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Nissin Choice Ramen Savory Herb Chicken

Written by | August 11, 2008

Topics: 5 Rating, Food, Ramen

If you’ve ever experienced any financially lean years, you’ve most likely eaten enough ramen to have it circle the globe several times over. During this time, lunch was not a matter of what bistro to hit up, but what flavor packets to mix together. You know, for that exotic taste of the orient. You probably also never took a moment to make light of the fact that you were your heftiest during these “lean” years; your brain being too bogged down by the tremendous amount of fat in your head to appreciate concepts like irony and humor.

This is never a good time in anyone’s life, but Nissin’s new Choice brand of ramen noodles promises to help you get you through these years looking slim and feeling like a worthwhile contributor to society. At around two for a dollar, they’re still affordable, though not in that “buy ‘em by the ration crate” sort of way that regular ramen can be when it’s on sale. The package boasts lower fat, less sodium, and a fancy-sounding “Savory Herb Chicken” flavor that is meant to distinguish it from lesser ramen.

The back of the package reveals that their secret is in a new air-drying technology that means that the noodles are not deep fried. From my tried and true formula of “Food + Deep Fry = Good x 2 (type of coating),” I figured that these noodles would not be as tasty. The noodles are no longer a two-layered brick, but rather a disc that conforms more easily to the perimeter of your pot. I garnished with green onions and a sprig of cilantro for a half-assed presentation that made me feel like I actually cooked something.

My first impression was that the noodles were about as good as I could expect packaged ramen to be − not gummy, not too soft, and with just the right amount of firmness. The soup, however, was a different story. With just 25% less sodium than the notoriously salty regular ramen, you would expect the flavor to be just right. The soup turned out to be bland and muted with no hint of herbs in it whatsoever.

Choice ramen could be a great product if the soup base had any flavor whatsoever. I would pair the surprisingly tasty noodles with a regular ramen packet, but that would sort of defeat the purpose of “lower sodium” and thus the appeal of “healthy” ramen. Damn you, soup packet, why must you go and embarrass my poached egg in such a way? Head back to the factory and come back with a healthy version of MSG.

(Nutritional Facts – Half package – 140 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 480mg sodium, 28 gram of carbs, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 4 grams of protein, and 10% iron)

(Editor’s Note: Thanks to Amy for suggesting the Nissin Choice Ramen. Ace’s blood pressure would also like to thank Amy.)

Item: Nissin Choice Ramen Savory Herb Chicken
Price: 49 cents
Purchased at: Northgate Market
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Healthier version of one of the unhealthiest items on the open market. Affordable, though not stupidly cheap like regular ramen. Noodles maintain a nice, reasonably firm texture as you’re eating.
Cons: Not a lot of flavor in the flavor packet at all. Noodle to soup ratio is a little too high for my liking. Healthier, but not exactly health food.

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Nissin Homestyle Chicken Flavor Cup Noodles Premium

Written by | May 22, 2008

Topics: 5 Rating, Food, Ramen

Cup Noodles is pretty much the lowest common denominator when it comes to food and it is so cheap that I believe it is the one thing you can steal from a store and not get punished for it. With it being on the bottommost level of the food chart with Wonder Bread and O’Douls non-alcoholic beer, the only way for it to go is up, and it has, albeit just a little, with the Nissin Homestyle Chicken Flavor Cup Noodles Premium.

You see that word “premium?” Not many goods can have it attached to them. It’s reserved for products that are the finest of the fine, the distinct of the distinctive, and the overpriced of the overpriced. Only things like beer, condoms, wines, chocolates, coffee, hookers, diapers, beef jerky, crackers, maple syrups, teas, nuts, toothpastes, personal lubricants, cake mixes, liquor, water, canned fish, vitamins, band-aids, doggie treats, canned poultry, macaroni & cheese, brownie mixes, shampoos, conditioners, honey, breads, muffin mixes, and dozens more can have the label of “premium” affixed to them.

What puts the “premium” in the Nissin Homestyle Chicken Flavor Cup Noodles Premium? Nissin thinks it’s the chicken-flavored powder and freeze-dried chicken meat that gives it its “homestyle chicken flavor.”

