Tag Archives: naruto

The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Instant Noodle Add-Ons Of All Time 2015 Edition

In the last few years, I’ve seen a large amount of articles with titles like ‘Best Ramen Hacks,’ ‘Pimp Your Ramen’ and so on. These titles fall under the category of clickbait – using hipster terminology and such to entice one to click on them. Usually, they’re all things people know about already; vegetables, oils and such. This is a list of my favorite add-ons and garnishes. While some may be familiar to you, others may not be. It’s also geared to help you navigate the Asian Grocery, a place many find to be alien to them but I have found to be one of the most vibrant and wonderful places I visit very regularly. Finally, I also included some tips of storage and how long these products last for those on a tight budget. In no particular order, here’s this new list!

Chinese Sausage

Often found on end caps, either refrigerated or on the shelf. Chinese sausage pairs quite well with spicy, beef, pork, spicy beef and spicy pork varieties from China and Taiwan. They sausage is wrinkly on the outside kind of like a beef stick and has a sweet taste. I freeze these (they’ll last a long time without freezer burn) and then take out a link and slice in thin pieces. They’re easy to slice when frozen. Toss in at any point while cooking the noodles and they’ll add a little protein and a little oiliness to the broth.

Tofu Puff / Tau Pok

These can be found not surprisingly with the myriad of tofu varieties. They’re like little spongy cubes of delight! Just take one out and cut in half (I use kitchen scissors) and drop in your instant noodles. I like them primarily with curries. They often will have 2 weeks on them in the refrigerator – I’ve never frozen them and guess that wouldn’t work very well.

Mung Bean Sprouts

Mung bean sprouts should be pretty easy to get anywhere. I prefer a brand called Salad Cosmo; they seem to stay fresh a lot longer. Mung bean sprouts are very perishable, so get them in the refrigerator as soon as you get home from the store. They have a very short life – maybe 3-5 days refrigerated. They add a nice crunch to any instant noodles.

Fish Cake

There are tons of different kinds of fish cake out there – kamaboko (looks like a little loaf on a piece of wood), narutomaki (a tube with a swirl pattern), and Busan fish cake (a fried South Korean delicacy). Fishcake usually is comprised of processed fish that is steamed or fried. Prep them by slicing thin and put a few pieces in a ziploc and put in the freezer. They tend to stick to eachother, so using multiple ziplocs works best. They’ll stay in good condition frozen for quite a long time. Of course, these work very well with seafood varieties, both Japanese and South Korea, and also in traditional Japanese varieties like shoyu and miso. They’re either refrigerated or frozen at the store.

Cilantro / Coriander

This leafy green is known either by cilantro or coriander. It adds a nice savory flavor to instant noodles when dropped on top as a garnish. The trick with picking coriander is looking at the leaves. If they look saggy or wilted, skip ’em. If you see one lone bunch sitting where many should be, it’s probably going to go bad really quick as well. What I do is get a nice looking bunch and bring it home, give it a rinse under cold water, pat dry with paper towl and put in a loose plastic produce bag (grab an extra while shopping) in the crisper in our refrigerator. If your refrigerator runs a little on the cold side, they’ll go bad quicker, but since a bunch usually is under a dollar, just go and get more. Under perfect conditions, they should last 3-4 days.

Korean BBQ Meat

If you want to add beef or pork to your instant noodles and you’re on a budget, this is going to save you a ton of money. Go to where they have the packaged meats. Chances are you’ll find a ton of different cuts of pork and beef – and they’re sliced like bacon! You can find beef sliced this way and get a few pounds for under $10USD . Get a big box of ziplocs and put about 3-4 slices in each one and then put them all in a big freezer ziploc. You can get about 20 portions out of it and all you need to do is either defrost and fry it in a pan or just drop in boiling water and let the fat also flavor your broth.

Fishball

I first discovered Taiwanese fishball – these are hollow and sometimes have crab, or fish eggs inside. I have found I prefer the Malaysian or Singaporean varieties – Dodo brand is quite good. These are solid and come in an array of flavors like cuttlefish, lobster and prawn. These will be at the seafood counter or frozen in bags. Just boil them (for freshly made fishball, boil until they float). These work great in the freezer, but if they get a little freezer burn, they’ll get a little rubbery. I like fishball in seafood and curry varieties.

