Tag Archives: tofu

#2969: Kiki Mapo Tofu Noodles (台湾KIKI)

#2969: Kiki Mapo Tofu Noodles (台湾KIKI) - Taiwan - The Ramen Rater

Here’s the second fancy boxed variety from Kiki that came out recently. This sounds really good – here’s a little about Mapo Tofu from Wikipedia –

Mapo doufu or Mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐) is a popular Chinese dish from Sichuan province. It consists of tofu set in a spicy sauce, typically a thin, oily, and bright red suspension, based on douban 豆瓣 (fermented broadbean and chili paste) and douchi 豆豉 (fermented black beans), along with minced meat, usually pork or beef. Variations exist with other ingredients such as water chestnutsonions, other vegetables, or wood ear fungus.

“Ma” stands for “ma-zi” (Chinese: mázi, 麻子) which means pockmarks. “Po” is the first syllable of “popo” (Chinese: 婆婆, pópo) which means an old woman or grandma. Hence, mapo is an old woman whose face is pockmarked. It is thus sometimes translated as “pockmarked grandma’s beancurd”.

According to Mrs. Chiang’s Szechwan Cookbook: “Eugene Wu, the Librarian of the Harvard Yenching Library, grew up in Chengdu and claims that as a schoolboy he used to eat Pock-Marked Ma’s Bean Curd or mapo doufu, at a restaurant run by the original Pock-Marked Ma herself. One ordered by weight, specifying how many grams of bean curd and meat, and the serving would be weighed out and cooked as the diner watched. It arrived at the table fresh, fragrant, and so spicy hot, or la, that it actually caused sweat to break out.”[1]

Authentic Mapo doufu is powerfully spicy with both conventional “heat” spiciness and the characteristic “mala” (numbing spiciness) flavor of Sichuan cuisine. The feel of the particular dish is often described by cooks using seven specific Chinese adjectives: 麻 (numbing), 辣 (spicy hot), 烫 (hot temperature), 鲜 (fresh), 嫩 (tender and soft), 香 (aromatic), and 酥 (flaky). The authentic form of the dish is increasingly easy to find outside China today, but usually only in Sichuanese restaurants that do not adapt the dish for non-Sichuanese tastes.

The most important and necessary ingredients in the dish that give it the distinctive flavour are chili broad bean paste (salty bean paste) from Sichuan’s Pixian county (郫县豆瓣酱), fermented black beanschili oil, chili flakes of the heaven-facing pepper (朝天辣椒), Sichuan peppercornsgarlicgreen onions, and rice wine.[2] Supplementary ingredients include water or stock, sugar (depending on the saltiness of the bean paste brand used), and starch (if it is desired to thicken the sauce).[3]

That’s pretty interesting about the pock-marked grandmother. Sounds like an interesting dish – at least in the non-Americanized way. I’ve tried the Western way and this one sounds better. Let’s give it a go!

Kiki Mapo Tofu Noodles – Taiwan

#2969: Kiki Mapo Tofu Noodles (台湾KIKI) - Taiwan - The Ramen Rater

Detail of the side panels (click to enlarge). Looks to be meat free but check for yourself. To prepare, boil 800ml water and put the Mapo Tofu Soup Package into the boiling water for 3 minutes. Cook the noodles in boiling water separately for 4 to 5 minutes with medium heat. Drain. Pour the Mapo Tofu Soup Package into a bowl with the noodles. Finally, stir and enjoy!

#2969: Kiki Mapo Tofu Noodles (台湾KIKI) - Taiwan - The Ramen Rater

The noodles in their own sealed package.

#2969: Kiki Mapo Tofu Noodles (台湾KIKI) - Taiwan - The Ramen Rater

The soup – in a really large pouch!

Finished (click to enlarge). Noodles are just out of sight – excellent chew and gauge. They are a perfect fit for the broth which has strong Sichuan pepper notes and a good oiliness. The tofu pieces are everywhere and of excellent quality. My only complaint is the level of Sichuan pepper flavor. I’ve been running into a lot of things lately that just have too much of it for my liking lately and I’m going to say that if you love Sichuan pepper, this is probably going to be the right amount for you, but unfortunately it drowns out all other flavors. 2.5 out of 5.0 stars.  EAN bar code 4713302682046.