I will wait while you throw up a little in your mouth after hearing “freeze-dried chicken meat.”

Yes, freeze-drying food is usually reserved for astronauts and cereal marshmallows, but the Noodle Nancies at Nissin have created a way to have freeze-dried poultry in a well-insulated, environmentally-unfriendly styrofoam cup. I guess it goes well with the freeze-dried vegetables in it.

While Nissin believes one thing, I personally believe what makes it “premium” is not the freeze-dried chicken meat, it’s the font used to make the word “premium.” If graphic design has taught us anything, it’s that script fonts instantly make things high-class. Having a bikini baby oil wrestling match? Turn something crass into something with class by using script fonts on the promotional posters and flyers. Would you believe something is “premium” if they spelled it in serif or sans serif fonts? I think not.

The premium you’re going to pay to have the pleasure of consuming this slightly higher quality cup of noodles is going to be around 20 to 30 cents more. Surprisingly, the freeze-dried chicken kind of tastes like the chicken in Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup, which is either a good thing, if you’re Nissin, or a bad thing, if you’re Campbell’s. The broth has a natural chicken flavor with a bit of onion and it even looks more natural than the yellow stuff you get with the regular chicken flavored Cup Noodles. Despite that naturalness, I kind of prefer the original version, since the idea of freeze-dried chicken kind of freaks me out and the whole thing smells funny.

If you want to spend a little bit more on your Cup Noodles for those special occasions, and still want an amount of sodium that can kill small rodents, the Nissin Homestyle Chicken Flavor Cup Noodles Premium is perfect for you.

Or you could just steal it.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 container – 310 calories, 12 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 1180 milligrams of sodium, 42 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugar, 8 grams of protein, 20% Vitamin A, 4% Calcium, 20% Iron, and 85 cents less loose change to jingle.)

Item: Nissin Homestyle Chicken Flavor Cup Noodles Premium
Price: 85 cents
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: More natural chicken flavor than regular chicken flavored Cup Noodles. 3 minutes to prepare, less if you prefer your noodles al dente. Zero trans fat.
Cons: Freeze-dried chicken. Smells funny. Mmm…over 1,000 milligrams of sodium. A little bit more expensive. As unhealthy as regular Cup Noodles. Throwing up a little in your mouth.

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Nissin Thai Peanut Chow Mein

Written by | July 11, 2007

Topics: 3 Rating, Food, Ramen

Ever been so broke that your roommate kicked you out for secretly hoarding his/her Cheese-It crackers in a pillow case next to your bed? What about that patent for that invisible dog leash that you didn’t know was already invented? Are you tearing up right now and violently shaking your head in the mirror as you read this? Of course you are. We’ve all been there, but the key is to keep from descending into a life of bootlegging porn and slinging rocks to keep your head above water.

If you’re ever down on your luck but still too prideful to live off of plain old bagged ramens, Nissin is on your side. Indeed, searching through the neighbor’s newspaper to find 10 for $1 deals on your favorite flavors can be humiliating and soul-crushing. Opening the bag and having the bits of ramen spray everywhere around your filth-ridden hovel can be even worse.

Luckily, for just ten times the price, you can avoid all of this. That’s because Nissin’s Chow Mein brand comes in its own microwavable container that you just add water to and cook for a few minutes. If they did their marketing research correctly, all of this crazy technology will make you feel like a bigger person.

After you add water to the fill line and watch it bubble in the microwave, it comes out hot and ready to eat. This should be the part where you take a satisfying bite and show the world that you will indeed make it in life, but something’s very wrong.

Son of a bitch…it’s not chow mein at all! In fact, it’s just regular ramen — as I should’ve expected all along. I would at least expect them to make the noodles bigger or change the taste a little, but they are the same ramen noodles we’ve all come to love and loathe.

What else is the packaging lying to me about? I see on the upper left-hand corner that it claims to have “stir fried noodles with plenty of vegetables” but I can’t figure out why. Obviously, the noodles have never been touched by human hands, let alone a chef next to a wok. I’m pretty sure I didn’t stir fry it in the microwave. If I did, I should be taking Criss Angel’s spot on Mindfreak. About the claim “plenty of vegetables,” I can’t imagine that tick-sized bits of red and green mystery specks could be any way construed as such things. How many lies must a man endure?

