Monday, August 21, 2017

Famous Ramen Shop Series Nakiryu Dan Dan Cup Noodle Review

Nakiryu Dan Dan Cup Noodle is a limited edition released in early summer 2017 as part of Nissin's Famous Ramen Shop Series of Cup Noodles.  It was co-developed between the ramen shop and Nissin and reflects upon the high standards of Nakiryu which is the second ramen restaurant in Japan to earn a Michelin Star after Tsuta.  

I had to order this Cup Noodle when I saw that Hobbylink was carrying it.  The product was backordered, but I wasn't going to be in Japan any time soon, and limited editions are only available for a short time.  I wanted to try this instant ramen pretty bad, way more than the Brazilian Chicken Cup Noodle and the Big Cup Noodle Mystery Meat.

When the cup of noodle arrived, I saw that it was in the customary, high quality, paper cup for Nissin.  It had plain, yet very professional graphics on the side that made extensive use of white.  The photo of the ramen on the top even makes it look like a deliciousl bowl of ramen.  Very nice!
Nakiryu Cup Noodle.  The cup is the size of the Big Cup Noodles and the paper cup has a kind of soft foam insulation on the outside that the graphics are printed on.
There is the sesame and red chile pepper oil packet glued to the top of the lid.  The noodles are ready in 4 minutes.
Closeup of the oil packet.
In Japan, and some Asian countries, instant noodles can be pretty deluxe, not just starving student food.  I was really wondering what the flavour profile and the soup and the noodles would be like for this ramen, but I wasn't really worried about being disappointed.  I was pretty sure that the Cup Noodle would be pretty tasty as it was representing the honour of a michelin starred ramen restaurant.
The lid and cup with the oil packet removed.  The restaurant serves the dan dan noodles with a scoop of ground pork and green onions on top.  As I said earlier, the cup graphics are very nicely designed to show off the ramen shop name and its signature product with sophistication.  Not your western cup of noodle.
I had also previously read a review of this at en.rocketnews and it just sounded so yummy, especially as they even favourably compared it to the ramen they ate at the actual restaurant itself.  It did sound almost too good to be true.

Dan Dan Cup Noodle is the portable version of Nakiryu's most popular ramen noodle soup.  Dan dan noodles are also a spicy noodle dish that originated from China's Szechuan province.  I've never had the Japanese ramen version before, but have had the tasty Chinese versions before and they are usually zippy with sesame and chili oil and thick noodles.
Shot of the front of the cup.  You can see the Michelin award at the top right.
Nice shot of the outside of Nakiryu and nutritional profile.  This particular ramen has 23 grams of fat, but it is a larger cup of noodle and I'm pretty sure the richness in the flavour comes from oils and fats, just like in a restaurant ramen.
Another shot of the front of the cup.
The top of the lid is peeled back to expose a whole pile of ingredients on top of the noodle block.  You can seen soup base powder (soy and chicken flavours), bits of ground pork, and lots of green onions.  The aroma from the package smelled a bit like soy, but I think I kind of had a whiff of vinegar in it too.
Shifting the ingredients off to the side, you can see that a thinner, fried noodle is used.  Nakiryu does use a thin noodle and this is a nice sign of authenticity.
Information about Nakiryu on the underside of the lid.
Hot water was added to the ramen, which then rehydrated for 4 minutes.  When I peeled the lid back, I saw a tasty looking cup noodle.  But it still wasn't done.  I added the sesame and chili sauce packet to it.  The red oil showed up brightly against the duller soup stock.  This was all then thoroughly mixed together to give the ramen soup an orangy red tinge that wasn't like your typical instant noodle at all.
It was now time to try this cup noodle to see if it lived up to the hype.  The colour of the soup was a orangy tinged tan colour, kind of creamy in appearance.  The aroma from the soup was complex with definite soy and sesame smells that made it smell really good.  There were little bits of ground meat mixed throughout and the piece of green onion were larger in size, not just tiny little bits.

My first sip of the broth definitely impressed me.  It was a nice rich soup with the sesame almost being a bit nutty at times.  There was a nice heat from the chili oil too, but it wasn't too spicy.  It was definitely one of the nicer instant noodle soup stocks that I have tasted.  Very impressive.  The noodles were nicely hydrated, with nice chew to them, and the thin noodles drew out the flavour of the soup that coated them with every bite.  The little bits of ground meat were also very nice, but the flavourful soup and noodles ruled.  This cup of noodle is a winner.  They should make it a regular flavour so we can always have it.  I think it would be kind of nice now to visit the actual Nakiryu restaurant, but these instant noodles will do for now.
Closeup of the noodles and some of the meat.  Not your normal Nissin cube of mystery meat.
Another shot of the cup outside where I ate it on a fine, sunny morning.
Shadow of the ramen. Burp!
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