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The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2014 Edition

Welcome to the 2nd annual The Ramen Rater’s top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of All Time – the 2014 edition. In the last year, I’ve tried a slew of new varieties from Taiwan that were just amazing. Really discovered some great new products that I think everyone should try! What’s special this time is that I’m actually going to be in Taiwan during a layover on my trip to Malaysia! Figured I’d put this out a week early as it’ll be quite hard to post when I’m overseas. This is a list comprised of the best of the best of the 127 different varieties of instant noodles that I’ve tried that were made in Taiwan. As a side note – I’m also going to be traveling through Singapore and then my destination of Malaysia – there will be top ten lists for those two countries coming as well as soon as I’ve reviewed enough varieties to have a wide sampling. I’ve done just over 40 from each so far. With that, let’s have a look at the best noodles I’ve tried from Taiwan!

#10: A-Sha Dry Noodle Mandarin Noodle – Onion Oil Sauce

The noodles are exquisite in that they have a wonderful chew and just plain make me want more. The flavoring is top-notch in this one – a strong and sweet onion flavor with sesame and soy notes . A masterpiece of simplicity. #6 in 2013. Original review

#9: Deshome Aloe Noodle Red Onion & Sesame Sauce

Wide, flat noodles infused with aloe. The aloe is farmed by the company as well. They’re non-fried; dried in the hot sun! They have a freshness and texture that it really amazing. The red onion and sesame flavors intermingle nicely. #5 in 2013. Original review

#8: Amianda Noodle Tachia Dried Noodles – Rou Zhao Meat Sauce

The noodles are spectacular – elastic and perfect chewiness. The flavoring is awesome! Has a sweet and salty braised pork flavor that is just out of this world. #4 in 2013 Original review

#7: Unif Man Han Feast Sichuan Chili Eel Flavor Instant Noodle

The noodles are flat and broad. They have a nice quality to them; not too chewy but very good for a bowl noodle. The broth is rich with a good spiciness. The added bonus with this is the eel – it’s really good! Everything is rich and hearty and it’s definitely a feast to behold and consume. #3 in 2013. Original review

#6: Deshome Aloe Noodle With Basil Sauce

The basil flavoring goes extremely well; reminds me of marinara but different. I am continuously impressed by how Taiwanese noodles that I’ve tried recently don’t contain a huge list of ingredients but rather they take an avenue of simplicity that works so nicely. This one is excellent – bravo! #2 in 2013. Original review

#5: 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

#4: Deshome Sun Dried Noodle Chlorella Powder Noodle With Curry

This unique noodles really got me. First off, they’re green – really green! They had a nice texture and an amazing curry flavor that was truly great. As most of you know, I’m a big curry fan and it’s sweetness and rich taste were just spot on. Original review

#3: 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

#2: 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

#1: 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. The clear winner this year. Original review

Thanks for reading! By the way, please take a moment and vote for The Ramen Rater for Best Food Blog In Western Washington – it is highly appreciated! Thank you!

 

The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2013

Earlier this year, people from Taiwan voiced their displeasure with not being included in the 2013 Top Ten Instant Noodles Of All Time. They came in droves, shouting the praises of their beloved varieties. They were equally unhinged by having two varieties listed in my Bottom Ten Instant Noodles Of All Time 2013 list. Two were included there. After all of this outcry and seeing the pride and passion about their noodles, I thought it was a must to do a Top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2013 list; these people are easily as interested in noodles as much as I am! This new list encompasses all of the Taiwanese varieties that I’ve reviewed thus far. So, without further ado, I hope you will enjoy The Ramen Rater’s top Ten Instant Noodles Of All Time 2013 edition!

#10: Wu-Mu Beef Flavor Ramen (Mi Bo)

I tried these a couple years back and found them to be superb. The noodles are springy and high quality and the beef broth is deep, rich and really flavorful with a spiciness and sweetness that is truly excellent. Original review

#9: Wu-Mu Spicy Flavor Tomato Ramen

The noodles have a good consistency and character; a nice chew. The broth is interesting; there’s a nice spiciness that’s not overbearing, a sesame oil component and a tomato flavor. The tomato flavor doesn’t taste like ketchup but like real tomatoes. Original review here

#8: Ve Wong Instant Oriental Noodle Soup Artificial Sesame Chicken Flavor

A strong sesame oil infused broth along with nice chicken flavor were one thing, but the addition of a nice bit of ginger made this really enjoyable. This was a pleasant surprise. Original review here