Luckily for Nissin, I am a very easy person to please. Apologies tend to warm my heart, even when they are half-assed and meaningless. I have had a whirlwind of emotions with these noodles, but I was giddy with glee as I found a small packet of crushed peanuts inside the box. Oh, the fun those peanuts and I had. After I sprinkled them atop the mound of ramen noodles, I was happy once again.

The noodles themselves tasted pretty good. They were a bit gummier than I would like, but still perfectly edible. The sauce was sweet, sour, and spicy, just as the packaging said it would be. By itself it is a rather meager meal, but the addition of your favorite meat or a simple fried egg would make it a decent lunch. All in all, the purchase did not change my life, but it kept me from a life of crime and debauchery.

Item: Nissin Thai Peanut Chow Mein
Price: 99 cents
Purchased at: Stater Bros.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Pros: Sauce tastes pretty good. Very easy to cook and eat. Small packets of crushed peanuts.
Cons: Not actually chow mein. No vegetables. Misleading claims about food preparation. Stealing cheap food from roommates.

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REVIEW: Nissin Cup Noodles Souper Meal Chicken Flavor

Written by | September 26, 2005

Topics: 5 Rating, Asian, Ramen

Nissin Cup Noodles Souper Meal Chicken Flavor

(Editor’s Note: Impulsive Buy reader and starving college student, Amanda, asked me if I would be willing to review products that don’t need to be refrigerated and can be prepared by just adding water. I thought I could do a week of products of like this, but surprisingly, I couldn’t find many. Thank goodness for dried ramen.)

If I were on the game show Family Feud and the following question was asked, “What things would you typically find in a men’s college dorm room?” I would probably say the following things:

1. Textbooks that won’t be opened until midterms.
2. A computer with gigabytes of porn and illegally downloaded music and movies.
3. Enough empty beer cans to have several lanes of beer can bowling.
4. Several bongs made out of either glass, beer cans, or fruits.
5. A potpourri of free condoms from the Condom Fair on campus.
6. Cases of dried ramen.

During my freshman year in college, I ate a lot of dried ramen. However, during my sophomore year, my dried ramen consumption dramatically decreased when my friend attending the University of Arizona told me about a student there who died from malnutrition because the only thing he ate was dried ramen.

Today, I hardly ever touch the stuff. However, recently I picked up a Nissin Cup Noodles Souper Meal Chicken Flavor. Now when they say “souper,” they really mean “souper.” The styrofoam bowl is probably more than twice the size of a typical Cup Noodles bowl, which means it is probably big enough to use as a helmet for beer can bowling.

The Souper Meal may have been bigger than a typical Cup Noodles, but preparing it was the same. Just boil some water, peel back the lid, pour the boiling water into the styrofoam bowl, cover the bowl with the lid, wait for three minutes, peel back the lid again, stir, consume, and then wish you could afford some real food.

Each Souper Meal comes with three individual packets, one for the chicken flavored soup base; another for the freeze-dried vegetables, which includes corn, mushrooms, carrots, onions, and cabbage; and another for the Finishing Touch flavor packet.

Finishing Touch?

That’s something I expect from an Asian massage parlor, not from an instant Asian soup dish.

Well I tried the Souper Meal with and without the Finishing Touch flavor packet, and after trying it, I wished that it was the Asian massage parlor Finishing Touch instead, because it really didn’t add anything to the Souper Meal. Either way, it tasted and looked like a typical chicken flavored Cup Noodles.

While eating the Souper Meal, I began reading the nutritional facts on the side of the bowl and found out that the entire bowl had 2,540 milligrams of sodium, which was possibly enough to either raise my blood pressure or turn me into a human salt lick.

However, I also found out that it has four grams of dietary fiber. Although, it probably isn’t enough to negate the nine grams of saturated fat, which is 50 percent of your daily allowance.

