really tired! Let’s have a look at this popular minced pork cup from MAMA!

Here’s detail of the side panels (click image to enlarge). Contains pork. To prepare, open lid halfway and take everything out. Add in sachet contents and add boiling water to fill line. Re-cover for 3 minutes, stir and enjoy!

Detail of the lid (click image to enlarge).

An included fork!

The noodle block.

A dual sachet of soup base and chilli powder.

The chilli powder atop the soup base.

A seasoned oil sachet.

Has a kind of strong garlic and other herbs scent.

A sachet of solid ingredients.

Pork amongst other things.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added sauteed pork, white onion and red bell pepper and some coriander. The noodles are thin and have a decent backbone. The broth is thin with a nice pork taste and good spiciness. It’s got a decent oiliness to it as well. The bits of pork were a nice addition. 3.5 out of 5.0 stars. EAN bar code 8850987101472.

Instant MAMA Noodles Minced Pork Flavor – 10 Cups

Here’s a TV commercial for MAMA Minced Pork instant noodles.

Diverse Samples From MAMA!

At one point during my trip to Thailand earlier this month, there was a big seminar for all the European distributors of MAMA noodles. They had a table with all sorts of varieties I’d never seen, made in places I’d never reviewed varieties from. I asked if there was any chance I could get some of these samples, and they were happy to oblige – only problem was that my luggage was just stuffed! So they kindly offered to ship them to me and they arrived yesterday evening! I’m going to be doing a travelogue of my trip soon, and I think I’ll be reviewing some of these during that special series! Let’s have a look.

Pack varieties from Myanmar!

Cups from Myanmar!

These are snack noodles from Myanmar with Power Rangers on them! Awesome!

Pack varieties from Bangladesh!

Pack varieties from their new Hungarian factory!

Finally, some varieties from Cambodia! What makes all of these so special is that I’ve not reviewed any varieties from ANY of these countries before! Thank you so much to everyone at TF/MAMA! Looking forward to trying!

Travels: Off To Thailand!

Tonight, I begin a long journey to Thailand to visit Thai President Foods and President Rice Products. They’re best known for their MAMA line of instant noodle products! My wife Kit will be posting reviews I’ve already done ahead of time until my return. If you want to see what I’m up to on my trip, check out my instagram – follow theramenrater – or look at it here. I will be accompanied by my sister Sue as my wife is too far along in pregnancy to do the trip. When I get back, I’ll do a detailed travelogue as I did with last year’s Malaysia trip to visit MyKuali.