Tag Archives: garlic

#1232: GaGa Mie Gepeng Kuah Rasa Ayam Bawang Pedas (Spicy Garlic Sauce Chicken)

After looking at the new The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Indonesian Instant Noodles Of All Time 2013 Edition and talking with people from around the world about it all week, I felt like having some Indonesian noodles! To translate, rasa means flavor, bawang is garlic, ayam is chicken and pedas means spicy. Let’s give this one a try!

Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge). Looks to me be meat free but check for yourself. To prepare, boil 350cc water. Add noodles and cook 3 minutes, stirring gently. Put seasonings in a bowl. Pour broth and noodles into bowl, stir, and you’re done.

This is the noodle block – the package took 60+ days via seamail to get here so it got a little beat up.

Dry powder sachet.

Smells good!

Seasoned oil sachet.

I smell garlic!


Finished (click image to enlarge). Added fried egg, baked chicken with Lindberg-Snider Porterhouse & Roast seasoning, sweet onion, lime and Fresno chilli pepper. These noodles are good – a little broader and have a nice texture much like egg noodles. The broth is good – a little salty though. Has a great chicken flavor with a rich flavor and spiciness. 3.25 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 8888327831826.

Here’s a short video about cooking in Indonesia. Lots of really flavorful ingredients come together in Indonesian food.

Meet The Manufacturer: Star Anise Foods Interview

Interview * Star Anise Foods Sample * Happy Pho Vietnamese Brown Rice Noodle Soup Garlic Goodness

A few weeks ago, I had a friend over for the weekend and we went to a
store here in the Seattle area called Central Market. I saw a box of
noodles that caught my eye, and decided to write down their website. I
ended up talking to Thao Nguyen, a Ph.D., chef, and co-founder of Star
Anise Foods. Here’s the interview I conducted via email with her.

THE RAMEN RATER> Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

STAR ANISE FOODS> Thank you Hans for the opportunity!

TRR> To start, can you tell my readers about the history of Star Anise Foods?

SAF> Star Anise Foods was founded by Karen Cheng and myself, using my family recipe that were handed down from generations.  We strive to bring to the table a product that is original in flavor, with high nutritional value.

TRR> What was the first product you made?

SAF> It was our line of HAPPY PHO.

TRR> Your company is located in San Francisco, yet you make a product whose roots are in Vietnam. How have the two distant locales influenced your products?

SAF> I’m a third generation Pho noodle seller – my grandparents started their pho stall in Nam Dinh where pho originated, then my mom had a pho noodle stall in Moscow, and now it’s me.  San Francisco influenced the innovation aspect of our line.

TRR> Can you tell us about the varieties of pho noodles you make?

SAF> Our line is divided in 3 main categories: our “Happy Pho” is our Vietnamese brown rice noodle soup, which comes in garlic goodness, zesty ginger and shitake mushroom. Our Brown rice Noodles with organic green tea and seaweed. And our newest addition: the Brown rice Spring roll
wrapper  which is the only brown rice wrapper in the world.

TRR> Here in the Seattle area, pho restaurants are everywhere. How are your products received by those in locations with smaller or nonexistent Vietnamese populations?

SAF> Pho is essentially Vietnamese rice noodles, herbs in a hearty French Provençal beef broth with fragrant Vietnamese spices.  And it’s gluten free.  So the appeal is universal.  Many of my friends who live in the US or Europe have not had Pho ever, but adore it when they first have it.  Vietnamese cuisine, according to the Specialty Food Association Mintel – Global Market Research, is one of the top five most popular cuisines (out of 15 ranked) and continues to rise. Currently 21%
of grocery retailers believe that this type of cuisine will be increasingly popular.

TRR> In what countries are your products available?

SAF> So far we are available only in the US.

TRR> How does the preparation of your product compare to that of traditional pho?

SAF> It is faster without compromising on the taste or the authenticity. I use the spice mix myself.  Also it’s healthier as the noodles are made from brown rice.

TRR> How does your noodle making process differ from other instant noodle manufacturers?