After reading all of that, I put my fork down and dumped the rest of the Souper Meal down the drain, because dying via a sexual asphyxiation fetish is fine, but dying by the hands of dried ramen is not.

Item: Nissin Cup Noodles Souper Meal Chicken Flavor
Purchase Price: $1.49
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Tastes like regular chicken flavored Cup Noodles. More than double the size of a regular Cup Noodles. Four grams of dietary fiber in every bowl. Styrofoam bowl may make a good helmet for beer can bowling.
Cons: Helluva lot of sodium and saturated fat. Fogs up my glasses when I eat it. Not much “souper” about it. Dying by the hands of dried ramen. Finishing Touch packet wasn’t the Finishing Touch I really wanted.

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REVIEW: Maruchan Creamy Alfredo Instant Lunch Ramen Noodles

Written by | December 24, 2004

Topics: 0 Rating, Ramen

creamyalfredo

Editor’s Note: We at the Impulsive Buy would like to wish all of our regular readers a very Merry Christmas. We hope your holiday is filled with good times with family and friends.

We also hope it is filled with awesome gifts that you don’t have to return, although most likely you will have to return some because they are either too big or totally lame.

Here at the Impulsive Buy all we want for Christmas is just more stuff to review or gift cards to buy stuff to review.

Finally, as our crappy Christmas gift to all of our readers, we present to you “‘Twas The Day Before Christmas: The Impulsive Buy Edition”

‘Twas the day before Christmas, I had nothing to review.
Holy crap! What the hell was I supposed to do?
I looked in the cupboard, which was almost bare,
Except for a cup of ramen noodles on the top shelf there.

“Oh, hell no,” I said shaking my head with disgust on my face.
Even though I bought the ramen so I could review it in the first place.
Creamy Alfredo Ramen Noodles, I bought it over a month ago.
It was so cheap, it only took 33 cents of my dough.

I boiled water for this ramen flavor I’ve never had before.
Pulled back the lid of the ramen to smell what was in store.
Took a quick whiff and then closed the lid as quickly as I could.
Then I said a quick prayer, got my rabbit’s foot, and knocked on wood.

“People actually eat this stuff,” I couldn’t believe.
It smelled so bad that I let out a few dry heaves.
If I can’t stand the stench, I wonder what eating it would entail.
No wonder it was labeled “Reduced Price for Quick Sale.”

I let it sit for the instructed three minutes, after I added the hot aqua.
But I let it sit for another five, as I prepared to eat something I didn’t wanna.
Taking deep breaths, meditating, and affirmations didn’t help.
“Do it for your readers,” I said to try and encourage myself.

Maruchan Creamy Alfredo Instant Lunch Ramen Noodles Closeup

I peeled back the lid and looked at the milky white mess.
Ooh, a whole 1,370 milligrams of sodium goodness.
The aroma of the Alfredo Ramen came up to my face.
I had a few garbage cans next to me, just in case.

After a few more dry heaves, I think I was ready to consume.
If it smells bad, it’s gonna taste bad, I was going to assume.
I picked up my fork and gave the Alfredo Ramen a stir.
It really looked like vomit in a cup, I so badly wanted to defer.

The first bite was not bad, but it could have been a total fluke.
I took a second bite, “Oh, man. It was. I think I’m going to puke.”
Tried to force myself to eat a third, but my body wouldn’t take the risk.
I put down my fork, because I had more than enough of this.

I went to the sink and poured the Alfredo Ramen down the drain.
If only the garbage disposal had taste buds, it would know my pain.
After a few spins of the garbage disposal, it was all disintegrated.
But even with all of it gone, I still felt so nauseated.

So I sprang to my car and headed to the nearest drive-thru.
A burger and fries will help me cope with what I’ve just been through.
After eating fast food and getting some rest, I began to feel all right,
Merry Christmas to all and avoid Alfredo Ramen for the rest of your life.

Item: Maruchan Creamy Alfredo Instant Lunch Ramen Noodles
Purchase Price: $0.33 (on sale)
Rating: 0 out of 10
Pros: Dirt cheap.
Cons: Smells like puke. Looks like puke. Tastes like puke. May make you puke.

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