So long 2014, you were good to me. You gave me my first house, introduced me to new friends, and even provided the opportunity to work from home. You will be missed and remembered fondly. But 2015, that doesn't mean I'm not happy to see you, you with your endless possibilities and sense of adventure. I embrace you wholeheartedly and pledge to give you my all.
I promise to expand my culinary horizons by eating my way through the unfamiliar reaches of the Vietnamese grocery store and by cooking with ingredients I’ve never heard of. I'll seek out the off-the-beaten path eatery and order the pickled pig's feet with abandon.
So in short, my new year’s resolution is to try it all – because life’s too short to eat boring.
So what does my long-winded declaration have to do with instant yakisoba? Everything. I’ve been making instant noodles for a solid 21 years now; in fact, it was the first food I ever made myself. And although ramen gets a bad rap, it's unapologetically my favorite comfort food and I always have a rainy day stash in the back of my pantry.
That being said, my ramen repertoire is shamefully limited to a handful of brands. So I'll start the new year by trying some new noodles - Myojo Ippei–chan Yakisoba Japanese Style Noodles to be precise.
My 1st new food of 2015 was a home run. These noodles were surprisingly delicious; the pasta had just the right amount of ramen chew and the brown sauce was deeply satisfying in that umami sort of way.
As a quick primer, yakisoba is a popular Japanese noodle dish that literally translates into ‘fried buckwheat noodles’. Yakisoda is similar to Chinese lo mein and is usually stir fried with cabbage and pork and topped with seaweed powder (aonori), fish flakes (katsuobushi), and sweet mayonnaise.
Before I even tried the noodles, I was impressed with the thoughtful packaging. Once you peel back the tight plastic wrapping, you’re presented with a smartly designed lid with detailed and well-translated instructions.
There is not 1 but 4 seasoning packets (all essential I assure you): sweet worcestershire-based brown sauce, dried cabbage, seasoned seaweed ‘Spice’ sprinkles, and mustard-mayo.
To prepare, you simply sprinkle the dried cabbage over the noodles, pour in boiling water, and steep for 3 minutes. When it’s time to drain, you pull back the orange tab on the corner of the lid and drain from the nifty built-in “colander” slits. Now for the fun part, mix in the brown sauce and “spice” packet, then top with mayo-mustard. Enjoy while vegging out to your favorite T.V. show (I highly recommend Anthony Bourdain’s Part’s Unknown, Season 3. SO GOOD!).
The Myojo yakisoba is a solid 8 out of 10. The noodles stay nicely al dente, since they’re not sitting in broth getting mushier by the minute. There's a distinct “Japanese” flavor that I attribute to the bonita (dried fish flakes) and garlic in the sauce. The mayo adds a welcome hint of creaminess and the seaweed spice acts like a finish salt, adding little bursts of flavor.
I wasn’t expecting much of this product, since how good could noodles in brown sauce really be? But this yakisoba rocked, and I'll certainly be incorporating them into my regular instant-noodle rotation. I would highly recommend giving them a try!