Tag Archives: west coast

#700: Meet The Manufacturer – Nissin Chikin Ramen (Local)

Here we go – this is the original instant noodle. This is what Momofuku Ando first sold in Japan! This is the real deal. Here’s a link to my post on Momofuku Ando Day!

My wife got me this five pack of Chikin Ramen for my birthday from Japan on eBay – unfortunately, the shipper wrapped it in newspaper and a plastic bag – the packs were all damaged in the extreme and only one had enough of the form to use for review.

See, this little dimple in the middle is what it;s all about. You’ll see what I mean.

Here’s the front of the individual pack.

This is the back of the big 5-pack bag (click image to enlarge). So what you do is put everything in a bowl, drop an uncooked egg on top, add 450cc water and cover for 3 minutes.

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

Here’s our poor specimen (this was the nicest one out of all five packs – all the others were mostly like the pulverized bits on the underneath of this one) there’s no seasoning packets – it’s all infused into the noodles.

I decided in honor of this ‘Meet The Manufacturer’ week and being review #700, I thought I’d make a video showing how I made this stuff.

The finished product (click image to enlarge). It seems like this would be about as hum-drum and normal as you can get, but quite honestly, there’s really nothing else that I’ve tried that’s like it. I’ve had some noodles that are pre-seasoned and tasted somewhat similar, but they don’t come out like this. The noodles have a very light, almost ‘springy’ texture to them. They bulk up when steeping and you end up with a pretty decent portion. The broth is thin; like I said, all the seasoning is in the noodles themselves. The flavor is kind of like a chicken sesame. I think calling them ‘Roasted Ramen’ when they were available in the US for a short time was an apt title. These are a work of art and a testament to Momofuku Ando‘s ingenuity. With the egg, it’s a good, filling meal. 5.0 out of 5.0 stars!!! UPC barcode 4902105001103 .

Chikin Ramn commercial.

Making of a Chikin Ramen commercial.

#699: Meet The Manufacturer – Nissin Cup Noodles Salsa Picante Shrimp Flavor Ramen Noodle Soup

Here’s a new flavor of Cup Noodles!

Back of the cardboard packaging (click image to enlarge).

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

Here’s the pre-seasoned noodle block and veggies. Just need some boiling water…

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added water – that’s all. The noodles aren’t bad – I imagine anyone looking at this site has a pretty good idea of how Nissin Cup Noodles noodles are. I like the taste of this one – notes of cumin, chili powder… Light shrimp flavors too . Veggies aren’t bad and the little shrimps are pretty good! 3.5 out of 5.0 stars. UPC barcode 070662031025 .

Neat little video about Cup Noodles’ inception.

Japanese Cup Noodles commercial.

#698: Meet The Manufacturer – Nissin Original Chow Mein Orange Chicken Flavor

Here’s a new flavor of chow mein to check out! Sounds pretty good – I like orange chicken.

Here’s the detail from the package bottom (click image to enlarge).

Here’s what you see when you take off the plastic wrap (click image to enlarge).

A decent sized noodle block.

The liquid seasoning.

Guess I should have used the little white sake cup for this one, huh? Well, it’s more of a orange/brown color than black.

Veggies!

Here they are – looks like a decent amount of them too!

Finished (click image to enlarge). I added some Bird’s Eye Stir Fry vegetables, some oven roasted turkey breast and some Ajishima Kim Chi furikake. The Noodles are pretty good – definitely has a kind of texture and quality I usually would expect from perhaps a frozen dinner – they’re pretty good! The flavor is nice – a slightly spicy orange chicken. The veggies are really good – all over and of good quality. This is a nice one! 4.0 out of 5.0 stars! UPC barcode 07066208728 – get it here.

Nissin Chow Mein commercial.

Funny Nissin Japan commerciall.

#697: Meet The Manufacturer – Nissin Spoon it Rich & Hearty Savory Chicken Flavor Ramen Noodle Soup

Whoa check this out – Spoon it? This is something brand new from Nissin. Apparently, it’s been released on the east coast. I was told that noodles like this do better in colder climates (funny how the weather worked this year!). A box of noodles… Let’s check this out!

Here’s the back and side panels – click it to enlarge.

Interesting – three little bags of noodles! They remind me of the Big Cup Noodle ‘spoonable’ style noodles.

Three flavoring packets…

Check out this powdery stuff! A decent amount of it.

Finished (click image to enlarge). The noodles in this one were interesting – very soft. The broth pretty much all but disappeared and after the 3 minutes of standing it turned into more of a sauce. This reminds me slightly of one of those ‘Noodle & Sauce’ side dishes they have in bags at the grocery store. It was very quick to prepare and pretty good! I made it for my son, Andy – he really liked it! I liked it too – 3.25 out of 5.0 stars.

Andy was really excited to be able to try some brand new on the market noodles!

