My idea of a dream gift isn't an expensive piece of jewelry or a fancy new bag; it's a food-related souvenir from another country. So when Emily from SavvySugar paid a visit to Japan and brought back some instant noodles for me, I was over the moon. Two of my favorite things — travel gifts and ramen? It was almost too much to bear.
Emily couldn't read the package but found the instant noodles noteworthy because of an additional condiment: mayonnaise. (Yes, you heard that right.) It sounded questionable, but my curiosity meant that I had to give it a try. See what I thought of it when you keep reading.
I couldn't read any of the instructions but fumbled my way through the handy illustrations, first adding 540 milliliters of boiling water to the noodles, mixing in the condiments, and then allowing everything to steep for three minutes. There were not two but three packets to add to the noodles: a soy sauce base, a spice mix, and that dreaded packet of mayonnaise. I tasted it on its own: creamy, eggy, and a little sweet. All in all, not bad.
The final product was impressively addictive. There were actual discernible chunks of juicy cabbage leaves, which had been rehydrated in the three minutes of cooking. The sauce wasn't overly salty; it had a deep, mellow flavor that almost made me think of an aged balsamic vinegar. And that mayonnaise? It added body and a creamy mouthfeel that I'd never before experienced with instant ramen.
The noodles, I learned later, are called "Ippei-chan: Yakisoba From a Night Market," and they're meant to replicate the yakisoba noodles available at night market food stands in Japan. A friend explained to me that the packaging reads, "Once you eat it, you can't stop." I'd say that's about right. Have you ever had instant ramen or yakisoba from Japan?