#7: Wei Lih Jah Jan Mien Instant Noodles With Fried Soybeans Paste

So many people commented and were outraged that this didn’t make my regular top ten list. Jah Jan Mien is very unique in that you are presented with a saucy noodle and a bowl of broth. They pair really well; you have some noodles and then are drawn to slurp some soup.Original review here

#6: A-Sha Dry Noodle Mandarin Noodle – Onion Oil Sauce

The noodles are exquisite in that they have a wonderful chew and just plain make me want more. The flavoring is top-notch in this one – a strong and sweet onion flavor with sesame and soy notes . A masterpiece of simplicity. Original review here

#5: Deshome Aloe Noodle Red Onion & Sesame Sauce

Wide, flat noodles infused with aloe. The aloe is farmed by the company as well. They’re non-fried; dried in the hot sun! They have a freshness and texture that it really amazing. The red onion and sesame flavors intermingle nicely. Original review here

#4: Amianda Noodle Tachia Dried Noodles – Rou Zhao Meat Sauce

The noodles are spectacular – elastic and perfect chewiness. The flavoring is awesome! Has a sweet and salty braised pork flavor that is just out of this world. Original review here

#3: Unif Man Han Feast Sichuan Chili Eel Flavor Instant Noodle

The noodles are flat and broad. They have a nice quality to them; not too chewy but very good for a bowl noodle. The broth is rich with a good spiciness. The added bonus with this is the eel – it’s really good! Everything is rich and hearty and it’s definitely a feast to behold and consume. Original review here

#2: Deshome Aloe Noodle With Basil Sauce

The basil flavoring goes extremely well; reminds me of marinara but different. I am continuously impressed by how Taiwanese noodles that I’ve tried recently don’t contain a huge list of ingredients but rather they take an avenue of simplicity that works so nicely. This one is excellent – bravo! Original review here

#1: 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. Original review here

Well, there’s the list! I hope you all enjoy it! By the way, I’ve been nominated for a contest for best food website where I live – please vote for The Ramen Rater here! Thank you In the next year, I’ll be reviewing many more Taiwanese varieties!

Meet The Manufacturer: #1097: Amianda Noodle Homely Dried Noodles – Sesame Paste

Today, we have the last of the Amianda noodles. I’d like to thank Amianda for doing the interview and sending the great samples! Sesame paste – let’s get to it.

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

The noodle block.

Sauce packet.

Has a soy scent.

The sesame paste packet.

Has a peanut and sesame scent.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added a little Urashima Sesame & Salt furikake. The noodles are nice – elastic and a little chewy. The flavor is that of sesame paste with a nice peanut butter after taste. 3.75 out of 5.0 stars.

<iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/zhETS4fdU0w” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>Here’s how to make your own sesame paste!

Meet The Manufacturer: #1096: Amianda Noodle Tachia Noodles – Hot & Spicy Sauce

As we wind down this spotlight on Amianda, we arrive at a hot and spicy variety of their Tachia noodles. Let’s have a look.

The back of the package (click image to enlarge).

The noodle block.

The sauce packet.

Has a soy scent.

The second liquid packet – presumably the spicy one.

Oh yeah – this stuff is spicy!

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added a fried egg with a little Louisiana Hot Sauce and some beef, garlic and Vidalia sweet onion sauteed with soy sauce. The noodles are great – nice elasticity, chew and texture. The flavor is salty, spicy and soy. A pretty good flavor and texture. 3.5 out of 5.0 stars.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/bpWp9i-sow8″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>Here’s some footage of part of a night market in Taipei.

Meet The Manufacturer: #1095: Amianda Noodle Tachia Noodles – Fried Shallot

Today it’s fried shallot. Shallots are really quite enjoyable; like an onion and a garlic had a child – strong flavor! Let’s give this one a try!

The back of the packaging (click image to enlarge).

The noodle block.

The sauce packet.

Has a soy sauce scent.

The fried shallot packet.

Wow – pungent shallot!

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added roast beef and Vidalia sweet onion sauteed in a little Worcestershire sauce. The noodles were really good – texture and chew were great. The flavoring wasn’t as I expected though; the shallot taste was there, but almost seemed burnt. 3.25 out of 5.0 stars.