#2969: Kiki Mapo Tofu Noodles (台湾KIKI) - Taiwan - The Ramen Rater

A Culinary History of Taipei: Beyond Pork and Ponlai (Big City Food Biographies)

This is the Unboxing Time With The Ramen Rater where I unbox these – and you can really get a feel for how big these box versions are.

#2573: Ikeda Shokuhin Nabeyaki Kitsune Udon

#2573: Ikeda Shokuhin Nabeyaki Kitsune Udon - Japan - The Ramen Rater - Exotic Noods -

Here’s one that came by way of the guys over at Exotic Noods. Thanks! You can subscribe and get great boxes of different noodles every month – they also have The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Box! Definitely take a look. So today it’s udon from Japan. Kitsune udon comes with some fried tofu – which is really good stuff. Udon is a very thick noodle, but what is a nabeyaki? Here’s a little from Wikipedia –

Nabeyaki udon: A sort of udon hot-pot, with seafood and vegetables cooked in a nabe, or metal pot. The most common ingredients are tempura shrimp with mushrooms and an egg cracked on top.

Nabemono (鍋物, なべ物, nabe “cooking pot” + mono “thing or things, object, matter”) or simply nabe, is a variety of Japanese hot pot dishes, also known as one pot dishes[1] and “things in a pot.”[2]

Okay so this is a kind of hot pot style cooked udon. What gets me is that the container for this one is metal; almost looks like a Jiffy Pop noodle cooking affair. Let’s check it out!

Ikeda Shokuhin Nabeyaki Kitsune Udon – Japan

#2573: Ikeda Shokuhin Nabeyaki Kitsune Udon - Japan - The Ramen Rater - Exotic Noods -

Here’s the distributor/import sticker (click to enlarge).

#2573: Ikeda Shokuhin Nabeyaki Kitsune Udon - Japan - The Ramen Rater - Exotic Noods -

Detail of the cardboard lid (click to enlarge).  Looks to be meat free but check for yourself. To prepare, add 300ml boiling water and cook for 2 minutes? Very hard to tell on this one so that’s what I’m going to go with. This should be long enough for the noodles to loosen and the tofu to become ‘happy.’ Stir and enjoy!

#2573: Ikeda Shokuhin Nabeyaki Kitsune Udon - Japan - The Ramen Rater - Exotic Noods -

The fresh udon pouch.

#2573: Ikeda Shokuhin Nabeyaki Kitsune Udon - Japan - The Ramen Rater - Exotic Noods -

The liquid base (called ‘the dry base’ on the sticker I gues).

#2573: Ikeda Shokuhin Nabeyaki Kitsune Udon - Japan - The Ramen Rater - Exotic Noods -

Has a soy scent.

#2573: Ikeda Shokuhin Nabeyaki Kitsune Udon - Japan - The Ramen Rater - Exotic Noods -

The fried tofu.

Finished (click to enlarge). Added spring onion, 31-44ct shrimp, and shichimi togarashi. The udon came out very well – thick and chewy. The broth has a sweet and soy kind of flavor – I’m not entirely convinced that there isn’t some bonito in there. The tofu is great – very sweet and tasty. 3.75 out of 5.0 stars. JAN bar code 4970083061587.

#2573: Ikeda Shokuhin Nabeyaki Kitsune Udon - Japan - The Ramen Rater - Exotic Noods -

Gosu Ikeda 6.1inch Ramen-Bowl with cover White porcelain Made in Japan

Cooking With Dog!

#2426: Dr. McDougall’s Vegan Pad Thai Noodle Soup

#2426: Dr. McDougall's Vegan Pad Thai Noodle Soup - United States - The Ramen Rater

Well it’s been quite a while since I’ve reviewed anything by Dr. McDougall’s. Why? Well, the first one I tried was a disappointment. I saw this one recently and thought maybe I should give them another chance. I am not expecting this will be one I like very much though; the two lines in large print immediately contradict eachother: ‘Pad Thai’ and ‘Noodle Soup.’ This just sounds wrong. But hey – maybe this is really good stuff. Let’s give it a look.

