Monday, December 17, 2018

Nissin Cup Noodle Indian Style Butter Chicken Curry Review

Butter Chicken!  Who doesn't like butter chicken, especially when it is combined with instant noodles?  I picked this up when I saw this limited edition cup noodle at Candysan.  Curry noodles are usually pretty good so it wasn't risky either.  Aside from that, if you have had their Chili Tomato instant ramen before, you know that instant noodles do work with tomato quite nicely.  The ingredients that go into butter chicken are chicken, tomato, a mild curry sauce (with all the spices that entails), cream / butter / ghee, and some other things. It is basically chicken in a creamy spiced tomato sauce.  
View of the butter chicken cup noodle.  You can see that it has a distinct oval branding for the butter chicken using a gold and dark green border that is overlayed on top of a regular cup noodle graphics.
The top has some Indian style motifs on it in light and dark green - some kind of leaf? Curry leaf? I'm not sure.  A packet of butter oil is on the top - for the butter part of the butter chicken I guess.
The side of the cup shows a nice picture of the butter chicken sauce and noodles with a bold green rooster up top.  There is some English lettering going around the gold band inside the dark green oval border.  It says "Your favorite quick, easy and portable meal just keeps getting better."  Graphics are different from any of the others I've seen.
There's lots of writing on this cup.  Manufacturers information and ingredients.
A blurb about butter chicken up top and the spices.  Nutritional information on the right, under the Taj Mahal.
Another view of the top of the cup.
Opening the lid reveals lots of topping and ground up curry sauce ingredients.  There is green onion, dehydrated chicken, red peppers, dehydrated tomato puree, curry sauce powder, and of course the instant noodles.
After adding boiling water and waiting three minutes, this is what I saw.
The noodles rehydrated nicely and the curry soup base needed a lot of stirring to fully blend all of the powder.  There was tomato puree on the top that needed to be mixed in.  The instant curries in general have a lot of soup powder as a curry is thicker than just a thin soup.  Some of the curry powder tends to clump at the bottom so you need to really mix it up and get at the edges of the cup.  After all, you do want all of the flavour to come out.  This might sound like a lot of work, but curry cup noodles tend to be really delicious for your efforts!  After all this I then added most of the butter oil to complete the flavour profile of the curry and stirred it again. There was a distinct butter aroma from the soup afterwards and you can adjust how buttery you want it as you add the flavour oil yourself.

The creamy looking soup tasted pretty nice, and you could tell it was supposed to be butter chicken, but not as thick and creamy as a real butter chicken.  Tomato was a distinct flavour in it with a bit of tartness and a buttery note mixed in, but the overall effect with the curry base was nice.  The noodles are a little wider than the regular noodles (I believe) as I think it works better with the thicker soup.  This was a good cup of noodle and I wouldn't say no to a second one. 
Closeup of the noodles with a piece of chicken, some green onion, and red bell peppers.

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Saturday, December 15, 2018

Woohoo! Candysan Japanese Food Box Has Arrived!

I've ordered food and snacks from Candysan before and my latest box has arrived from them!  I squeaked in through a postal strike and the Christmas rush.  Always nice to have a treat from Japan handy.  I replenished freeze-dried miso soup, instant noodles, some candy, and other snacks.  Candysan is one of the most reasonably priced places to custom order snacks and food from.  They also have some surprise boxes, but I've never tried those myself.
It is a fairly big box.  You could fit a three or four tightly packed 10 lb cats inside.  I had to move my cat off it twice as she kept trying to jump in.  Lots of Japanese stores include a little treat or a postcard as a thank you for ordering from them.
The contents were nicely packed inside the box, and it was full of tasty products.  Once I removed the top layer foam sheet, it revealed my order that is shown below.
There was a nice layer of freeze-dried miso soups on the top holding everything in place.
I had no problems with the way they packed my order.  It was well packed, and they efficiently used up the space inside the box.  The layer of miso soups included eggplant, mushroom, and vegetable.  All very tasty flavours.
After I removed all of the miso soups, and my cat again, it revealed my instant noodles, and snacks.
I ordered lots of cups of noodles, some Cheeza snacks, some matcha covered chocolate cookies, and some ramune chewy candy.  Not the biggest candy box or anything, but with December looming, there are always tons of treats and snacks all over the place at home.
Removing the snacks and a few of the noodles, shows more noodles!
So I ordered some butter chicken cup noodle, some chicken ramen cup noodle, curry cup noodle (a favourite), and regular cup noodles.  I won't be reviewing all of these, but they are handy to have around the house if a snack is needed.  I will be reviewing the butter chicken cup noodle soon though.
That is pretty much it for this box of food, but there is going to be some good eating for awhile around my place.