Nissin Filipino commercial

Nissin India commercial

#696: Meet The Manufacturer – Nissin Big Cup Noodles Spicy Chicken Flavor

Here’s a new one from Nissin – Spicy Chicken Big Cup Noodles. Let’s give it a try!

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

These noodles are definitely different. No packet – no detectable veggies. What’s great is they’re almost like potato chips or those Pik Nik shoestring potato snacks in a way if you try then uncooked.

Finished (click image to enlarge). This was a quick one, but that’s because it’s very simple and to the point. You add room temp water up to the line, microwave for a few minutes and after a minute of cooling, you’re good to go. No packets – just add water and cook. So let’s start with the ‘spoonable noodles.’ They’re great – like a cross between rice noodles and egg noodles texture-wise. There’s plenty of them too. The broth was very nice too – had a little thickness to it and the flavor was chickenny and lightly spicy.  If you’re looking for spicy habanero heat, don’t look here. Pretty good stuff – convenient and fast. 3.5 out of 5.0 stars. UPC barcode 070662030455 .

Looks like King is what they call it in Japan!

Or they call it Big there, too!

Meet The Manufacturer: Interview with Nissin Foods USA – Makers of Top Ramen, Cup Noodles & More


Welcome to the second installment in the ‘Meet The Manufacturer’ series! This one’s with Nissin, makers of the ever-popular Top Ramen, Cup Noodles and the like. They sent a nice package of different instant varieties to sample – most of them new to me. The following interview is with Senior Marketing Manager, Linda Chung, facilitated by Senior Marketing Coordinator Scott Akazaki.

TRR: Nissin was the first instant noodles I had ever tried in my life – I am thrilled and thoroughly appreciate the chance to do this interview with you – thank you!

To start, can you give a little background on how the company was founded and a little about its history in Japan?

NISSIN: Mr. Ando began the company as part of a humble family operation back in 1948. Faced with sparse food sources after World War II, Mr. Ando realized that a quality, convenient ramen product would help to feed the masses. His goal was to create a satisfying ramen that could be eaten anywhere, anytime. In 1958, Nissin introduced “Chicken Ramen”, the first instant ramen. Ironically, it was considered a luxury item, since Japanese grocery stores sold fresh Japanese noodles (udon) at one-sixth the cost of Mr. Ando’s new food concept.
Still, Mr. Ando was convinced that his revolutionary new method of preparation would sell. The concept seemed simple enough. All users would have to do is simply remove the ramen from its package, place it in a bowl, add boiling water, cover the bowl, and wait three minutes. The conservative Japanese food industry, however, rejected the product as a novelty with no future. They had never been so wrong.
Soon, Chicken Ramen was selling beyond even Mr. Ando’s wildest expectations. Before you could say “instant”, more than ten companies were rushing to put their own versions out on the market. By the end of 1958, grocery shelves were crowded with this new staple for the Japanese kitchen. From this point on, Nissin Foods began introduction of a long list of successful and innovative ramen products.

TRR: For those who might not be familiar with all of them, what lines of instant noodle products to you offer in the United States?

NISSIN: We are constantly pushing the boundaries of instant ramen as it should be with our new products – the latest is Big Cup Noodles (It features shorter, wider noodles in a paper cup). Other products include:

Cup Noodles
Top Ramen
Souper Meal
Chow Mein
Chow Noodles
Bowl Noodles Rich & Savory
Bowl Noodles Hot & Spicy
Ramen Bowl (just launched)
Spoon it (just launched)

TRR: When and why was there a need for Nissin Foods in the United States?

NISSIN: Nissin Foods introduced Top Ramen into the U.S. in 1970. Mr. Ando saw an opportunity to introduce a new type of noodle soup product to the states. As he showed his products to grocery store buyers, he realized that no one in the US had ramen sized bowls. This insight, combined with getting served coffee in a Styrofoam cup on a business trip flight, was the genesis of Cup Noodles.

TRR: I know that the varieties available in Japan and the product line in the United States differ quite a bit. Why is that?

NISSIN: This is based on developing tastes that are suitable for a specific region of the globe. This was especially true in the 1970’s when the concept of instant ramen was foreign, we didn’t want to compound this with Asian flavors.

TRR: How do you determine when it is time to retire a flavor of Top Ramen and how do you go about determining a new one to offer?

NISSIN: This decision is based primarily on what the customer wants. We tend to let them “vote” with their wallets.

TRR: I commonly am asked if I am worried about sodium levels in all the different instant noodles from around the world I review. How would you recommend people balance their enjoyment of instant noodles and keeping them as part of a healthy meal?

NISSIN: You’ve already answered the question. It’s all about balance. Our products are ideal when you are looking for something fast, convenient and portable (and tastes good).

TRR: Often, I hear about people microwaving Cup Noodles. Is this the correct method of their preparation? Is it recommended to do so?

