I picked this one up at the 99 Ranch Market in Edmonds, Washington a few weeks back. I hadn’t seen this Baijia variety before and I thought the graphic on the front of someone sleeping and dreaming about fancy cars, a home and lots of money was really quite compelling.
Let’s face it. Instant noodles aren’t a rich man’s meal, nor were they designed to be at the outset. They were designed to be a quick and easy to prepare meal for the masses. I find it interesting, however not surprising, to see the truth in the image on the package. How many packets of instant noodles have been enjoyed during long hours studying in colleges and universities? In times of meager means, even in prisons?
Today’s variety is from the Sichuan region of China, known for it’s strong flavors and history. Let’s crack this bag open and give it a try!
Sichuan Baijia Broad Noodle Sour Soup Fish Flavor – China
Here’s the back of the package (click to enlarge). Looks to be meat free but check for yourself. To prepare, add contents to a bowl and add 600ml boiling water. Cover for 6 minutes. Finally, stir and enjoy!
The noodle block.
The dry base sachet.
Seasoning and vegetables.
The liquid base sachet.
Thick and oily.
Finished (click to enlarge). Added spring onion, tofu and Salad Cosmo mung bean sprouts. The broad noodle is perfect here – hot too chewy and not too thin. The broth is like a torrential downpour of strong taste – Sichuan peppercorn heat and an almost lemony hit to it with a good oiliness. The included vegetables were just right. 4.5 out of 5.0 stars. EAN bar code 6926410332767.
Here’s another left over from the Tat Hui/KOKA Meet The Manufacturer series. Indeed, I’ve been really enjoying their Creamy Soup line. Actually, it’s not just an enjoyment, but a fascination – is it a soup with noodles or a noodles with soup? It’s kind of more the former rather than the latter as it comes with a pack of crushed noodles.
I don’t think I’ve seen instant noodles presented this way before. Not only that, the soup is usually quite creamy and thick. I’m very curious how this hot and sour will be; I have a feeling it will be quite different from what one would find in Chinese restaurants in the United Sates – which is great! Let’s see what Wikipedia has to say about hot and sour soup –
Hot and sour soup is a variety of soups from several Asian culinary traditions. In all cases, the soup contains ingredients to make it both spicy and sour.
In China, “Hot and sour soup” is a Chinese soup claimed variously by the regional cuisines of Beijing and Sichuan as a regional dish. The Chinese hot and sour soup is usually meat-based, and often contains ingredients such as day lily buds, wood ear fungus, bamboo shoots, and tofu, in a broth that is sometimes flavored with pork blood. It is typically made hot (spicy) by red peppers or white pepper, and sour by vinegar.
Authentic is the road I like to travel. Let’s check out this creamy soup from KOKA!
KOKA Creamy Soup Hot & Sour Fish Flavor – Singapore
Detail of the side panels (click to enlarge). Contains fish and crustacea. To prepare, add in soup sachet and then noodle sachet. Add 300ml boiling water and stir. Let steep covered for 5 minutes. Finally, stir and enjoy!
Finished (click to enlarge). Added 3 Dodo fish balls. This one was really interesting. First, it had a kind of acidic and sweet and spicy thing going on that worked extremely well. The broth was indeed thick – kind of like what I have tried in American Chinese restaurants, but just seemed a bit cleaner. The crushed noodle hydrated very well and works perfectly. The included veggies and garnish are fresh and just right. Another great creamy soup – 5.0 out of 5.0 stars. EAN bar code 8888056833290.
I’ve been checking out a few of these Baijia varieties recently, and they’ve been interesting. When I first started reviewing, I generally found the flavors and varieties to be pretty horrid, but after a few years , I’m starting to come around. Pickled cabbage and fish, eh? Well, let’s have a look.
The distributor/import sticker (click to enlarge). Looks to be meat free but check for yourself.
The back of the package (click to enlarge). To prepare, add package contents to a bowl. Add 500ml boiling water and cover for 5-6 minutes. Stir and enjoy!
Sweet potato vermicelli.
A dry seasonings sachet.
A very bright white mixture.
The liquid soup base.
Thick like a sauce.
The vegetables sachet.
A decent quantity.
Finished (click to enlarge). Added spring onion. The vermicelli hydrated well – I cut twice with kitchen scissors to make it more manageable with a fork. They’re a little slimy but have a nice gauge and feel to them. The broth on the other hand wasn’t really my thing. Although spicy, the ‘pickled’ aspect was just a bit too acidic. 1.5 out of 5.0 stars. EAN bar code 6926410392563.