#2426: Dr. McDougall's Vegan Pad Thai Noodle Soup - United States - The Ramen Rater

Detail of the side panels (click to enlarge). Says it is Vegan friendly but check for yourself. To prepare, add room temperature water to fill line and stir. Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Cover and let steep 5 minutes. Stir and enjoy!

#2426: Dr. McDougall's Vegan Pad Thai Noodle Soup - United States - The Ramen Rater

Detail of the lid (click to enlarge).

#2426: Dr. McDougall's Vegan Pad Thai Noodle Soup - United States - The Ramen Rater

Here are the uncooked rice noodles. Short and wide.

#2426: Dr. McDougall's Vegan Pad Thai Noodle Soup - United States - The Ramen Rater

In with the noodles are bits of vegetable and dehydrated tofu.

#2426: Dr. McDougall's Vegan Pad Thai Noodle Soup - United States - The Ramen Rater

A seasoning sachet.

#2426: Dr. McDougall's Vegan Pad Thai Noodle Soup - United States - The Ramen Rater

A very fine powder with flecks and a shade that is reminiscent of Pad Thai.

#2426: Dr. McDougall's Vegan Pad Thai Noodle Soup - United States - The Ramen Rater

Finished (click to enlarge). Ladies and Gentlemen, pad thai noodle soup. This is… Okay so the rice noodles came out nicely – short, flat and broad and well hydrated. Now for the broth. Thin. Nothing like pad thai. Has a little lime taste and a kind of herbed taste. The floating bits of tofu are a lot like the marshmallows you get in the hot chocolate that comes with marshmallows. This is as far from pad thai as I can even express in words. It’s like someone gave a broken description of pad thai to someone who has short term memory problems and no taste buds a week prior and told them to make it. I kind of feel violated. 0.0 out of 5.0 stars. Saddened and offended. UPC bar code 767335011070.

Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods V e g a n Pad Thai Noodle Soup, Fresh Flavor, 2-Ounce Cups (Pack of 6)

A unique recipe for Vegan Pad Thai you can try at home!

#2415: Nissin Kitsune Udon Donbei (West)

#2415: Nissin Kitsune Udon Donbei (West) - Japan - The Ramen Rater - instant noodle

I’m happy to say that I got an email from Javier over at Box From Japan telling me that they’re back! They offer s subscription service – instant ramen bowls direct from Japan! You get 4 bowls every month! It’s pretty neat – should go check it out!

Today, we have a bowl from Nissin Japan – Kitsune udon. Let’s ask Wikipedia about it:

Udon (饂飩?, usually written as うどん) is a type of thick wheat flournoodle of Japanese cuisine. Udon is often served hot as a noodle soup in its simplest form, as kake udon, in a mildly flavoured broth called kakejiru, which is made of dashi, soy sauce, and mirin. It is usually with thin scallions. Other common toppings include tempura, often prawn or kakiage (a type of mixed tempura fritter), or aburaage, a type of deep-fried tofu pockets seasoned with sugar, mirin, and soy sauce. A thin slice of kamaboko, a halfmoon-shaped fish cake, is often added. Shichimi can be added to taste.

The flavor of broth and topping vary from region to region. Usually, dark brown broth, made from dark soy sauce (koikuchi shōyu), is used in eastern Japan, and light brown broth, made from light soy sauce (usukuchi shōyu), is used in western Japan. This is even noticeable in packaged instant noodles, which are often sold in two different versions for east and west.

Kitsune udon: “Fox udon”. Topped with aburaage (sweetened deep-fried tofu pockets). This originated in Osaka.

This is a pretty popular variety in Japan. Indeed, this is a long-lived series of products. So let’s check out Nissin’s Kitsune Udon – West-style!

Nissin Kitsune Udon Donbei (West) – Japan

#2415: Nissin Kitsune Udon Donbei (West) - Japan - The Ramen Rater - instant noodle

Detail of the side panels (click to enlarge). Contains fish. To prepare, add sachet contents and 410ml boiling water to the bowl and cover for 5 minutes. Finally, stir and enjoy!

#2415: Nissin Kitsune Udon Donbei (West) - Japan - The Ramen Rater - instant noodle

Detail of the lid (click to enlarge).