SAF> I adore instant noodles and ramen – it tastes so good.  But I often feel soooo bad afterwards.  I don’t eat instant noodles anymore, as I learnt now that it doesn’t have to be that way.  Our line of Star Anise Foods products are just as quick to make, but you feel good afterwards as the ingredients are simple and wholesome.  We also use premium ingredients and as a result do not need to add a lot of different flavor enhancers and salt to create the taste. Our manufacturing facility only deals with rice flour – most instant noodles are wheat-based.

TRR> Are instant noodles the only products you make?

SAF> We make the world’s only brown rice spring roll wrapper, and a line of Vietnamese brown rice noodles with green tea and with seaweed.

TRR> A lot of people are concerned with their sodium intake. How would you recommend people enjoy your product as part of a healthy meal?

SAF> Our products all have very low sodium – 105mgs per serving which is only 5% of your daily recommended sodium intake.  I normally add a lot of spinach and other veggies to make it more of a full meal.  And I add a little bit of salt too.  But if you don’t want salt at all – use a lot of lime to add flavor.  And sriracha hot sauce.

TRR> Are you involved in in your local community or participate in charities?

SAF> Yes, I’m working on a project that provides mentoring for women entrepreneurs in developing countries.

TRR> Are there any new products coming soon?

SAF> Yes!

TRR> When you make noodles for yourself, what do you like to add to them to make them extra special?

SAF> I sautee garlic in oil, then add thinly sliced beef or tofu and quickly sautee them.  Then I add these on top of the Pho soup.  Hanoi style.  And of course, a copious amount of sriracha hot sauce.

If you like our facebook page Star Anise Foods – you’ll find my favorite recipes there.  I share them often.

TRR> Thank you very much for this opportunity to learn about Star Anise
Foods and your products!

SAF> Thank you!!!

There you have it! Thanks go to Thao Nguyen, Ph.D. for giving us all some great info on Star Anise Foods and sending sample to review!

Interview * Star Anise Foods Sample * Happy Pho Vietnamese Brown Rice Noodle Soup Garlic Goodness

#1006: Amino Barszcz czerwony (Borscht)

Here’s the last of the varieties from Poland that were kindly sent by Joe & Gil of the UK! Borscht! I’ve never actually had real borscht before, but I read up on it on the Wikipedia page:

Borscht (also borsch, bortsch, borstch, borsh, borshch; Ukrainian: борщ) is a soup of Ukrainian[1] origin that is popular in many Eastern and Central European countries. In most of these countries, it is made with beetroot as the main ingredient,[2][3] giving it a deep reddish-purple color. In some countries, tomato is used as the main ingredient, while beetroot acts as a secondary ingredient. Other, non-beet varieties also exist, such as the tomato paste-based orange borscht and green borscht (sorrel soup). While the original Ukrainian name does not end with a “t”, a final t was added when the word was borrowed into Yiddish. The word was borrowed into English from Yiddish, not Ukrainian or Russian.[4]

What I’m having today is a Polish version and here’s what it has to say about that:

The basic Polish borscht (barszcz) recipe includes red beetroot, onions, garlic, and other vegetables, such as carrots and celery or root parsley. The ingredients are cooked for some time together to produce a clear broth (when strained), and the soup is then served as boullion in cups or in other ways. Some recipes include bacon, as well, which gives the soup a distinctive “smoky” taste.

Other versions are richer and include meat and cut vegetables of various kinds, with beetroot not necessarily dominating (though this soup is not always called barszcz, but rather beetroot soup). This variation of barszcz is not strained, and the vegetable contents are left in. Such soup can constitute the main course of a Polish obiad (the main meal eaten in the early afternoon).

Barszcz in its strictly vegetarian version is the first course during the Christmas Eve feast, served with ravioli-type dumplings called uszka (lit. “little ears”) with mushroom filling (sauerkraut can be used, as well, again depending on the family tradition). Typically, this version does not include any meat ingredients, although some variants do.

The beet basis is not required. There is a sour rye soup called żurek; the wheat-flour-based variant of this soup is called barszcz biały (“white barszcz”), made from a base of fermented wheat, usually added to a broth of boiled white fresh sausage (kiełbasa). It is served hot with cubed rye bread and diced hard-boiled eggs added to the broth, and horseradish is often added to taste.