NISSIN: Cup Noodles was designed for optimum eating experience with boiling water.

TRR: When I was very young, my mother introduced me to Nissin Roasted Ramen, which was a close resemblance to Nissin Chikin Ramen, the first product produced in Japan in 1958 by Nissin. After Roasted Ramen was discontinued, I found an Asian grocery in Seattle and found Chikin Ramen – but it’s been decades since I’ve seen Chikin Ramen available anywhere. Any chance you’ll bring Roasted Ramen or something like it back?

NISSIN: That is up to our parent company in Japan. There are some government regulations about importing items that contain a certain amount of meat/chicken. This is especially true after the Mad Cow scare a few years back.

TRR: I recently discovered you new line of Ramen Bowls. With flavors like Kimchi and Hot & Spicy, are these meant to compete with similar Korean products?

NISSIN: We are trying to offer our consumers an authentic Asian experience.

TRR: I’ve noticed many instant noodle manufacturers are located in Southern California. Aside from the fact that it never rains there, why was this the spot you picked for your factory?

NISSIN: I’ll have to get back to you on that one. It may be because of the established Asian population that was here in the 1970’s. This was the natural first consumer base for our products – first/second generation Japanese who missed this type of ramen noodles.

TRR: How many packs and cups of Top Ramen and Cup Noodles are made every year?

NISSIN: 3.9 billion instant ramen products (including Nissin) have been consumed in the US in 2010. See the link below for more information.

http://instantnoodles.org/noodles/expanding-market.html

TRR: Can you tell my readers about any new and exciting products to look for in the near future?

NISSIN: We are launching new flavors for our Big Cup Noodles line: Roast Chicken and Spicy Chicken.

TRR: Finally, when you enjoy instant noodles, what kind do you like and what do you add (if anything) to them to make them your own?

NISSIN: What’s my favorite Nissin product? It’s like asking someone to pick their favorite child! Chow Mein is my favorite Nissin product. Stir fried noodles without the hassle of cooking or getting takeout. If I am eating instant ramen, it’s primarily due to time constraint so, I enjoy it as-is.

TRR: Again, thank you very much for this opportunity to do this interview! Thank you for making such a great product so many enjoy and have a great day!

Well, there you have it! Thanks again to the folks at Nissin USA for the samples and the interview! This was a lot of fun and I’m sure folks will be interested in seeing the new products I’ll be reviewing in the next week or so!

Show Your Noodles Week 11

This week, we have two new submissions for Show Your Noodles! Anyone want to send some submissions for next week? All you need to do is take a picture of your noodles – fancy, sloppy, covered in cheese and bacon – whatever! There are no bad Show Your Noodles pics! Send your pictures and your first name, last initial and where you’re from as well as a desciption of what your noodle concoction is comprised of to [email protected] and those noodles’ll be featured in next weeks post! My wife does the judging so here we go!

In 1st place, Min Min T.’s of Malaysia’s submission:

I had this Chinese herbal noodle on the first day of 2012.  It was also my first time seeing a double-yolk egg. A good sign for new year! 🙂
I also wrote a post about it – LINK

In 2nd place, here’s Rob P. of Olympia, Washington’s submission!

Spicy Sesame KOKA with sliced ham, mushrooms, carrots, and green onions.

Thanks for you great submissions! Looking forward to seeing more next week I hope!

#695: JFC Japanese Style Noodle Soup Curry Flavour

Here’s another one from Ramen Place. Japanese curry is always good – curious how this will pan out!

Here’s the side panels (click image to enlarge).

I gotta say, it’d be awesome to have a t-shirt with this one it – just an oval with ‘noodles’ inside…

This packet is seriously full!

Veggies…

Contents ready for hot water and a 2 1/2 minute spin in the microwave.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Wow this is awesome – the udon came out very nicely – chewy and wide-gauge. The soup (if you can call it that; it’s more of a gravy) is full of great sweet and slightly spicy Japanese curry flavor. The bits of veggie flake appear here and there but are almost inconsequential – the curry gravy is front and center here. I loved this – 4.5 out of 5.0 stars. UPC barcode 01152194325  – get it here.

I like the Golden Curry stuff – lots of other eye catching brands and flavors as well!

Cooking With Dog – Bukkake Udon

#694: Vina Acecook King Cook Chicken Flavour Kimchi Noodle Soup

Here’s another one that my sister brought me back from

Canada! Today, my son Andy will be enjoying this one. He’s agreed to let me have a couple bites and a slurp of soup to do the review. Thanks, Andy and Sue!

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

Here’s the noodle block.

As I’ve said before, I’m a little surprised to only see a single seasoning packet in with a Vina Acecook product – usually a lot more going on.

