I don’t understand why prepackaged, dehydrated ramen noodles get such a bad rap. They’re quick, convenient, and taste as awesome as you’d expect from something providing your weekly recommended allowance of sodium.
All I can think of is that their rock-bottom reputation is solely related to their rock-bottom price. Yes, they’re cheap. (You’d be hard pressed to find something edible in your local grocery store that costs less.) But shouldn’t that make them even more awesome?
Think about it. What if you could get that Bugatti luxury car you always wanted for thirty dollars? Or that Magnum bottle of Dom Pérignon for a buck fifty? Why does the act of spending less money for an awesome product provoke such derisive behavior?
I don’t know either. But let’s leave discussions such as these to professional philosophers and move on to more important things.
Pick Your Poison
The astute reader will note that I’ve already used the word “awesome” three times. There’s a simple reason for that. I like prepackaged, dehydrated ramen noodles. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb right now and say that prepackaged, dehydrated ramen noodles might just be my favorite food. And of the myriad of prepackaged, dehydrated ramen noodles taking up precious shelf space, this one is my favorite:
Unfortunately, it’s also the hardest to find. I’ve tried at least six large, well-stocked grocery stores in about a one hundred square mile area, and only one of them carries this flavor of this brand. So I stock up every chance I get. You should too.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: what’s the difference? Aren’t they all the same? No, they’re not. Trust me, this is the one you want.
Let me start by stating: I don’t know what the heck Oriental Flavor is. The orient refers to an area upwards of ten million square miles. It technically includes Saudi Arabia, India, Mongolia, Indonesia and everything in between. So I’m not sure how a thousand different flavor palettes can be distilled into a single “oriental” flavor, but there you go. (I’m equally baffled why there isn’t a corresponding Occidental Flavor that tastes like cheeseburgers, fries, and a Coke.)
Four basic ingredients make up ramen noodles: flour, oil, salt, and magic. The first three ingredients account for ninety-eight percent of the mass; magic, the remaining two. But therein lies all the difference.
I would be perfectly content not knowing what makes up the magic. After all, peeking behind the curtain only dilutes the experience. But, for better or for worse, companies are not allowed to hide what they put in food, so the magic is there for all to see. Given that, let’s pull back the curtain.
- Calcium Silicate. More like Calcium Scintillating.
- Caramel Color. If it’s good enough for my carbonated drinks, it’s good enough for my noodles.
- Citric Acid. The best kind of acid.
- Disodium Guanylate, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Succinate. You had me at disodium.
- Dried Leek Flake. I will admit I prefer fresh leek flakes, but dried will do in a pinch.
- Garlic Powder. Check.
- Hydrolyzed Soy Protein. Check.
- Maltodextrin. Check.
- Monosodium Glutamate. MSG is a neurotoxin. A yummy, yummy neurotoxin.
- Onion Powder. You know, I bet this stuff would be good on my Kashi.
- Potassium Carbonate. Isn’t this what they froze Han Solo in?
- Sodium Alginate, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Tripolyphosphate. It was at this point in recipe development, the cooks were standing around and nodding: “needs more salt.”
- Soybean. Yes, singular.
- Spice. Could you be more specific?
- TBHQ. Personally, my favorite preservative.
- Wheat. Yes, the last ingredient (after all that) is indeed “wheat.”
Man, that sounds good. I want some right now. Hang on a sec…
Dang it. I’m out again. Great.
I sure hope you stocked up when I told you to back there because I’m going to need to borrow a package or two. I’ll gladly repay you Tuesday.