A key component to the taste of barszcz is acidity. While it can be made easily within a few hours by simply cooking the ingredients and adding vinegar, lemon juice, or citric acid, the traditional way is to prepare barszcz several days in advance and to allow it to naturally sour. Depending on the technique, the level of acidity required, and the ingredients available, barszcz takes three to seven days to prepare in this way.

Wow – never knew. Anyways, here we go!

Hey wait a minute. On this distrubotr’s sticker, we have the ingredients – one of which is interestingly enough ‘torches.’ If anyone has any idea what this could b, send along a message and I’ll add it in here.

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

The noodle block has been a little beaten up – here’s some of it.

As with the other Amino varieties, one big packet.

Wow look at that color – beets!

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added beef, onions, green bell pepper and sour cream. The noodles are pretty standard – slightly broader and plumper than most. The broth is quite interesting. It is very deep in color and has a nice tomato and beet flavor with a light smokiness. This is really good stuff – 4.0 out of 5.0 stars.UPC bar code 5900300545285.


Here’s a TV commercial for Amina instant noodles!

A New Thai Chili Sauce From Apinya Thai Food Co.!

I saw something about a Thai chili sauce mentioned on my favorite hot sauce group on facebook recently. It got me wondering if it would be something that could be an alternative to the standard big bottle of Sriracha that I usually go for. I tracked down the company and asked if they could possibly send a sample – a few days later, it arrived!

First off, the bottle is interesting – it has a little flip up spout like you would find on a shampoo bottle – but its similarieties to shampoo immediately halt on a dime right there. This stuff is excellent! First off, the second ingredient after peppers is ginger, which I’m sure those who have followed this blog for a while will know by now that I’m a big fan of ginger.

This tastes like nothing I’ve had before and I think it’s a real winner! It has a flavor that I wouldn’t expect to be coming out of Virginia, USA either! Wow! I’ll be trying it on a bowl of noodles very soon – possibly one of the ones from Australia (one of the packs is made in Thailand for the Australian company, so it would definitely be fitting)! Thank you to the kind people at Apinya for sending along a bottle! Check out their website at www.apinya.co!

Recipe: Spicy Mi Goreng Ramyun

Ok so what is this madness I speak of? Well, in Indonesia, there’s Mi Goreng which are fried noodles. I thought since my last recipe got a write up today in Fox News Magazine ( link), maybe I should get a pack and experiment. I thought since Indonesian instant noodles are my all time faves and I really really enjoy Korean ramyun, why not try a mash-up?

Spicy Mi Goreng Ramyun


  • 1 Package Nongshim Shin Ramyun instant noodles
  • 3/4 cup Kimchi
  • 1/2 a small sweet onion
  • 5 sliced mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • Olive oil cooking spray


Open the pack of Shin Ramyun. Take out the veggie pack and noodle block. Place in a pot with half of your onion an add 2 cups water my onions were frozen -alternatively, you could add the onion in the next step . Set seasoning powder packet aside for now. Put on medium heat until boiling. Let boil for two minutes.

While you wait on the noodles, spray a nice large skillet with cooking spray. Add garlic, kimchi and mushrooms. Saute.

Drain the noodles and return to the pot. Use a pair of kitchen scissors and cut the noodles a few times (this will prevent clumping when fried). Add half of the packet of powder seasoning and stir.

Add the noodles to the skillet and cook at high temperature stirring constantly. Keep it moving or it will burn! It’s done when everything look like…

…this (click image to enlarge)!!! My thoughts: I was hoping that the noodles would have crisped a little more. I think the key is less time in the pot. Cooking the noodles ‘al dente’ is what works in the grilled cheese recipe. Also, I’m going to say I think this ended up being more of a bibimyun than something Indonesian-esque. Anyways, there’s something I made today. It was pretty good! Enjoy!