Scallion Pancakes in Taiwan – man that soiunds really good!

Meet The Manufacturer: #1094: Amianda Noodle Thin Noodles – Sesame Oil

Thin noodles! Let’s have a look.

The back of the package (click image to enlarge).

They’re not kidding – these are really thin and wispy.

The sauce packet.

Has a soy scent.

The sesame oil packet.

Has a sesame oil scent.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added sauteed beef, Vidalia sweet onion, red bell pepper and minced garlic with a little Worcestershire sauce. The noodles are great – fluffy and soft with a comfort food texture. The flavor is really mystical; it’s got the sesame oil there, but then there’s this flavor hovering around – like cinnamon or pumpkin spice – not sure what it is but it’s really great! 4.25 out of 5.0 stars.

In Taiwan, they have these ‘Night Markets’ – tons of different sellers of absolutely everything from merchandise to food. This is the Fong Jia Night market.

Meet The Manufacturer: #1093: Amianda Noodle Hakka Flat Noodles – Satay Sauce

I don’t know what made me do it, but I felt a need to consult Wikipedia on satay and Taiwan. So I did and found this:

Shacha sauce (Chinese: 沙茶; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: sa-te; also spelled sa cha sauce), or paste is a Chinesecondiment primarily used in Fujian, Teochew, and Taiwanese cuisines. It is made from soybeanoil, garlic, shallots, chilis, brill fish, and dried shrimp.[1] It has a savory and slightly spicy taste.

The ingredient has multiple uses:

  • as a base for soups
  • as a rub for barbecued meats
  • as a seasoning for stir fry dishes
  • as a component for dipping sauces, for example as used in hot pot meals

Shacha sauce is also known as sa-te sauce in the Hokkien dialect, reflecting its origin back to the satay sauce introduced by expatriate Chinese returning from South East Asia. It is however quite different from the peanut-based satay sauce popular in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore.

Was glad I did – I thought that this might be more of a chicken or beef kind of flavor, but I would’ve been completely wrong. So, satay or shacha, here it is!

The back of the package (click image to enlarge). May contain seafood.

The noodle block. Note that these are hakka noodles – wide!

The sauce packet.

The sauce has a soy sauce scent.

 

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added Vidalia sweet onions. The noodles are broad and have such a nice texture – so like an egg noodle but not eggy! The flavor is light; and has a seafood taste that’s very enjoyable. Reminds me of shrimp shumai. 4.5 out of 5.0 stars.

A fish market in Taiwan.

Meet The Manufacturer: #1092: Amianda Noodle Tachia Dried Noodles – Rou Zhao Meat Sauce

Today, we have the Tachia noodles again but with rouzao. What is rouzao? Wikipedia mentioned that it involves minced pork (Amianda mentioned this one includes it in the sauce) and minced pork rice is the common rouzao:

While Minced pork rice is referred to as one important icon in typical Taiwanese folk cuisine, the variety of methods to customize flavors is so wide that it creates considerable differences between regions. In southern Taiwan, where people name it by the sauce “bah-sò-pn̄g (肉燥飯)” instead of the meat, Minced pork rice is preferably served with pork with less fat. People in the north of Taiwan favor a greasier version of meat sauce with rice.

In southern Taiwan, while “bah-sò-pn̄g” is seen on the menu indicating Minced pork rice, “ló͘-bah-pn̄g (滷肉飯)” remains on the very same menu, referring to another dish where braised pork belly covers the rice. The same rice with braised pork belly is known as “khòng-bah-pn̄g (焢肉飯)” in northern Taiwan.

Minced pork rice can also be found in China, and a wider selection of vegetables such as corn is eaten along with it.

Sounds good – let’s check it out.

Back of the package (click image to enlarge). Contains pork.

The noodle block.

This time there’s no info on the sauce packet.

A little thicker than the past few. Has a really nice sweet pork scent.

Andy joined me for a bowl of noodles.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added a fried egg and ham I minced, garlic, sesame oil and a little soy sauce and sauteed for a few minutes. The noodles are spectacular – elastic and perfect chewiness. The flavoring is awesome! Has a sweet and salty braised pork flavor that is just out of this world. 5.0 out of 5.0 stars.

Video on how to make Rou Zao Mian – kind of what we have here. Mian means noodles.