Finished (click to enlarge). Added kamaboko, narutomaki, crab stick, white onion, fishball and crab claw fishcake. The noodles were a little on the soggy side, but not too bad. The broth has a kind of lemon and sichuan chilli flavor to it – not bad as well. The peas or beans that came with it did not hydrate in the time allotted and were terrible. 3.0 out of 5.0 stars. EAN bar code 6920208934263.
Here’s Master Kong’s Braised Beef big cup – this is excellent stuff!
This one has been a little tricky to figure out. A lot of the time, distributor stickers aren’t all that helpful; they might say the flavor, but the true name can be elusive. After looking around, I found ‘boiled fish’ and ‘spicy fish’ and ‘hot fish’ (hot fish being the one on the sticker). I think however Sichuan might be in there somewhere, so I included it. As for the lady on the package and the folks on the back, I’m pretty sure they’re involved in some kind of television program in China. Anyways, let’s have a look!
Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge). Guessing it contains fish. To prepare, add noodle block and liquid sachets to 500ml boiling water and cook for 4 minutes. Stir and enjoy!
The noodle block.
Dry base sachet.
Dry powder and vegetables.
The first of two liquid sachets.
A thick paste.
A spicy liquid sachet?
Definitely has a Sichuan chilli scent.
Finished (click image to enlarge). Added sliced fish cake, mung bean sprouts, white onion and coriander. The noodles are plentiful and of good quality. The broth has a spiciness that is unmistakably Sichuan pepper. Definitely has a Chinese fish dish flavor to it as well. The smattering of supplied vegetables came out alright as far as hydration goes. 3.75 out of 5.0 stars. EAN bar code 6920208934287.
Here’s Master Kong’s Braised Beef big cup – this is excellent stuff!
Looks like some kind of video about blind testing Master Kong bowls and figuring out which kind is which! Looks like fun!
I got some samples the other day to try! This is Hao Way’s new Penang Laksa. They’re very excited about it, purporting it to the the very first instant Penang Laksa whose paste contains grilled fish in the mixture. Sounds pretty good to me! Let’s give it a try.
Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge). Contains fish. To prepare, Add noodles to 350ml boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Add in paste sachet contents and stir. Enjoy!
The noodle block.
The paste sachet.
The paste has a strong fish scent.
Finished (click image to enlarge). Added tuna, white onion, cucumber and tomato. The noodles were good – nice gauge and chew. The broth was alright. It definitely had a strong fish taste which wasn’t entirely to my liking, however the richness of the broth’s other flavors were quite nice. I think this was a case of I just am not a big fan of this kind of fish flavor. I think many would enjoy it, however. 3.5 out of 5.0 stars. EAN bar code 9555730400039.
Penang Heritage Food: Yesterday’s Recipes for Today’s Cook – (from Amazon) – Penang is one of the food capitals of Malaysia. However, over time, many Penang heritage dishes have been modified so much that what is served today is just a pale image of the original. The tastes of home-cooked dishes have not been faithfully reproduced from one generation to the next. Similarly, street- food and restaurant recipes have not been faithfully passed from a retiring chef to his successor. This book preserves the Penang heritage food from days of yore, covering home- cooked food, street food and restaurant dishes. Meticulously researched, every recipe is prefaced with heritage information and, together, they trace Penang heritage food to its Thai, Hokkien, Hainanese, Indian and Malay roots. Penang Heritage Food won a national award for best culinary history in the World Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.
Hao Way also makes a Penang White Curry noodle, and here is an advertisement for that product.
The first thing you’re going to say is ‘porridge isn’t ramen.’ Well aware of that, dude. Then again, these often show up on the instant noodle aisle of an Asian grocery and as such, I thought it could use some attention. This is a Vietnamese seafood porridge, much like what they call congee in China. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about Vietnamese rice porridge:
In Vietnam, rice congee, called cháo (Vietnamese: cháo), is sometimes cooked with pandan leaves or Asian mung bean. In its simplest form (plain rice porridge, known as cháo hoa), it is a food for times of famine and hardship to stretch the rice ration. Or, as is especially common among Buddhist monks, nuns and lay people, it can be a simple breakfast food eaten with pickled vegetables or fermented tofu (chao).
Despite its humble ubiquity among the poor, it is also popular as a main entrée when cooked with a variety of meats. For example, cháo gà is cooked with chicken, garlic, and ginger. The rice porridge is cooked in the broth in which a whole chicken had been boiled, and once the chicken is cooked, the meat is sliced and layered on a bed of shredded, raw cabbage, sliced scallions, and drizzled with a vinegar-based sauce, to be eaten as a side dish to the porridge. Other combinations include cháo vịt (duck porridge), which is cooked in the same fashion as the chicken porridge, but with duck. Cháo lòng heo is made with lòng heo (a variety of offal from pork or duck with sliced portions of congealed pork blood). Cháo is typically served with quẩy on the side.