Here’s the contents. This one’s interesting – add the noodles to 400ML boiling water for two minutes, then add the seasoning and cook for one more minute.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added some naruto and kamaboko as well as one slice of carrot, one slice of bamboo shoot and two small pieces of baby corn, as per the master’s request. The noodles are pretty good – the broth is quite good – it has a nice chicken broth taste to it. I like this stuff – not too shabby. 3.5 out of 5.0 stars. UPC barcode 8934563733162 .

Vina Acecook commercial

VPop?!

#693: Chewy Stir Rice Vermicelli Indonesian Gado-Gado Flavour

Here’s another one my sister brought me back from Canada! This one piqued my interest – gado-gado? Wikipedia says:

Gado-gado (in Indonesian or Betawi language), also called Lotek (in Sundanese) for its cooked version – differed from lotek atah or karedok for its fresh and raw version of the vegetable covered with peanut sauce and pecel (Javanese language) is an Indonesian dish comprising a vegetable salad served with a peanut sauce dressing.[1] It is thought to have originally been a Sundanese dish. It is widely served from hawkers carts, stalls (warung) as well as in restaurants and hotel both in Indonesia and worldwide.

Gado-gado is part of a wide range of Indonesian dressing & salad combinations, along with lotek, pecel and karedok. In many places, to retain authenticity in both the production and flavor, the peanut sauce is made in individual batches, in front of the customers. However, since the dish has gained popularity (because of the increase of Asian-themed restaurants) Gado-gado sauce is now mostly made ahead of time and cooked in bulk, although this is probably more common in Western restaurants rather than in Indonesia. Compared to Western and Indonesian salads, Gado-gado has much more sauce in it. Instead of being used as a light dressing, the vegetables should be well coated in the sauce.

With that being understood, it sounds almost slightly like a pad thai variation when mixed with noodles. Well, we’ll see!

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

This is an interesting noodle block; more like a rounded and spun rice vermicelli toupee!

Ah! Hello my little four tined friend!

Here’s the paste packet.

Has a very nice odor – got a smidge on the old finger so tried it – yup – peanut butter!

No labelling on this one – what could it be?

Found it on the back – this is a vinegar-based liquid seasoning.

Here’s the vegetable sachet!

Here’s the veggies – looks like a nice amount.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added some kizami shoga (pickled ginger), fried shallots, two eggs and a little Krazy Mixed Up Salt. Well, the noodles aren’t bad – they don’t clump too badly for rice noodles. The flavor? Very bland. The peanut sauce is a slight hint and unfortunately the veggies weren’t great either. Had high hopes for this one but uh-uh. 2.25 out of 5.0 stars. UPC barcode 652283002846 .

Chewy commercials!

Awesome video on making homemade gado-gado – it pauses for a second but it fixes itself.

#692: Samyang Savory Vegetable Flavor Assorted Vegetable Ramen

Here’s another one from Ramen Place! I’ve tried the cup version which just said 60 Ingredients, but it’s got to be the same thing here, just in a pack. Let’s give it a try!

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

Here’s the noodle block – a big one.

Powder seasoning pack.

Lots of angry reddish powder! Grrr!!!

Vegetable pack – good sized too!

Loads of nice looking veggies!

Finished (click image to enlarge). I added some Bird’s Eye Stir Fry veggies, an egg which I boiled with the noodles, a little pinch of cheese and some Ajishima Kim Chi furikake! So starting with the noodles: chewy and very Korean. A slightly wider gauge than a regular instant noodle and a better quality noodle. The broth is great – a nice vegetable flavor and a good spiciness to it. The veggies were appropriately everywhere and re-hydrated nicely. I liked this one – and then I added all my stuff to it and it was even better! Good stuff – 3.75 out of 5.0 stars. UPC barcode 8801073110168 – get it here.

Samyang commercial

Korean Burger King commercial – pretty bizarre!

Viral Ramen News – 반반라면 – The ‘Half & Half Ramen Pot!’

The ultra-mega hip happening noodle pot of the future is here!

Actually, not exactly here – this hot new item is in Korea! The ‘Half and Half Noodle Pot’ ( 반반라면 ) is apparently all the buzz on Google. I read an article stating that it’s the most popular search right now – weird, eh? Maybe not – this is a pretty neat little invention!

From reading the Chosun article, the idea is that on one side you’d cook jjangmyeon and the other you’d cook a ramyun soup. Jjangmyeon is more a noodles with sauce on top affair as you can see in the photo. Here’s a link that has a video, although unless you can speak Korean, I’m not sure you’ll understand what’s being said.

I want one of these 반반라면  things! I only see one thing though; if the 반반라면  gets your noodles done, it’s going to be hard to dump the stuff out. Is there going to be a 반반라면  ladle or a 반반라면  serving spoon? I guess it wouldn’t need to be split though, would it? I dunno – looks like an interesting thing and hopefully they’ll be available to all those families that can’t decide which instant noodle to have for dinner!