Re-Review: Paldo Namja Ramyun (Men’s Ramyun)

I have fallen ill with some kind of head cold it seems and I thought something spicy would be good. My lovely wife Kit was kind enough make me some noodles for breakfast – she’s so good to me! Thought I’d have these – they’re available in the US now, but this is a Re-Review of the pack that is sold in Korea. The version sold in the US will be being reviewed soon! Here’s the link to the original review I did during Paldo’s Meet The Manufacturer.

Finished (click to enlarge). She put some odeng and a slice of processed cheese in. The noodles are great, the flavor is superb. I still agree with the old review – 5.0 out of 5.0 stars! Thanks again to my wife for making me feel better while I feel crummy! I love you! UPC bar code 8809296771018 – get it here.

Dude looks quite serious! Namja commercial

#826: Meet The Manufacturer: Paldo Namja Ramyun (Men’s Ramyun)

Here’s a new one from Paldo – Namja. Namja translates to “man” or “guy” – I think they’re saying this is very hot and spicy. I wonder if there will be a product that is made for women as well? Well, let’s see if I’m man enough for this bowl of noodles!

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

A nice big noodle block as always…

The powder seasoning packet.

Well kiddies, by the color of this powder I think it’s going to be spicy!

The veggie packet.

Looks like a nice little collection of veggies in there.

Finished (click image to enlarge). I took some fresh onion and a little roast beef and a bit of garlic and sauteed in a pan for a few and added on top with a dash of Krazy Mixed Up Salt. Also added a slice of processed cheese. The noodles herein are chewy – and nicely so. The broth is the real star here. It has a very strong spicy punch to it and a nice cascade of garlic taste that is very enjoyable. The vegetables rehydrate very nicely and are enjoyable. This isn’t you regular red broth – it’s definitely going for the ‘gourmet’ palate – and it does that very well. 5.0 out of 5.0 stars – unique and tasty! UPC bar code 8809296771018 – get it here.

Dude looks quite serious! Namja commercial

I don’t always agree with this guy’s reviews, but he’s a great reviewer – always fun to see his reaction to spicy ramyun!

Re-Review: Meet The Manufacturer: Paldo Gomtang Oriental Style Noodles With Soup Base

How often do you see Korean instant noodles that aren’t spicy? Well, here’s one of those rare times. Pronounced Gohm-tahng (thanks Moses from Paldo America!), this is a traditional beef noodle soup.

Package back (click image to enlarge).

Noodle block broke in half – no worries!

A single packet – no veggies in this one.

Lots of seasoning powder. It has a strong sweet and garlic scent that I found very enticing.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added some roast beef lunch meat and a little Krazy Mixed Up Salt. This was great! The noodles are a little different – I noticed they include a little rice powder in the mix and I think that’s why they have a slightly chewier texture. I also noticed as the noodles cooked, the broth was getting a creamy white color. The broth is wonderful. The flavor is a sweet, beefy and garlicky melange that is very pleasing. This isn’t a spicy one either. Very good – 4.75 out of 5.0 stars! Delicious! UPC bar code 648436100149 – get it here.

Another vintage Paldo commercial

How to make Korean Gomtang

#807: SuperMi Mi Instan Super Rasa Ayam Bawang

Here’s another one from a friend in  Jakarta, Indonesia! Thank you! So what is Rasa Ayam Bawang you ask? Simple: Garlic Chicken Flavor! Sounds awesome! Oh, but wait – when I translate onion to Indonesian it says bawang too. Uh oh – I’m confused. Can anyone make a comment as to this? It would be greatly appreciated! UPDATE – Just got the comment I was looking for:

Opaq Lc commented on #807: SuperMi Mi Instan Super Rasa Ayam Bawang

bawang = onion; bawang putih (white onion) = garlic

Hey big thanks!

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

The noodle block.

The dry packets – powdered base on the left and chili powder on the right.

Here’s the powder seasoning with the chili powder atop.

Kinda fuzzy – it’s the seasoned oil.

Here’s the oil in a sake cup.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added some onions, Fresno peppers, a fried egg, some baked chicken, pickled ginger and Huy Fong Sriracha hot chili sauce – and pepper. The noodles were nice – fluffy and tasty. The broth was excellent – had a reeally good chicken flavor and the chili powder gave it a nice little kick. Great stuff! 4.0 out of 5.0 stars! UPC bar code 089686914467 .