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Chef Kong Black Pepper Beef Noodle Review

Awhile back I reviewed the Master Kong Golden Stock Beef Noodles and today I'm slurping up Master Kong's Black Pepper Beef Noodle instant ramen bowl.  This is another cup of noodles from China and is another of the premium bowls from the Master Kong brand.  The Golden Stock Beef Noodle was pretty tasty and I'm expecting more of the same, but spicier!
The packaging is a slick black colour that looks quite fancy.  The dark packaging is going to make this puppy stand out on a shelf and grab your attention.  The black also provides excellent emphasis for the ramen bowl photo on the side of the cup.
Nice bold lettering on the lid of the cup.  You know it is premium when it says so!  The cup was a little dinged up in transit, but the contents are okay.
You can see is big juicy charbroiled steak on top of some nice looking noodles and broth.  If only a nice big steak were included, but that is a dream of course.
Ingredients, manufacturing information and nutritional information.
Some nice graphics showing the roasting, the black pepper, and beef flavour immersion.
Opening up the cup reveals three nice sized satchets of toppings and ingredients.  The noodles look to be a nice golden yellow.
There was a soup powder, an oil / flavour paste satchet, a big satchet of dried veggies and textured protein for the beef, and a folding fork.  The Chinese noodles often have a folding fork which is a nice touch.
The ingredients all added on top of the noodles.  You can see there was a lot of stuff to add to the noodles.  Got your money's worth on this noodle bowl.  You can see green onions, carrots, corn, some type of choy/cabbage and dried textured protein.
I added boiling water to the fill line, closed the lid, and waited four minutes or so.  I popped the lid open and gave everything a good stir to blend all of the soup base ingredients together.   
You can still see there are a ton of ingredients on top of the noodles.  This is always a good sign in a instant noodle bowl.
When the lid was opened, I could definitely smell the pepper and a savoury aroma.  I tasted the soup which was flavourful and definitely spicy, but not nearly as hot as I was thinking it could have been.  Again, I had problems trying to pick out the beef flavour, but maybe this is me.  The noodles were of a nice texture and firm consistency too so this was a pretty tasty and enjoyable bowl of instant noodles.  I'd have these again if I ever saw them at the supermarket.
I like it when you have other soup topping with a forkful of noodles!

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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Japanese Snacks I Would Stock Up On Next Time I'm In Tokyo

One of the best categories of things to bring back from Japan is snacks.  You'll encounter all kinds of snacks.  Do visit all kinds of shops and definitely each of the konbini chains like Lawson, 7-11, and FamilyMart.  You can even stock up on a few baked goods / cookies the day you leave or the day before to have something fresh to eat that reminds you of Japan after you get home.  This post is a list of sweets and snacks I would recommend that you try and if you like them, then bring some back!  I just don't bring drinks as they are heavy unless it is alcohol.
Lots of instant noodles to choose from.
Lots of different types of Kit Kats too!
Then there all kinds of Pocky, Pretz, and chocolate biscuits in general.
Yup.  You can bring baking like cake, cookies, and mochi back home.  Just pack it well in your carry on or your luggage if you have a box to prevent squishing.  This is a big treat that is nice for the first few days to weeks after you get home - check the best before dates.
FAMIMA brand baking from FamilyMart - quite nice and individually packaged.
Dorayaki.  These are pretty much like cream or red bean filled pancakes - fluffy and delicious.
Baumkuchen spit cake.  Nice treat to remind you about a Japanese favourite.
Baumkuchen in a plastic tray.  This is a larger one, but you can buy small ones at the konbini.

