REVIEW: Nissin Thai Peanut Chow Mein

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.

16 thoughts to “REVIEW: Nissin Thai Peanut Chow Mein”

  1. I bought one of these. You forgot to mention that they come in trays made from thin cheap-ass *brittle* plastic, and are prone to cracking — which I didn’t notice until AFTER I poured the water in that the ramen noodles cook in — which promptly dribbled out all over the kitchen counter and floor. I quickly transferred what remained into a bowl, estimated how much water they’d need, and cooked it that way. The results were edible, but nothing to encourage me to throw out my collection of delivery menus. But several months later I saw them ON SALE, so I thought I’d try them again and bought a couple. Thinking that my first experience must have been damaged goods and a freak occurance, I go to prepare one and dammit, the same thing happens. When/if I ever get around to cooking the third one, you can bet I’ll give the tray a close inspection, or just dump the whole thing into a bowl to start with.

  2. I occasionally get a ramen craving…but not very often. Putting peanuts on Ramen noodles sounds kind of strange. Glad the sauce was good anyhow.

  3. I’ve eaten the chicken flavor version of this and I think it’s pretty good, it does have dried cabbage and other various vegetables. The Beef Teriyaki is nasty – powdered sauce and everything.

  4. I crave Ramen now. At 31 years old and gainfully employed, this is completely WRONG.

  5. .10 cent ramen cravings is one of those guilty pleasures all post college graduates are allowed to have. I think trying to upgrade what is simply the best terribly delicious affordable foodstuff out there is heresy. ^_^

  6. No vegetables…you should be complaining about the fact that it didn’t come with those weird mint leaf-looking things on the right hand side.

  7. I bought a case of the regular Nissan Chow Mein at Sam’s Club once. It was so nasty, I couldn’t force myself to eat it, even at approximately $1 a piece. This despite the fact that I eat a lot of ramen (stir fried with veggies and meat), and am not averse to the occasional Cup o’ Noodles. My kids wouldn’t eat that stuff either. We threw it out. My ramen consumption was at an all-time high when I was in law school (once ate it for 30 days straight, during that lonely, terrible time between student loan checks). My family used to send me care packages with ramen in it (we called it saimin, of course) from Hawaii, not realizing that ramen is cheaper on the mainland.

  8. You missed a positive – The ramen stopped you from living a life of crime and debauchery. Unless of course that’s a negative…or neither…

  9. You should try Maruchan Yakisoba. Its similar to the nissan and far superior. There is even a little packet of actual dehydrated vegetables. I get mine at Target.

  10. Thor – Mine seemed to work out okay, but it WAS in a very thin plastic tray. Sorry to hear it cracked on you, I will have the makers hunted down immediately.

    Domokun – You’re missing out! All the empty calories and salt…how do you survive without it?

    Chuck – We Asians like to put peanuts on everything. I think it was a mandate by the Qing dynasty, but don’t quote me on that.

    Annie – I have a chicken one too, but it’s still on the shelf at home. I think it’s the last one of these I’ll eat…can’t really justify the 900% price increase if they’re just okay tasting.

    Buffy – I would make a joke about Ramen packets containing cocaine, but I don’t see how they’d ever make a profit. So I will say this – ramen is completely fine and cravable. Many people eat ramen and still lead normal and successful lives. Crap…this is sounding like a herpes commercial, isn’t it?

    onyxpicante – It is indeed good, but I go for the $.25 cups most of the time since I am pretty much a sloth when it comes to convenience foods.

    MsRebecca – Mmmm…ramen steak.

    Marvo – I think that’s parsley. It’s hard to recognize it in its non-dried, neon green, tiny flavorless bits form. What a sad world we live in.

    AmberLB – That’s pretty thoughtful of your family, but it must be strange to eat something that costs 50 times more to ship than it does to buy.

    Terry – It can be either. On one hand, I could be in a maximum security prison somewhere, or I could also be the dangerous guy that gets to have sex with your girlfriend.

    marisa – Thanks for the tip. I’m normally wary of things I can’t pronounce, but I love Maruchan and I love Target.

  11. Although I never tried it, it doesn’t look very nice. I guess it should be all right if you eat it now and then…

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