Really short SuperMi commercial

Beautiful tasty looking Indonesian  food!

#751: Meet The Manufacturer: Nongshim Shin Ramyun Black Premium Onion Flavor (Cup)

Check it out – the new Shin Black cup! Onion flavor! I’ve had one of these chilling on my shelf for a while now – been wanting to review it and now that it’s out on the market, I can! Let’s check it out!

Something to note: Nongshim is a big sponsor of Expo 2012 in Yeosu, Korea. They have their own pavilion showing off this product! Here’s a link to their blog to check it out!

Here’s the lid and the instructions.

I have a visual aid device that will help me reading fine print. It was very helpful for getting images off the sides of the cup – it’s dark red on black – colors that my eyes don’t do too well with! Click image to enlarge.

The noodle block.

Here’s the spicy stuff!

Definitely some nice spiciness here!

A packet of onionny goodness!

I took a little pinch of this and tasted. Wow – this is definitely one for those who enjoy onions – it is seriously onionny – seriously!

The vegetables. These were loose in the cup. One thing I’ve found annoying is that usually the veggies in instant noodles are tiny and light. These are decent sized chunks of mushrooms and other veggies! This looks decent.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Okay so let’s get right to it. The noodles are pretty good – more of them than I had expected from a cup. Thin like one would expect. The broth: this is some of the best liquid I have ever tasted. It is seething with onion! It has a sweet and spicy taste to it. Spot on! The veggies: okay, see that on top in the middle? That’s a slice of garlic. Underneath are some mushrooms. The garlic tastes like a piece of garlic sliced thin; it isn’t mushy – it’s crunchy! The mushrooms are quite good too!  If you are a fan of spicy Korean noodles and really like onions a lot, this is definitely for you. I am a person who falls into the affirmative on both of these qualities. This is unique and excellent – 5.0 out of 5.0 stars – a must try! UPC bar code 031146014408 .

K Pop star IU is doing the ads for this new product.

Here’s another…

…and yet another.

#707: Namchow Mee Jang Noodle Soup Spicy Beef Garlic & Onion

Here’s another of these Mee Jang Noodle Soups. I like the label – if you aren’t keen on reading and just scan a bowl of instant food and decide to eat, watch out for this stuff! So far I’ve found these to be quite spicy! Let’s see how this one comes out!

Tough to read on this one (click image to enlarge).

Here’s the sticker on the side with more info.

The noodle block!

Powder seasoning.

Smells pretty good!

Seasoned oil!

Very nice smell here – beefy n garlicky!

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added two fried eggs with a little Krazy Mixed Up Salt, some store brand stir-fry veggies, a little roast beef lunch meat and some kizami shoga (pickled ginger). The noodles are decent – not the best ever but not bad. The broth is hot and spicy – seriously! My lips be burnin’! A little oiliness and a good beef taste to it. I like it but really hot. 3.25 out of 5.0 stars! UPC barcode 684431000756 .

This stuff looks really good!

Some good looking spicy thai beef!

#686: Wingsfood Mi Sedaap Mi Goreng Perisa Sambal Goreng

More Indonesian noodles! This one’s a spicy pack of mi goreng – fried noodles!

This is the export label.

Here’s the package back (click image to enlarge) – the export sticker was a little obstinate.

Here’s the noodle block.

Well, not too hard to tell what we have here – from left to right, seasoned oil, hot chili sauce and sweet soy sauce.

Powdered seasoning sachet!

So everything gets put in the bowl and the noodles once done are drained and everything is stirred up.

Here’s the garnish packet – fried onions!

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added two fried eggs, some roast turkey lunch meat, kizami shoga (pickled ginger), Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt and Melinda’s Garlic Habanero hot sauce. Oh – and the fried onion garnish. The noodles are great – chewy and soft too. The flavor is spicy and sweet – along with a satisfying and delicious crunch from the fried onion. This is grubbin! 4.5 out of 5.0 stars! UPC barcode 8998866200448 – get it here.

Mi Sedaap commercial.

Carl Sagan again in this awesome series.