Meet The Manufacturer: #1091: Amianda Noodle Homely Dried Noodles – Original Flavor

Today I’ll be reviewing a thinner gauge noodle by Amianda. I thought it was funny that they were called ‘homely,’ as here in the US homely usually means ugly, but I think this time it’s meant to be more along the lines of homemade or home-style.

The back of the package (click image to enlarge).

The noodle block. A very thin gauge.

The liquid sauce packet.

In the provided literature, it says ‘the most classic flavor of all, sauce with hand-made soy sauce can serve you the original sweetness of noodle.’

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added a fried egg and some ham. The noodles are very thin and have a nice elasticity and texture. The flavoring while light has a very nice soy flavor and sweetness. These are excellent! 4.0 out of 5.0 stars.

The differences in soy sauces around Asia are discussed, centering in Taiwanese soy sauce.

Meet The Manufacturer: #1090: Amianda Noodle Dried Noodles – Spicy Sauerkraut

Today it’s a spicy sauerkraut – kind of interesting to see sauerkraut as a popular addition in Taiwanese noodles, but this isn’t the first time I’ve seen it – I think it’s about the fourth. Anyways, let’s give it a look!

The back of the packaging (click image to enlarge).

The noodle block. They look about the same as the Tachia variety I reviewed for #1088.

A sauce packet.

Has a nice sesame oil scent.

Another liquid packet – the spicy component perhaps?

Yep – has some heat!

The sauerkraut pouch.

A decent amount and has a nice scent.

 

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added green onions. The noodles are excellent – nice texture and chew. The flavoring is a little oily and bland. There’s a bit of spiciness there. The sauerkraut’s kind of interesting – a nice crunch to it but not a strong flavor. Left wanting a little more flavor. 3.25 out of 5.0 stars.

About making sauerkraut.

Meet The Manufacturer: #1089: Amianda Noodle Hakka Flat Noodles – Fried Bean Sauce

Today it’s hakka noodles, a variety I have only very recently found out about. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the Hakka people in Taiwan:

In Taiwan, Hakka people comprise about 15 to 20% of the population and are descended largely from Guangdong immigrants: they form the second-largest ethnic group on the island.

Taiwan’s Hakka population concentrates in Hsinchu City and Hsinchu County, Miaoli County, and around Chungli in Taoyuan County, and Meinong District in Kaohsiung City, and in Pingtung County, with smaller presences in Hualian and Taitung County. In recent decades[when?] many Hakka have moved to the largest metropolitan areas, including Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung.

Many people in Taiwan are of mixed Hoklo, Hakka, and Taiwanese aborigines heritage. Approximately half of the population of Hakka in Taiwan also speaks Taiwanese Hokkien, and it is highly likely[original research?] that many Taiwanese-speaking households descend from Hakka families in Taiwan who lost their language a few generations back.

The Taiwanese variant of the Hakka language resembles other variants of Hakka spoken in other parts of the world, but differs vastly in terms of pronunciation due to the influence of Taiwanese Hokkien.[citation needed] Therefore it is difficult, though not impossible, for speakers of other Hakka variants to understand Taiwanese Hakka.[citation needed]

So these people are known for their simple cuisine and thus, the Hakka  noodle. With that, let’s check this one out!

The back of the package (click image to enlarge).

The noodles are wide a a little thick.

The fried bean sauce packet.

Has an interested scent – beans are what come to mind.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added chopped ham, Vidalia sweet onion and minced garlic to a little soy sauce and sauteed and a fried egg. The noodles have a very nice chew and perfect texture. The flavoring is nice with a little heartiness. 4.25 out of 5.0 stars.

Hakka Performance by Vancouver Taiwanese Hakka Association

Meet The Manufacturer: #1088: Amianda Noodle Tachia Dried Noodles – Peppery

To start things off, we have tachia noodles. It sounds like Tachung county is where a city called Tachia is, so I’m guessing this is a local version. Anyways, let’s check ’em out!

Back of the package (click image to enlarge).

The noodle block. This is really interesting as it is like the noodles are short and woven in a lattice; the whole thing can flex a little.

The peppery sauce.

Has a peppery and slightly acidic scent.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added beef and Vidalia sweet sauteed with some soy sauce. The noodles are nice – flat and a little broad with great texture and chew. The flavoring is that of a very strong black pepper – to the point of being hot and spicy. 3.75 out of 5.0 stars.

A dragon dance that spans 330km in 8 days!