All kinds of gum, candy, gummies, and other sugary treats.  The Japanese are really good with fruit flavours and are sugar masters.  These are some of the best types of things to bring back as they are compact and resist crushing.
Mintia sugarless mints and sweet candy.
Hard candies - ramune or Japanese lemonade is a favourite of mine.
Chewy milk candies are really good too.
Yogurt chews.  All kinds of flavours.  Puccho is a good brand and tasty too.
Fruit gummy candy of all kinds and packaging.  Always get a bag or two to eat later.
Three different flavours if you cannot decide!

Snacks Both Traditional and Modern
Japan has made all kinds of traditional preserved food snacks and crispy snacks of various types.  Some of these even have a modern take on them now.  Try some and bring back what your taste buds like.
White chocolate or green tea chocolate covered freeze dried strawberries.  An explosion of berry flavour and chocolate in your mouth.
Crackers of various types.  These fried rice / tapioca / prawn crackers are delish!  You can find these types of crackers and giant prawn crackers being sold in the konbini too.
Munchie mix Japanese style with little sardines.  You can get it without the fish too.
More chocolate covered strawberries and deep fried veggie chips.
These were delicious.  Umeboshi plums in sheet form.  I needed to bring back a box of these.

The Japanese are also chocolate masters.  Their famous Kit Kats to other kinds of chocolate are a must.  You can get a lot of this at the konbini or supermarket too.
Strawberry Cheesecake Kit Kat in a Mt. Fuji box.  This is actually one of my favourite types of Kit Kat as the strawberry flavour is really good.
What you get inside the box.
All kinds of strawberry chocolates.  Japanese strawberries are really good and their flavour is well represented.
More Kit Kats.
Strawberry and green tea chocolate biscuits.

Meltykiss chocolates are always good and make good souvenir gifts.
The green tea Meltykiss are awesome.
Bamboo shoot biscuits covered in chocolate - various flavours can be found.

Crunchy Snacks
All kinds of potato chips, and other crunchy fried snack food can be found.  Much of this makes for great snacks to go with beer or just with tea or a soft drink.  There is great variety to choose from.
These UHA croquette, sui mai, and freeze dried mushroom snacks. 
These little cheese biscuits are so cheesy and delicious.
All kinds of potato chips, sometimes you can find limited editions too.
These biscuits are a temporary meal replacements / energy bars.
Lots of battered and fried peanuts and crackers.
This type of potato chip is more common now, but was really cool when they were first introduced in Japan as they look like french fries.

Soups and Noodles
You can get a taste of real Japanese food too in the form of various kinds of soup and instant noodles with Japanese flavourings.  There are all types of these, with some really good soup and noodles available.
Amano freeze dried miso soup - awesome stuff.  They even have other kinds of stews and things - like camping food.
Variety snack pack of instant noodles that can sometimes be found in supermarkets like Ito Yokado or maybe Don Quijote.
You get five kinds of ramen inside, but they are all small small cups.  A real sampler.
The various konbini chains carry all kinds of deluxe instant cup noodles.  Sometimes they are limited edition (like the Nakiryu above) and sometimes they have a house brand that is really good as it represents a famous noodle shop (7-11 has a number of these).  Do check out their selections.
One last word on Japanese snacks and chocolates.  More and more of these are now available outside of Japan at your local Asian supermarket.  Do check out what you can buy at home - even if it costs a little more or double what it does in Japan.  Buy the stuff you can't find at home in Japan to make it more special.

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