#2415: Nissin Kitsune Udon Donbei (West) - Japan - The Ramen Rater - instant noodle

The udon noodle block.

#2415: Nissin Kitsune Udon Donbei (West) - Japan - The Ramen Rater - instant noodle

A dual sachet.

#2415: Nissin Kitsune Udon Donbei (West) - Japan - The Ramen Rater - instant noodle

The powder soup base.

#2415: Nissin Kitsune Udon Donbei (West) - Japan - The Ramen Rater - instant noodle

Shichimi togarashi – a peppery melange.

#2415: Nissin Kitsune Udon Donbei (West) - Japan - The Ramen Rater - instant noodle

Finally, the kitusne – sweet fried tofu.

Finished (click to enlarge). The noodles sucked up a lot of liquid and were of great quanlity and character. They’re broad and very thick but flatter than other udon you might find in the refrigerated section. The broth is light and a little sweet with notes of fish. The kitsune (fried tofu) was sweet and soft. Indeed, I’ve found it to remind me of a big rectangular tongue. It’s good and compliments the soup and noodles perfectly. The little sprinkle of shichimi togarashi was nice. I can see why this is a popular bowl in Japan. 5.0 out of 5.0 stars.  JAN bar code 4902105002674.

Nissin Donbei Kitsune U d o n, Instant Japanese Udon Noodle with Fried Tofu, Strong Taste, 3.4oz X 6 bowls (For 6 Servings)[japan Import]

A Nissin TV advertisement.

Product Samples From Nyor Nyar Of Malaysia!

Okay so I live in a small town in between a lot of bigger ones called Kenmore. We get a LOT of power outages here, and it looks like we’re probably going to have one tonight! Remnants of typhoon Songda shot out of the south pacific and made a beeline right for western Washington state. This neat box of samples arrived about an hour ago – I asked for more of these since I really like them a lot and they were kind enough to send some! Let’s crack this box open!

The inner box!

48 packs! (click to enlarge)

They’re super good (click to enlarge)

I decided before the power goes out I ought to make some (click to enlarge). I added chinese sausdage, mung bean sprouts, fishballs, tau pok, coriander and chilli flake. Thank you – can’t wait to share these with friends!

Meet The Manufacturer: #2176: MAMA Instant Rice Vermicelli Yentafo Tom Yam Mohfai

The wheat noodle version of MAMA’s Yentafo Tom Yam Mohfai has been on the annual The Ramen Rater Top Ten Instant Noodles Of All Time list as well as the cups list for the cup version before. Very curious how the rice vermicelli will be! Looking forward to it – let’s give it a try!

Here’s the back of the package (click to enlarge). Contains squid. To prepare, add everything to a bowl and add 350ml boiling water. Cover for 3 minutes. Stir and enjoy!

The vermicelli.

The soup base sachet.

A granular mix, flecked with herbs.

A liquid sachet.

Dark and oily.

Finished (click to enlarge). Added Salad Cosmo mung bean sprouts, kamaboko, Dodo fish ball, tofu puff, fried garlic, chilli pepper flake and coriander. The vermicelli hydrated very well. I gave it my usual two cross cuts with a pair of kitchen scissors. The vermicelli has an ultra thin gauge. The broth is spectacular. It has a spiciness and a strong sweet and kind of sour taste to it which is very bright and refreshing. This is one of those that I just couldn’t stop enjoying until it was gone! 5.0 out of 5.0 stars! EAN bar code 8851876000128.

Instant Mama Rice Vermicelli Noodles Yentafo Tom Yum Mohfai Flavor

We took a bus to the President Rice factory in Ratchaburi. I was just amazed the whole time how the motorbikers would take advantage of any and every opening in traffic – sliding by the bus in such a narrow spot! I don’t think I saw a single accident or any police doing anything but directing traffic. A very busy place but everything seemed to flow so much better than at home.

Vegetarian MAMA Samples FromThai President Foods

A nice package came in the mail today from Thailand! I saw some pictures one of the people I met in Thailand posted on facebook that showed some neat yellow-packaged varieties I’d not tried and so I asked what they were.

Vegetarian tom yum and vegetarian shiitake mushroom and tofu! Very cool!

Both in pack and cup form. Thank you very much to Ms. Pojjana and Ms. Ratha for sending these – looking forward to trying them!

