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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!

Friday Video: Instant Noodles Being Digested: So What?

You’ve probably seen the video they’re talking about in this news clip before. Not only that, you’ve probably seen many, many news articles about how horrible this is. I got an email yesterday about the video asking about my opinion. So here goes.

Remember when you were a kid and another kid asked you, ‘do you want seafood?’ You answered ‘huh?’ and then something happened. The other kid, who was chewing something in their mouth would open wide and stick out their tongue with the chewed food on it and exclaim ‘see? Food!’ What was your reaction? Disgust.

This video seems to be the viral equivalent. I’m sure there are a lot of foods that don’t process very quickly in the gut – kale, for instance. Not only that, I’m sure 99% of what we eat, however appetizing to begin with, looks really different and exceedingly unpalatable when churning in our stomachs. To be honest, I’m more disgusted by the guy who had to get the camera-pill out when it was ejected from the other end and plug it into a USB port…

Anyways, the reason this video went viral wasn’t because of the fact that it was instant noodles or that it was something internal and ubiquitously considered ‘gross.’ These are both things that are easily found on the Internet with ease. What happened here was the grip of ‘clickbait.’ Clickbait is a link that begs you to click it with a catchy title; something like ‘Just Wait Until You See What This 5 Year Old Does With A Diaper That Has Mothers everywhere Up In Arms.’ Click, click, click. Who cares if it’s true or accurate, it’ll get you over to their site – so you can see the adverts on their page. Page views equal money folks, that’s just the way it is.

So when you see ‘A Scary Look At The Digestion Of Instant Ramen Noodles Inside Your Stomach – A Deadly Ingredient You Need To Know About,’ you click. This one had a fairly well done article that went into the dangers of TBHQ, however it doesn’t cite exactly how much TBHQ is in the average brick of instant noodles, just that large amounts of it wasn’t good for a lab rat.

I like the fact that the study hasn’t gotten the researcher caught up in a crazy buzz really, especially when he says it doesn’t prove anything and he still eats instant noodles. It’s funny how the source of the video isn’t the source of all the hype and buzz. But notice how at the beginning of the news clip it has a big banner saying ‘Health Alert.’ Keep watching – you’ll see commercials soon.

Return From Penang, Malaysia!

We have returned from our journey to Penang, Malaysia!! Our flight from Taipei, Taiwan arrived in Seattle around 7pm last night. This is a picture of where we were waiting for our shuttle to the parking light where we left our car. The flight left at 11pm Taiwan time, which is the same for Malaysia too – and then arrived the same day but 4 hours earlier! So we got back 15 hours all said and done which was kind of odd – time traveling! Over the next week starting Monday, I am going to do a new daily noodle review, and then a post highlighting everything of that day during our trip. At the end, I’ll be reviewing the new MyKuali Tom Yum instant noodle – my 1,500th review. Stay tuned!

#608: Koka Instant Non-Fried Noodles Spicy Black Pepper Flavour

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Hadn’t tried it before and at under $3.00 for the four pack, how could I resist?

Here’s the front of a single pack. I have had many of the other varieties of Koka before, but spicy black pepper just sounds so good!

Look at those stats – 2g of fat and just barely over 1000mg of sodium. This is pretty nice stuff (click image to enlarge).

This packet contains powdered soup base and oil.

As you can see, the base has a nice pepper color to it.

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A couple reviews back, I had some Batcheors Super Noodles Low Fat Chicken & Herb flavor from England. They had a little more fat in them and had a smaller block. The noodles in the Batchelors weren’t really good to taste before cooking; more like trying to crunch uncooked spaghetti. The Koka noodles are virtually the same texture as fried noodles when uncooked. Also, the noodles are actually lighter as far as weight. Thought that was neat.

After you cook the noodles, you sprinkle this garnish on top. It’s a bunch of freeze dried veggies. I really like how it mentions that it could be different depending on the season – amazing.

