Asian American Frozen Foods: Ajinomoto’s Shoyu Chicken Ramen Bowls

I was at Costco the other day, and noticed this new frozen meal – Ajinomoto’s Tokyo Style Shoyu Chicken Ramen Bowls. I’m always looking for something I can bring to work, since I had mentioned, the company cafeteria kind of sucks. So the fact that this packing has six dishes for $12.99, that definitely caught my eye.

Although, as usual, the dish alone probably wouldn’t be that filling for lunch. I’ll probably have to bring something else, like a salad. In any case, you really can’t too much about how the dish is going to taste after taking it out of the box:

But once you remove the plastic, fill the plastic container with water until a certain line, and microwave for about four minutes, this is what you get:

I was pleasantly surprised – the dish tasted pretty decent. On the packaging, the instructions suggest:

“Add some soy sauce, black pepper, or a soft boiled egg to customize your ramen!”

And I am sure that will make the ramen dish taste better, but I’m not going to bring soy sauce, etc. to work with me. Again, the meal size was okay – but I’d definitely still be hungry in a few hours if I only had this for lunch.

Traveling Japan: Ramen Alley

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If you look up “ramen alley”, you’ll find that there are such alleys all over Japan. If you happen to be in Tokyo, one of such alleys is in the Tokyo Station itself. It has some ramen shops that features signature ramen from all around Japan. When we got there, we counted about 10 different ones.

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Despite the selection of delicious ramen, there are three reasons I had a bit of an underwhelming experience at this particular alley. Maybe my tales of ramen woe will help others have a more pleasant experience ramen tasting. Nevertheless, I think I would have better enjoyed my experience if I had time to try all the different shops. Also, it’s not like my ramen experience was bad. Don’t get me wrong, the ramen I had was good, but I was looking for a particular ramen taste.

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Traveling Japan: Cup Noodles Museum @ Yokohama

Cup Noodles Museum

Yokohama is a sort of an oceanside suburb neighborhood of the Tokyo area. I remember the first time I ever went there was because a friend of my mom’s wanted to take us to some restaurant out there, and I remember the area generally being nice and relaxing but not particularly remarkable or exciting to visit in general. For anyone in the know (which I was not until my friend dragged me here), though, Yokohama has a jewel of a travel experience in its Cup Noodles Museum, especially for anyone who loves instant ramen.

The first thing I noticed when I walked in to the museum, aside from the gift shop that I saved for last, was a very Steve Jobs Apple Store minimalist modern design. That and a giant cup noodle you can take pictures with.

I HAVE THE POWER!!!! #cupnoodles #nissin #ramen #cupnoodlesmuseum #instantramen #cupnoodle

A photo posted by Carlomus Prime (@carlomusprime) on

Not only can you see a room with wall-to-wall displays of every cup ramen package ever made and a museum that tells the story of Momofuku Ando’s Edisonian trial-and-error process to create the perfect instant noodles after living through the hunger of post-World War II Japan, you can make your own ramen noodles at the Chicken Ramen Factory, package your own personalized cup noodle bowl at the My CUPDNOODLES Factory, AND feast upon international noodles galore at the Noodles Bazaar. This museum is a one-of-a-kind experience that makes Yokohama a must for anyone visiting Japan.
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Lucky Peach magazine

The growing prevalence of food culture has put America long past the days of grilled cheese (-product) sandwiches and unfulfilling TV dinners. We know the difference between macaroon and macaron, that grass-fed beef tastes better, and why Monsanto needs to go down. Chefs, and even the food itself, have become celebrities while we take both our cameras and cell phones to the table.

If you don’t know your taiyaki from takoyaki, or still think food trucks are only for construction workers and industrial park tenants, then you’ll need to brush up on your gastronomy. Try skimming through the pages of the quarterly Lucky Peach magazine ($12 per issue or $28 for a subscription).

A culinary journal by momofuku majesty David Chang and New York Times’ food columnist Peter Meehan, Lucky Peach will provide hours of gustatory pleasure and enlightenment. Contributors like Anthony Bourdain and Ferran Adria share their insight while cult-favorite cooks like Christina Tosi and Wylie Dufresne share their recipes. Each issue has a prevailing theme, and the magazine is currently on its third issue.

Still not convinced? Maybe this live ramen demonstration by David Chang will do the trick.

Ramen Baths, Now With Video! WTF?

There’s one thing to love ramen, but it’s a whole separately issue when it comes to wanting to bathe in it. We’ve posted about the exclusive noodle bath at Yunessun Spa in Japan, but here’s an actual video of it. Makes you…kind of not want to ever eat ramen again.

Who in their right mind would think that a hot, oily and salty pork broth is actually good for your skin? If that’s true, then bathing myself with Tom Yuan soup or slathering my face with Si Racha should also do the trick. Maybe even the orange chicken from Panda Express to sooth puffy eyes?

Oh, Japan. Please don’t ever change. XOXO, Moye.

Edit: Actually, it seems like the bath water just smells/tastes like ramen broth and is not actually real broth. Japan, you disappoint me. Please change. XOXO, Moye.

The Life Cycle of Instant Yakisoba

Okay, I admit it; I’m nuts for yakisoba, what is basically glorified ramen. But when you’re in a world where Asian goods aren’t as easy to get, and the stars and moons align just right, you would be amazed at the things that you find. And on my last trip to Atlanta, my mother introduced me to Myojo Ippei-chan Instant Yakisoba Noodles.

The Japanese have really turned up the heat on how instant noodles work these days. Back in college, it was just a little cup that you peeled back the cover, put in the hot water and steep the noodles. With this yakisoba though, there’s a lot more to the actual process:

  • Actually had to put in vegetables that were dried before.
  • Steep the noodles and veggies in hot water
  • Peel back the drainage spout, drain the water
  • Peel the rest of the cover and put in the rest of the sauces, mayo, spices, etc.
  • Mix it up
  • EAT!

Maybe it’s just me, but this entire process was actually enlightening that the Japanese found another way to make something that was cheap and great in my high school and college years into something that was even more delicious and actually pretty ingenious packaging!

Photo Credit: (firelace)