Eggs

The thin shelled ovum of the domestic fowl can be found at most any grocery store. Fried on Mi Goreng, hard boiled with anything, stirred in with boiling broth, they work very well. I get asked ‘how do you get your eggs look that way’ when I make South Korean varieties sometimes. Well, it’s very common in Korea to simply drop a raw egg yolk ion a steaming hot bowl of ramyun. What I do is crack and egg into a ladle and rock it back and forth, letting the clear white of the egg spill out. There’s a little piece left which I’ll snip away. Drop on top of your noodles and stir it in. Eggs are relatively inexpensive and stay good for a long time.

Pepper Strands (Ito Toiughrasi)

I have only found these once and they were in a large Korean supermarket with the dehydrated chillies and pepper powders. They’re extremely thin threads of chilli pepper that you can put on your instant noodles to give a neat little gourmet look. I found that they add a hint of spiciness to the broth. A bag of these will last forever since you only need to use a small amount. Stoe in a ziploc after opening and put in your cupboard.

Carved Squid

You can buy fresh squid, carve crosshatched slices in it, cut it in strips and boil, or you can just buy a nice bag of frozen carved squid! They’re great in seafood instant noodles and have a nice texture and flavor to them. These will stay fine in the freezer for months – put them in a freezer bag once opened.

 

Got any favorite garnishes? Share them with me in a comment and they might make next years list!

#1279: Ko-Lee Instant Noodles Mixed Vegetable

Here’s one that’s been hiding in the noodle bin for a while! Thanks to Martin A. of Devon, UK for seonding!  Let’s check it out!

The back of the package (click image to enlarge_. Looks to be meat free but check for yourself. To cook, put everything in a bowl and add 300ml water. Cover and let sit for 3 minutes. Give it a stir and it’s done.

The noodle block.

Soup base sachet.

Has a salty and veggie scent.

 

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added peas, leeks, sweet onion, kamaboko, narutomaki and big ugly carrot. The noodles were a little more crumbly than I like, but not too bad. The broth had a decent flavor to it; many vegetable versions end up with a bitter aftertaste but not this one. 3.5 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 5023751105058.

A short vid about the history and flavor of Marmite.

#1211: Nissin Demae Iccho Instant Noodle With Soup Base Artificial Chicken Flavour

Hey welcome to November! Here’s another one we got on my birthday trip to Canada in March! I was just looking at the little kid caricature on the side of this bowl and was thinking how it looks like he’s sick. I mean he has a very red nose and his cheeks are red and covered in spots. Measles? Mumps? I think I’m reading too much into it. Let’s check it out!

Here’s the detail of the side panels (click image to enlarge). Looks to be meat-free but check for yourself. Add powder and vegetable sachets, fill to line, let sit. Then add the oil sachet, stir and done.

Here’s the lid (click image to enlarge).

The noodle block.

Powder soup base sachet.

A granular powder.

The solid ingredient sachet.

Corn and green onion and narutomaki abound.

Seasoned oil sachet.

Has a sesame oil scent.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added baked chicken seasoned with Lindberg-Snider Porterhouse and Roast Seasoning, broccoli, bell pepper and sweet onion. The noodles are plentiful and kind of thin. The flavor was what I had an issue with; the sesame oil didn’t jibe right with the chicken and kind of had a burnt flavor. I did like how it thickened up the broth a little though. The veggies were quite nice – plentiful little narutomaki all around. 3.0 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 4897878120017.

A Nissin advert from Hong Kong.

#955: Meet The Manufacturer: Sakurai Foods Miso Ramen

Here’s another one from Sakurai Foods, this time a bowl of miso ramen! I read that the bowl is made of recycle sugar cane stalk – pretty cool!

Here’s the info from the side and bottom (click image to enlarge).

The noodle block. Potato starch noodles, made of flour from Hokkaido.

Powder seasoning.

Has a nice deep and rich miso flavor.

The vegetable packet.

Looks like a smorgasbord of bits and pieces – nice selection!

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added hard boiled egg with Krazy Mixed Up Salt, narutomaki, onion and Urashima Sesame & Salt furikake. The noodles are soft and light with a night gauge. The broth has a nice miso flavor to it – rich flavor. The vegetables are nice with a good variety. All in all, a very satisfying bowl of noodles! 4.0 out of 5.0 stars.UPC bar code 4960813332650.

The Miso factory in Nagano, Japan.