#1700: A-Sha Dry Noodle Hakka Flat Noodle With Za Jiang Sauce

Wow – number 1,700! Only 300 more to try until I hit the big 2000. Today, it’s a variety from A-Sha Dry Noodle of Taiwan. These are ‘Hakka’ noodles. Here’s a little info on the Hakka from Wikipedia:

The Hakka (Chinese: 客家), sometimes Hakka Han,[1][3] people are Han Chinese people who speak the Hakka Chinese language and have links to the provincial areas of Guangdong, Jiangxi, Guangxi, Hong Kong,Sichuan, Hunan and Fujian in China. Though the majority of the Hakka live in Guangdong, they have a distinct identity from the Cantonese people.

The Chinese characters for Hakka (客家) literally mean “guest families”.[4] The Hakka’s ancestors were often said to have arrived from what is today’s central China centuries ago and north China a thousand years ago. The Hakkas are thought to originate from the lands bordering the Yellow River (i.e., the modern northern Chinese provinces of Shanxi, Henan, and Hubei).[5] In a series of migrations, the Hakkas moved, settled in their present locations in south China, and then often migrated overseas to various countries throughout the world.[6] The worldwide population of Hakkas is about 80 million, though the number of Hakka language speakers is fewer.[2] Hakka people have had a significant influence on the course of Chinese and world history; in particular, they have been a source of many revolutionary, government and military leaders.[7]

Now, some info about Za Jiang from Wikipedia:

Zhajiangmian (Traditional Chinese:炸醬麵, Simplified Chinese:炸酱面. Literally “fried sauce noodles”) is a Chinese dish consisting of thick wheat noodles topped with a mixture of ground pork stir-fried with zhajiang (炸醬), which is salty fermented soybean paste.

Alright – let’s give this a try!

Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge). Contains meat. To prepare, boil noodles for 4 minutes. Drain. Add in contents of sachet and combine. Enjoy!

The noodle block.

The liquid sachet.

Has a kind of meaty oil and soy scent.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added A-Sha Bean Curd with shacha flavor. The noodles are thick and wide with a very pleasant texture and chew. The sauce imparts a nice homemade kind of flavor; reminds me of a kind of beef sauce with just the most subtle tinge of spiciness. Hearty stuff! 4.0 out of 5.0 stars.  EAN bar code 4715635851557.

Hakka Flat Noodle Chili Sauce

Here’s a short local news magazine show update about the top ten list of 2013 controversy.

Meet The Manufacturer: Re-Review: MAMA Instant Noodles Yentafo Tom Yum Mohfai Flavour

Here’s a good one – it’s on The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Instant Noodles Of All Time 2014 Edition! Seriously good. One thing that will confuse many is the name – it certainly did confuse me. Yentafo? Mohfai? Tom Yum – that I knew, but the others…  Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about yentafo:

Yong tau foo ( also spelled yong tao foo, yong tau fu, or yong tau hu yong tofu; yentafo in Thailand) is a Hakka Chinese food consisting primarily of tofu that has been filled with either a ground meat mixture or fish paste (surimi). Variation of this food include vegetables and mushrooms stuff with ground meat or surimi. Yong tau foo is eaten in numerous ways, either dry with a sauce or served as a soup dish.

It is commonly found in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, and in cities where there are large Teochew and Hokkien populations.

South East Asia

In South East Asia, the term “yong tau foo” is used to described a dish instead of the stuffed tofu item exclusively. The dish can contain a varied selection of food items, including young tau foo, fish balls, crab sticks, bitter melons, cuttlefish, lettuce, ladies fingers, as well as chilis, and various forms of fresh produce, seafood and meats common in Chinese cuisine. Vegetables such as bitter melon and chilis are usually filled with surimi. The foods are then sliced into bite-size pieces, cooked briefly in boiling broth and then served either in the broth as soup or with the broth in a separate bowl. The dish is eaten with chopsticks and a soup spoon and can be eaten by itself or served with a bowl of steamed rice, noodles, or Rice vermicelli . Another variation of this dish would be to serve it with laksa gravy or curry sauce. Essential accompaniments are a spicy, vinegary chili sauce, originally made with red fermented bean curd and distantly similar in taste to Sriracha sauce, and a distinctive brown sweet bean sauce or hoisin sauce for dipping.