Cháo bầu is a congee containing pig kidney (bầu dục lợn). A specialty of the Hóc Môn district in Ho Chi Minh City, it is typically eaten in rural areas of southern Vietnam. Well-known cháo bầu vendors include Cánh Đồng Hoang, Cô Ba Nữ, and Sáu Quẻn.
It is also common to eat cháo during an illness, as it is believed the porridge is easy to digest while being fortifying. For such purposes, the cháo is sometimes cooked with roasted white rice, giving the porridge broth a more nuanced body and a subtle, nutty flavor. In some parts of Vietnam, local customs call for making cháo as offerings for the “wandering souls” during the Buddhist Vu Lan summer feast.
On our flight back from Taiwan last month, we had some choices as to what to eat as an in-flight meal. The last thing I had was pork porridge, basically congee. What it had as a condiment or topping was a package of fish floss. Fish floss is basically dried fish which is pulverized with a little salt and sugar. It’s pretty much a powdered thing. Anyways, Kit didn’t want to try hers and so I ended up with her package of it. I’ve been trying to find some reason to use it before it expired and this looks like it will work nicely; seafood porridge, fish floss. Sounds right, yeah? Let’s have a look at this one from Vietnam.
An import sticker from the back of the package (click image to enlarge). Contains seafood.
Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge). To prepare, add contents of package to bowl as well as sachet contents. Add 350ml boiling water and cover for 3 minutes. Stir well and enjoy! These are the instructions given, but in the icons of how to prepare, it shows a sachet with bits of matter exiting from it, making me thing perhaps one could add the vegetable sachet at the end, however they wouldn’t hydrate as well as when steeped.
The uncooked porridge; basically looks like flaked rice.
The soup base sachet.
Definitely has a seafood scent.
An oil sachet.
Has an onion scent.
The vegetables sachet.
Looks to be green onion.
Finished (click image to enlarge). Added fish floss, coriander and mung bean sprout. The porridge is like a thin oatmeal – I heard a woman asking a chef if she could have thicker congee and the chef mentioned it just depends on the amount of water you add. I went with the prescribed 350ml on the package. The flavor is nice – a tasty seafood flavor. The vegetable bits hydrated well and included coriander which had an exceptionally good flavor. 3.25 out of 5.0 stars.EAN bar code 8934561210566.
Here’s Vifon’s bowl version of their fish flavored porridge.
I thought today I’d diverge from the yakisoba for something with a broth. Chanpon is great stuff in my experience so far. Pork and seafood – can’t beat that! Here’s what wikipedia has to say about chanpon –
Champon (ちゃんぽん Chanpon?), also known as Chanpon, is a noodle dish that is a regional cuisine of Nagasaki, Japan. Due to the inspiration from Chinese cuisine, it is also a form of Japanese Chinese cuisine. Champon is made by frying pork, seafood and vegetables with lard; a soup made with chicken and pig bones is added. Ramen noodles made especially for champon are added and then boiled. Unlike other ramen dishes, only one pan is needed as the noodles are boiled in the soup. Depending on the season and the situation, the ingredients differ. Hence the taste and style may depend on the location and time of year.
Champon was first served by Shikairō (四海楼?), a Chinese restaurant in Nagasaki. According to the restaurant, it was based on a dish in Fujian cuisine, tonniishiimen (湯肉絲麵?) In the middle of Meiji period, the owner saw a need for a cheap, but filling, meal that suited the palates of hundreds of Chinese students who came to Japan for schooling opportunities. Nowadays, champon is a popular specialty food (or meibutsu) of Nagasaki.
The word champon may also be used for many kinds of random acts where things are mixed. It can also be used to describe the practice of mixing different types of alcohol on a single occasion.
So, it’s kind of a mixed bag. Variety is the spice of life, so they say and I think that might be why I enjoy this dish. Let’s have a look at the Takamori take on this one!
Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge). Not sure but I am guessing there is fish in the base. To prepare, add a little oil to a pan. Fry up the seafood, pork and veggies for a minute or so and then add 300ml water and the contents of the seasoning sachet. Cook for a minute, then add the noodle pouch content and cook for another 3 minutes. Enjoy!
One of the three noodle pouches.
The soup base sachet.
The powder base.
Finished (click image to enlarge). Added squid, shrimp, kamaboko, thin sliced pork, green onion and sweet onion. The noodles have a great gauge and chew. The broth had a nice flavor to it – kind of a buttery seafood taste. 3.75 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 4901959041129.
A short film by a tourist to Kumamoto Castle. I really didn’t know there were lots of castles in Japan – would be great to see someday!