Re-Review: Nissin Demae Ramen 出前一丁 Artificial Chicken Flavor (Hong Kong)

My son Andy, my wife Kit and I walked to the local 99 Ranch Market on Friday. He decided he needed more kamaboko and wanted to pick out some ramen himself to try. Here’s one he picked (he likes all things chicken flavored) and will get to try today. He’s letting me have a bite and a slurp of broth for making it for him.

Here’s the back of the package. Note that it mentioned adding the soup base and seasoning oil although I found no seasoning oil packet. I thought I’d look at the original review I did way back – ne’ery an oil packet there either(click to enlarge).

The noodle block – good size and weight to it. This would one I would consider a hefty brick.

The seasoning powder.

The soup base in all its glory.

Andy is a big fan of this stuff – he even wanted veggies! Not bad. Read his blog, Andy’s LEGO Stuff, here!

Finished (click image to enlarge). Andy requested some of the frozen stir-fry veggies and some of the kamaboko. Decent noodles – a little thinner and firmer than Top Ramen. The broth is a little stronger too – I would call it a slightly less Americanized flavor. Good stuff – Andy loved it! 3.5 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 4897878000036 – get it here.

Curry or shoyu? Curry – hands down! The Nissin Curry Demae Ramen is out of this world delicious.

This is a great one.

#755: Meet The Manufacturer: Nongshim Japanese Style Udon Noodle Soup (Bowl)

Haven’t tried this one before, although seen it a few times at the store. Udon is a wider gauge noodle and usually when mentioned so prominently is of the fresh variety. Fresh in a non-refrigerated? You’ll understand in a minute.

Here’s a close up of the ingredients, nutritional info and directions (click image to enlarge).

Here’s what I’m talking about when I mention fresh noodles. These are not dry, although they’re not wet. They’re in a sealed bag.

Here’s the liquid soup base.

Has a nice and strong soy flavor.

Here’s the veggie packet.

This looks like a lively little assortment!

Finished (click image to enlarge). I added two pieces of narutomaki (bet you can spot them). The noodles are your standard fresh udon I’ve sampled before – nice and chewy and wide. Good stuff. The broth is excellent – salty, lots of soy flavor and a nice seafood taste. The flake pack was great in this one – little pieces of kamaboko, tempura and seaweed. All in all a nice dish I rather liked. 4.25 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 031146156917 – get it here.

Apparently there’s some kind of contest involving KPop band B2ST? Well, here’s one of the videos people have submitted.

Here’s another one.

#722: Yamamoto Seafood Flavor Ramen

Some Japanese stuff that’s been waiting for just the right day – and this is it. I may have not translated the title exactly right – a few things mentioned ‘thickening’ and ‘flour,’ so this may be thick seafood ramen.  Anyways, shall we?

Here’s what the distributor’s sticker looks like…

The noodle block awaits some boiling water!

A single seasoning packet – pretty big though!

Here’s the seasoning powder. Very light and a good amount of it.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added some stir-fry veggies, narutomaki, Ajishima Kim Chi furikake and some Sushinori. The noodles are good – a little thinner than most in a bowl and just slightly firmer. The broth is nice – salty and has a bit of that ‘of the sea’ flavor going on.  I liked it – good stuff! 3.5 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 4979397770024 .

Japanese seafood market

Eskimo Disco 7-111 featuring Pingu

#687: Nissin Cup Noodles XO Sauce Seafood Flavour (Hong Kong)

Here’s another that my sister brought me back from Canada! XO Sauce Seafood flavor sounds good – I think I’ll drop a couple discs of naruto in it too!

Here are the side panels (click image to enlarge).

Lid info (click image to enlarge).

Here’s what’s under the hood! No packet – just all the goodies awaiting boiling water, a few minutes and a good stir.

Finished (click image to enlarge). I added those two pieces of naruto.  The noodles are very nice – plentiful and soft – as well as nicely separate. The broth has a nice flavor – seafood notes and XO sauce comingle tastefully. The bits of seafood and veggies are nice – wish the corn was a little crunchier, but the other stuff was good. Liked this one – 3.75 out of 5.0 stars. UPC barcode 4897878100132 – here’s where you can buy the Nissin Demae Ramen pack version.

Hong Kong XO Sauce commercial.

The Sagan Series Part 4

#684: Dragonfly Instant Noodles Artificial Seafood Flavor

I’ve been waiting a while to have some things in first before trying this one. I wanted to have some seafood to add to it or something interesting. Well, I had two something interestings to add to it, so let’s check this one out!