It took me a lot of digging, but mohfai seems to be a special pot, the hot pot shown on the packaging. Let’s check it out again!

Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge). It’s tough to scan these shiny foil packs, so I found that putting them in grayscale and changing the contrast helps somewhat. Contains squid powder. To prepare, put everything in a bowl. Add 300ml boiling water and cover. Steep for 3 minutes and stir. Enjoy!

The noodle block.

The powder soup base sachet.

Has an interesting scent – smells pretty good.

The paste sachet.

Has a kind of meaty scent.


Finished (click image to enlarge). Added fried tofu sliced in half and stuffed with sauteed beef, ginger, bell pepper, garlic and soy sauce. Also added fried fishball, sliced squid, shrimp, bell pepper, green nira and coriander. The noodles are the standard ‘brown noodle’ that MAMA makes – they have a bit of seasoning and have a firm yet agreeably crumbly texture. The broth has a light spiciness and sweetness to it with just a skosh of heartiness from the oil that works perfectly. I was extremely pleased with this one the first time I tried it – extremely pleased yet again. 5.0 out of 5.0 stars! EAN bar code 8850987142611.

Get it here!

A TV commercial for MAMA Yentafo Tom Yum Mohfai.

Meet The Manufacturer: #1024: HoMyeonDang Premium Noodle House Tofu Fried Noodle

Here’s another of the HoMyeonDang private label varieties. This is a stir noodle – drain the noodles after cooking and add the sauce and stir. Let’s check it out.

Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge). Not sure if it’s vegetarian or not.

Unlike the last HoMyeonDang variety, this one uses a fried noodle block.

The liquid packet.

Has a rich beef smell.

The solid ingredients packet.

Looks like there is tofu in this one.

Last time the oil was sesame – not sure this one.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added green bell pepper, sweet onion, green onion, broccoli, and odeng. The noodles are great in a stir situation – nice and chewy and plentiful. The flavoring was spicy but also light. The tofu bits from the oatmeal colored packet were very nice. 3.5 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 8801073110595.

Ever wonder how tofu is made? Well, here’s a demonstration!

#854: Long Kow’s Crystal Noodle Soup Hot & Sour

Here’s an interesting one. This one’s got bean thread, something I am not usually thrilled with. Let’s see what happens.

Here’s the side panels – click to enlarge.

The lid is clear so you can see inside!

The bean thread whorl. I think it’s probably a nest or something; I don’t know what the correct term is.

The seasonings come in their own fancy packet – as a block.

I decided this morning to make some banana bread with chocolate chips. Actually, this is the seasoning block! Crazy looking, eh?

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added some baked chicken breast and a little Sylvia’s Queen of Soul Food hot sauce. Okay so the noodles aren’t too bad – not my favorite though. they’re clear and hard to break apart with the lips. The broth is pretty good – definitely a nice hot and soup soup flavor. The veggies and bits aren’t bad – they really go nicely with the hot and sour flavor. 3.5 out of 5.0 stars. Probably one of the best bean thread soups I’ve had yet. UPC bar code 086190000102 – get it here.

This is a wacky one!

A Monster Named Nian – The Story of Chinese New Year

#839: CJ CheilJedang Mild Bean Curd Stew

Saw this at H Mart a while back and it piqued my curiosity. Was kind of pricy for a little cup – close to $3… Wonder what’s in there.

Here’s the export label.

Side panels (click image to enlarge).

A potato noodle block – yep it’s made of potatoes and pea starch! Looks more like a bird’s nest.

The veggie packet.

Lots of interesting pieces here – very large!

The liquid packet.

Thick liquid.

Finished. (click image to enlarge)  These noodles aren’t my cup of tea. They’re so slippery and hard to eat for me. Really thin and odd. Kind of like bean thread but even harder to break with your lips. The broth is interesting; has an odd heat and flavor. The bits and pieces of veggies and tofu are wonderful – unfortunately not enough for me to say I really like this stuff though. Would love to try a kimchi red broth version of this – could be good! 2.0 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 8801007189192 .

Neat CJ video

Another CJ spot