Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Ottogi Sesame Flavor Ramen with Egg Block

Sesame flavoured ramen is pretty tasty.  Anything with sesame is usually tasty.  When I saw this instant ramen by Ottogi at the Korean supermarket I knew I had to try it out. I do like a few Korean instant noodles, but they are generally more spicy than I like (other than gomtang).  The mild levels of spice are usually fairly good, but the really hot ones are just too hot for me (when your lips get that burn - too hot for me).  I was hoping for sesame and spice in this ramen - rather than spice than sesame.
Ottogi Sesame Flavor Ramen.  The package is a nice bright yellow with a duller yellow background that is egg-like in tone.  What attracted my attention is the text saying "contains egg block."
Back of the package.  There are cooking instructions, a little blurb about sesame flavor, ingredients, and nutritional information.
I always like to see lots of packets with any instant ramen as it kind of adds to the allure of the instant noodle.  This one contains a freeze-dried egg packet, a chili-sesame oil satchet, and a regular flavour powder satchet.  The ramen is of a typical gauge.
Closeup of the egg block packet.  You can see the egg with some green onions and carrot shreds in it.  Egg blocks are pretty cool.
Sesame adds a lot to the taste of everything it is combined with, and the aroma of sesame is very appealing to most people. This particular ramen actually has more chili oil than sesame oil so it is more spicy than sesame tasting, although the sesame has a discernible note.  I'd be tempted to use a little less of this oil and try it with a little bit of pure sesame oil to bump up the sesame flavour as the spice level was stronger than the sesame.  The egg packet mostly dissolved into the soup, adding to the body of the broth, and you would find bits of egg here and there.  A fairly tasty soup overall and the noodles were firm with good texture after the 4 minutes of cooking.  For another sesame ramen bowl review from Nissin check this link out.
My finished bowl of ramen.  I added some leftover ham, and shanghai bok choy to round out the soup.

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Thursday, February 21, 2019

UHA Mikakuto Croquette, Cheeza, and other Japanese Snacks (Beer Optional)

Savoury Japanese snacks like traditional sembei rice crackers are really good.  Japan has produced all kinds of more modern snacks since and there really is an enormous variety to choose from.  If you walk into a konbini, you will find a great variety.  I'm sampling a few of these along with having a nice Asahi beer while watching some anime to relax.
Beer snacks assortment from Japan.
Always a favourite, these are Cheeza crackers that have 53% cheese in them. Great if you like crunchy and cheesy.
Shrimp curry cracker sticks with peanuts. Very savoury and curry tasting.
These little pretzel bites had a very nice smokey, pepper bacon flavour to them.
Ramen flavoured pringle chips.  These come in a mini-can and are even mini-sized chips.  Tasty, with a general ramen-like flavour.
UHA Mikakuto Croquettes
I've really wanted to try these for a long time.  Finally was able to order them online as I'm not in Tokyo again any time soon.  You can buy these at Don Quijote and konbini.  These are an interesting snack food as UHA makes an entire line of freeze dried snacks and also facsimiles of sui mai, gyoza, and croquettes.  How close could these croquettes come to the real thing, which are delicious?
UHA Mikakuto Croquettes.  The front of the bag shows a delicious looking croquette broken open to show the filling.  These bags are quite small, and you get five croquettes in a 30 gram bag.  A bag costs about 140 yen.
Croquettes inside the bag.
Closeup of a croquette.  Croquettes are deep fried for a crunchy, crispy exterior and a soft juicy interior.  The breading looks nice.
After ripping one open, you can see that the croquette actually has the structure of a croquette with different filling and breading layers.  Neat.
An actual croquette is really tasty.  Often it is a breaded exterior with a potato and meat filling on the inside.  You can get these at konbini and stalls on the street.  They are super tasty, quite hot if fresh out of the fryer and are just really good.  These UHA croquettes were fried and then freeze-dried I think to remove the moisture and preserve them.  Some kind of amazing food science goes into making these as they stay crunchy on the outside with a moister interior.  There is no meat in these, but meat extracts give the croquette an amazing meaty taste and with a good crunch.  I'd definitely bring home a few bags of these when I visit Japan next time and they would be a nice snack on a hike or a trip. I definitely recommend trying these.  Now onto my snack platter with my beer.
I had a handful of cheezas in the top left, followed by Cratz in the top right, then the curry sticks and peanuts in the bottom right, and then a couple of the croquettes in the bottom left.
These snacks went really well with the beer.  Three out of the four snacks were new to me too so it was a fun experience to try them out.  The Asahi beer was good as usual.

Beer and snacks.
A little extra bonus for some other savoury snacks follows.

Tempura seaweed and shrimp flavoured chips.  Both delicious.
These are an old Japanese staple.  Little mini-bags of battered peanuts, rice crackers, little nori wrapped sembei, and even some little dried sardines.  Good with beer.

Thats all for now.  Take a break, have a snack!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Candy and Snacks From Japan February 2019

Over the last couple of months I ordered some food and snacks from Hobbylink, Candysan, and Jbox, and also picked up stuff from local Asian supermarkets.  There is enough variety to satisfy both curiosity and taste buds from all of these locations.  Almost as good as having a konbini down the street by the train station (I think the konbini still wins out).

A photographic food journey follows and I'll try to cover all kinds of information about the various types of snacks and stuff.  I'll start with some shots of snacks ordered online and then cover the individual snacks.  I don't usually order mystery boxes of anything as I've usually tried some of the products before and I'm only interested in new / nifty or things I like. If there is cup noodles shown there will likely be a review of that somewhere on the blog.