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

As of this point, Dragonfly’s noodles have never failed to satisfy. Anice texture and gauge – really very nice.

Here’s the powdered seasoning packet.

This is the packet contents. For my birthday, my wife, son and I went to Seattle to Uwajimaya and found these little bowls. Well, I’m sure they’re sake cups but I needed something like a glass/ceramic pinch bowl for showing packet contents – and these are perfect!

Here’s the vegetable packet.

A nice amount of veggies here.

Finally, some seasoned oil.

It’s funny – the ingredients of this packet mention nothing about fish at all but it has a strong seafood scent!

My son and I shared noodles today and we tried a couple of ingredients I added to this one – Kamaboko and Naruto – I did a post about it here if you’d like to check it out!

Finished (click image to enlarge). As I mentioned, I added kamaboko, naruto and an egg. I also added one piece of sushinori (seaweed). This was a pretty good bowl of noodles. I really liked the noodles themselves – same as always. The broth though was a bit lighter in flavor than I expected. Dragonfly’s stuff is usually quite flavorful but this was a tad  less so. The veggies were nice – carrot bits were crisp as usual. All in all, quite good. 3.75 out of 5.0 stars. UPC barcode 721557450932 – get some here.

Part 2 of the Sagan series – thanks again to taintedbloop!

Amazing old school computer room from 1983!

Our First Experience With Kamaboko & Narutomaki

I’ve seen many times mentions of Kamaboko and Naruto in ramen dishes and looked all over for them. This last Saturday we went to Uwajimaya and I found both! Hah! First, let’s check out Kamaboko. It’s surimi, which comes in many ways – for example, imitation crab is one form of surimi.

Here’s how it comes – on a little piece of wood! You slice it thinly and it can be eaten unheated since it’s steamed previously. It’s slightly rubbery and chewy – kind of like a cold-cut version of calamari. t has a very light flavor.

This is Naruto. There’s a popular anime character with the same name…

He’s got a little spiral on his head; he’s a ramen fan.

Hey look – the same little spiral! So it’s like a log of fish that you slice thinly. It is a lot like the Kamaboko except not as chewy and has a more fishy flavor.

Today I had some noodles with my son. He had a bowl of Nissin Dmae Ramen – the sesame oil flavor.

He was very interested in trying the Naruto and Kamaboko! The fearless Andy didn’t question ‘what’ it was, but was very interested as it’s from Japan – he’s in a club at school called ‘Nakano Club’ – they’ll have visiting students soon from Nakano, Japan and so he’s interested in all things Japanese. He liked the Kamaboko a little more than me – was hoping for a bit more flavor, but it was nice. I liked the Naruto better than he did. It had a slightly fishier taste and was less chewy. He ate the whole bowl of noodles though with all the additions! Not bad!

#328: Nongshim Big Bowl Udon Japanese Style Noodle Soup

Ladies and gentlemen, the enormous Ramen Box has been opened and we begin. This one comes from Korea.

A single packet of powdered soup base.

Holy cow look at this one! There’s the big pile of seasoning powder in the middle, but look at all this other stuff! Wow, I’m thoroughly impressed – I wasn’t expecting to see this much stuff going on here. Neat little naruto slices, sliced fish stuff, and fried somethings. I would love to know what all these things are! Lots of veggies too – carrot and onion and more.

Click image to enlarge. Bamm finished product. Mmm… The noodles are nice – chewy and thick… Was nice to find a lot of pieces of fish and veggies with every bite! This is a rarity in the instant noodle world I assure you. The broth had a very nice seafood taste and was very nice. I really was impressed with this one and give it 4.5 out of 5.0 stars! Get it here.

#302: Samyang Bowl Noodle Soup Yukgaejang Ramen Picante Beef Flavor

Well, I’d sworn I’d had this before but nope! That was the Nongshim stuff. Curious if this stuff is as good…

A single packet of powder…

A lovely deep red color – very nice to see!

Click image to enlarge. Added one fried egg and a pinch of Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning. So this stuff’s great – adding an egg makes it nice and tasty too. Decent heat, noodles are good and broth is red! Also, spied a couple little pieces of that spiral naruto stuff at the bottom of the bowl and they were good and fun to look at. 3.75 out of 5.0 stars.