I asked my wife to pick today’s variety and she picked this one. I was thinking – what is Oriental flavor? Well, the French version tells us. I tried Google’s auto translate and it thought it was Spanish for ‘nice.’ In French, bonito means bonito. So, what does bonito mean? Simple.
noun: bonito; plural noun: bonitos
1.a smaller relative of the tunas, with dark oblique stripes on the back and important as a food and game fish.
Ah ha! Fish! It’s only logical, really. Fish is a staple all across the world and particularly in Asia. I think fish sounds good today – let’s give this a try!
Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge). Contains fish. To prepare, boil 1 3/4 cups of water and cook noodles for 2 minutes. Add the contents of the sachet towards the end of cooking. Enjoy!
The fresh noodle pouch.
The soup base sachet.
A light powder.
Finished (click image to enlarge). Added kamaboko, sweet onion, chikawa, squid, shitaruba, green onion and Urashima Sesame & Salt furikake. The noodles have a great chew yet again. Thick and luxuriously hearty. The broth has a nice seafood taste; slightly sweet and smoky. Good stuff! 3.75 out of 5.0 stars.UPC bar code 078128120016.
Here’s an interesting video about bonito processing. Bonito is caught, prepared and smoked. The end product is katsuobushi, and it’s a long involved process.
In the past reviews of Baijia products, I haven’t been really stoked. I have been told by those keen on Sichuan cuisine that this is good stuff, but I think I’m not one of those who are keen on Sichuan cuisine. Regardless, I shall try this with an open mind. Let’s have a go at this one.
Here’s the back of the package – click to enlarge.
The sweet potato thread.
The powder seasoning.
These usually look gross but are very good.
The veggie packet.
Lots of these little bean-like bits.
Finished (click image to enlarge). The noodles soaked up most of the liquid and really I must say there is a huge amount of them. The noodles are a little hard to eat; maybe using scissors to cut them before the meal would be helpful as in the way naengmyon is served in Korea. The noodles are thin and don’t separate very well. They aren’t slimy but have a gelatinous texture. They are easily broken by pursing the lips. The broth (what was left after the engorging by the noodles) was interesting,. First, very spicy and has a black pepper taste. Also has an almost vinegary acidity that almost acts like a component of the spiciness. The veggies are disappointing as they don’t really re-hydrate as one would expect. I must say this is a lot better than I expected, but I still definitely cannot eat the the whole thing by any stretch of the imagination. It’s very salty and very heavy. I would say that one of these packs could easily feed two people – kind of has that ‘stick to your ribsy’ kind of way to it like rice and beans in its fillingness. So far, probably the best Baijia I’ve had. 2.75 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 6926410321396 – get it here.
Here’s the second of the two packs sent to me by Chris H. of Westport, CT – thanks again! So this is the other extremely popular variety out of Korea, Samyang’s Nagasaki Jjampong. I read that ‘white broth’ instant noodles are all the rage there – none are for sale in the Asian grocery stores I frequent and the ones Chris sent are from Korea. Anyways, let’s give it a try!
Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge). I decided that adding 550mL water and cooking for three minutes would do the trick.
The noodle block in this one’s round.
Powder seasoning packet.
Amazing – it smells and tastes like Jalapeno Cheese Cheetos! It’s pretty tasty!
The veggie packet.
I smell fish and see some seaweed. Curious as to how this will come out.
Finished (click image to enlarge). First, the noodles. Wide and chewy – like an instant udon. The broth is spicy and has a nice heartiness to it. The little veggies are good too – not exactly sure of everything in the packet but it has a meat-like texture; maybe fish? Not sure. All in all, this is excellent. 4.75 out of 5.0 stars! UPC number 8801073110472 – get it here.
So for the 400th review, I went with one I’ve thought should be interesting – seafood curry. These are Cup Noodles that are not for sale usually in the United States. I’ve found two – Crab Flavour and Seafood Flavour, but this Curry Seafood Flavour came from Canada.
I think the packaging on these reflect a little more pride in the product as well as quality. For example, a Shrimp Flavor Cup Noodles for the US doesn’t have such ornate images or shiny gold on them. Of course, what matters is what’s inside.
Look at that – a ton of stuff is in this one! Usually the ones sold in the US have an eighth as much stuff. Was nice – an immediate curry odor filled the nostrils as only Japanese curry can.
Click image to enlarge. Nothing added. The noodles steeped perfectly. The vegetables and little bits of dehydrated fish came out just perfect, and the broth was very curry. My only complaint was that the curry flavor overwhelmed the seafood taste so that there was really none at the end of the day. I really liked this one though. 4.25 out of 5.0 stars.