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Meow Mix
Asian Market #4 - Ramen Rumble
// article by Meow

Wa-hey, it's the finale of the Asian Market Chronicles. Be sure to check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 accordingly for context, and have fun reading today's adventures in: Instant Ramen.

NONGSHIM ZHAWANG NOODLE DISH WITH ROASTED MILD BLACK BEAN SAUCE

Kicking this whole thing off is a flavor from a company I'm pretty familiar with. Nongshim, I believe, is a Korean company, but this package, among others I've had in the past from this brand, is made in the USA. They make a wide variety of instant-noodle dishes and are a favorite go-to since, of the "pricier" ramens, they are so widely available, though usually you'll only find something like Black Soup, Spicy Beef Soup, or Kimchi Seafood.

Anyways, the cooking is simple for this one, you open up the package and dump the noodles into about 350mL of water and open up the three inserted packages of dried vegetable flakes, dried flavoring, and vegetable oil and toss those in the pot and bring to a boil for five minutes and serve. What we have from this is a nice bowl of stir-fry-looking noodles with chunks of veg and a shallow bit of sauce. The sauce is a little sweet and savory, the noodles have a nice bite to them, and the vegetables are great, having soaked up the sauce while cooking. The sauce really binds to the noodles, too.

One final note, when I say that these noodles are "pricier", I mean they're about $1-2 USD per pouch compared to whatever your neck of the woods' cheap 20 cent packages are. I, however, find the extra cents spent to be well worth it, having a lot more flavor and leaving you feeling satisfied more than the usual. If you see Nongshim brand stuff, give them a try some time. This flavor of noodles, though, I will give:

MALA HOT CHICKEN FLAVOR RAMEN

Here we have a Korean pack o' noodles, the instructions demand I boil the noodles and included vegetable flakes for 5 minutes, then drain until only a few spoons are left, then to add the sauce packet to the pot, give it a short fry session, and finally, serve. The included vegetable flakes, though, disappointed me since there was barely anything inside. Like, there was about 1/20th a mushroom, and a bit of dust, and that's it. The noodles soaked up the water real good when cooking, getting nice n' plump. I also gave the sauce pack a taste while boiling the other stuff and found it to be really nice and spicy, but a bit lacking in flavor. It has a hint of chicken ramen flavoring in the back but isn't remarkable aside. Once mixed, served, and left to cool until able to be eaten, the sauce binds well to the noodles, but the sauce tastes much the same. I'm not really impressed.

KANG SHI FU NEVER MET NOODLES ARTIFICIAL BEEF WITH SAUERKRAUT FLAVOR

The name alone is weird enough, but the container has NO written instructions on how to prepare it, not even inside. And most of this is in English to boot. I guess they just assume you're aware of how to make a pot of instant noodles, just boil water and pour it in and add the stuff to it and give it a mix. Inside we have a standard disc of noodle, three packets of stuff, and a fork, of all things.

Water boiled, stuff dumped in, water poured, and a couple minutes waited, and the results are... mediocre. Pretty much tastes like a slightly sour version of any ol' beef-flavored cup of noodles you can buy anywhere, but has some pieces of sauerkraut in there for good measure. For some reason, I found myself coughing as I ate it, and only as I was eating it. It was, in total, meh. Bit disappointing, I was thinking there would be bits of beef-flavored mystery nuggets in there with the kraut, but I guess not. But hey, it's cheap. The fork was also alright to use, though it's like a miniature salad fork and not really optimal for eating noodles after they've been broken up a bit.

And thus ends the Asian Market Chronicles. If I had to get one thing again of the whole set, it would probably be the matcha mochi. Maybe some day I'll return with another handful o' goodies in stow to try out for another bout of reviews, but until then, take care, and remember: keep it groovy. (insert heartfelt goodbye song here)


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