Box from Candysan
Candysan is one of my favourite online sites to order from as they have a good selection, good price, and they are reliable.  They also have mystery boxes you can order if you cannot choose on your own.  The box I received was packed full of tasty stuff.
Box was full of stuff and well packed.

You can see a nice selection of instant cup noodles, chips, and some chocolate.

Box from JBox
I haven't ordered from JBox in a long time, but I visited their website and saw they had all kinds of goodies to order, some of which I hadn't seen elsewhere.  Ordering and shipping was quick and I actually received an SAL package in really good time.
This was a smaller box that was packed full.
What was under the first layer.
I bought lots of savoury things that are good with beer from JBox and some Melty Kiss chocolates.

Individual Snacks / Candy
This is the main event.  Lots of snack and candy photos follow.  Japanese food packaging is always really nice and they have many innovative snacks.
Calbee Jaga Choco Strawberry chocolate chips.
These are small cups and they don't contain a lot of chips, but hey, that's good for you right?  The strawberry chocolate wasn't bad, but it wasn't as intense as I thought it would be.  Nice, but I think the dark chocolate is better.
Calbee Jaga Chocolate.  I think the sweet chocolate and salty chips goes better in this one.
Nice berry chocolates from Melty Kiss.
UHA Croquette from their Sozai line of snacks.  These are freeze-dried snacks that are like little shrunken meat croquettes.  They were pretty good with a nice meaty taste to them.  I'll have a review of these later.  These croquettes were something I've been wanting to try for awhile.
Melty Kiss Green Tea - First Flush.  Should be nice.  One of the first green tea chocolates I ever had were the regular green tea Melty Kiss over a decade ago.  They were yummy.
Shrimp curry crunchy snacks with peanuts.  This is very tasty.
Cratz little tiny bacon flavoured pretzel nuggets.
You can see they suggets having the Cratz with a beer.  I agree.
These are a cookie from Taiwan.  They stay fresh for a year, come in various flavours, and are nice and crunchy. A nice cookie / biscuit.
These are little white chocolate ramune (kind of lemon) balls that had a sweet smooth chocolatey exterior over a crunchy candy interior.  Hard to describe, but the combination worked way better than I figured it would.  Tasty, but I like ramune too.
These are little cheese crackers with an intense and authentic cheesy taste (not like orange cheese powder in any way).  One of my favourites.
You can see they recommend you can have this with beer too.  I agree.
A more fancy version of these Meiji Bamboo Shoot Chocolate biscuits that uses match chocolate.  A very good snack with a nice crunchy chocolate cookie base and tasty matcha chocolate on top of that.  Box is gone.... eaten.
These are ramen flavoured Pringles.  Only in Japan!
These are cute little mini cans and even the Pringles are smaller in size.  The chips had a nice savoury, kind of ramen-like taste, but it could never be like a real bowl of ramen.
More deluxe green tea matcha Kit Kats.  Looking forward to this.
Balance Power is similar to Calorie-Mate.  Tasty baked energy bars - like a firm soft-baked cookie.  Lots of energy, vitamins and minerals.
Green tea chocolates with a chewy mochi core.
Bottled green tea.  Always refreshing.
This set of snacks was heavy on the savoury and crunchy type snacks.  I don't have a huge sweet tooth, but I do enjoy some chocolate and candy too.

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

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Ajinomoto Tokyo Style Shoyu Ramen with Chicken

Ajinomoto USA makes a bowl of frozen ramen soup with toppings that is ready after adding water and microwaving for 4 minutes.  Hmmm... That sounds good to me!  This is a Tokyo style shoyu ramen so it is primarily a soy sauce and meat broth based soup.  I like a good shoyu ramen so this is something I can really enjoy.

I found this at Costco Canada and have bought it a couple of times.  You buy a big box of six frozen ramen bowls and whenever you are craving noodles, you just need to pop one in the microwave after adding water.  Frozen ramen isn't new as you have been able to buy packages of frozen ramen with a soup packet from Asian supermarkets for years.  This product isn't exactly new either, but it is a fairly new product in the Canadian marketplace.  Ajinomoto is a Japanese company that has been around for well over a hundred years and makes many food products and seasonings.
Big box of ramen bowls with some nice package design.  The big red circle resembles a painted Japanese sun on a black background with a an attractively presented bowl of ramen showing lots of veggies and chicken.
Back of the box showing preparation and microwave directions.  Interestingly enough, the photo on the right side shows a side of fried rice and gyoza, both very possible ramen accompaniments.  I believe Ajinomoto makes frozen fried rice and gyoza.
One of the ramen bowls in the package.  You need to peel off the plastic cover that preserves freshness.  The bowls are not huge, and one for lunch would need something else like fruit or other food to complete the meal.
The heated ramen soup.  Basically add some water up to the fill line and microwave for 4 minutes to prepare.  I give it a little stir too to make sure that soup is mixed too.
This shoyu ramen is a decent soup, but it does cost more for the convenience factor as they provide the bowl, the ramen, the soup, and the toppings.  The aroma from the soup has a nice shoyu smell to it and the soup itself has a fairly rich savoury flavour.  The noodles have good texture and a nice chew.  You get a fair bit of grilled chicken with plenty of veggies like green onions, carrot slivers, corn, and red pepper strips.  I still prefer making my own instant noodles and adding my own toppings, but this is great for a quick fix which is why I have bought it several times.
Closeup of the noodles, chicken and veggies.

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