Click image to enlarge. . I added a couple fried eggs. So there’s not a lot of broth in this one – it all kind of turns into this wonderful gravy kind of sauce. The noodles are excellent. The broth-like sauce is excellent. The garnish is wonderful. This is going on my top ten list: the sauce makes it reminiscent of Sapporo’s Chow Mein. The garnish however allows it to stand so far out from any other instants I’ve ever tried; a real smorgasbord of flavors. The noodles themselves are of top-notch quality. The sauce is nice and peppery but not overly so. This does not come across as a low-fat meal in any way shape or form. This is grubbin! What a lucky pick today! 5.0 out of 5.0 stars! UPC bar code 8888056000234. I can’t recommend it higher! They don’t have this one just yet – but you can be notified when they have it. Check it out here.

This is probably one of the funniest advertising campaigns for noodles as well.

This is a Punjabi video of a song called “Koka.” Cultures can be so different – pretty awesome!

#413: Souper Brand Japanese Style Alimentary Paste Chow-Mein With Soup Stock

So we were in the Asian grocery today and looking around on the fresh noodle aisle. I’ve done all the varieties they had of the Myojo Udon in the past, but there’s quite a few here I haven’t done before too, so here we go!

Underneath, the noodles. Above, the seasoning packet. So this stuff is a different deal – you put a little oil into a pan, fry up the noodles for about three minutes and then throw in the seasoning and cook for maybe another minute and voila!

Click image to enlarge. The package recommended adding veggies and meats, but I wanted to see how it fared on its own (plus I didn’t have the time to do either veggies nor meats). So this stuff is awesome – much like Sapporo Ichiban’s Chi Mein except it doesn’t have the little powder seaweed (green laver) packet. I liked this stuff a lot! 4.25 out of 5.0 stars! It was truly SOUPER!

Couldn’t find anything chow mein commercial other than this…

Gordon Ramsay making Dim Sum! AWESOME!!!

#392: Nissin Yakisoba Noodles Karashi Flavor

I have to say, when I see a box like this with any kind of mayonnaise-like stuff going on, I get really hungry!

Click image to enlarge. So what you do is peel it back, yank the packets out, fill with boiling water, wait, then on the top left there’s a spout which opens up and you drain via that.

So the little top packet is the goopy stuff and the bottom one is the powder base.

After the noodles were drained, you put the powder on and stir vigorously.

Click image to enlarge. Finally, you decorate the meal with the mayonnaise packet. So there’s a little cabbage which re-hydrates perfectly. The noodles are just awesome with the flavoring. Slap that little bit of wasabi infused mayonnaise on top and you’ve got a winner. I love this kind of thing! 5.0 out of 5.0 stars!

Konichi-wa! Frances ix the man!

Yeah I’ve eaten this before

#391: Myojo Hyoubanya no Chukasoba Japanese Style Noodles Oriental Flavor

So on our recent trip to the new Bellevue Uwajimaya, we got a 5-pack of this stuff. My lady Kit really enjoyed the Myojo Charmela stuff so I thought maybe this would be something she would like too.

One packet.  A sleek and awesome packet of Japanese-ness.

The powder of the packet in the bowl awaiting the noodles.

Click image to enlarge. Wow that sure looks lovely! A couple of eggs and some baked chicken breast with salt and pepper. The soup was amazingly good – had nice fish flavor. The noodles were robust and had some good chewiness. Altogether, it was a fine dinner. 4.25 out of 5.0 stars.

Where To Get It: Uwajimaya Seattle

So this is where I originally started getting the instant noodles. My folks took me here when I was very young as a regular destination for food.

Uwajimaya
600 5th Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98104-3898
(206) 624-6248

I remember when it used to be in a different location about ten years ago but now it’s all redone and very snazzy.

They have all sorts of neat things from Japan in there – but also from all over the world. They’re a big grocery and also have a section with kitchenware and books and a food court and a bookstore.

She found the treats! Hello Kitty Yan Yan! They’ve got a bazillion different interesting little Japanese candies and bubble gums and other things.

Even foods that contain a little bit of you!

Here’s the ramen aisle. Bowls on the left, packets on the right. Pretty excellent variety although I remember it being a bit better in the past. They used to have Nissin Chikin ramen there but no more. This place is excellent! Spend $7 to validate parking for an hour, $15 for two hours. Two hours can be spent in here easily!