I'm not a ramen fan. In fact, I'm pretty much not into noodles of any kind, though I will eat pasta on occasion. I guess part of the reason for this is the fact that I lived at home during college and never had to subsist on cases of Top Ramen to make ends meet and therefore was denied the dubious salty, carby pleasures of dehydrated noodles. Nonetheless, there is no insignificant sacrifice I won't make on the altar of snack food reviewing so I decided to buy something I never would have purchased before starting this blog.
Bei is the fellow on the left. His twin Bi is on the right. They are dressed in Chinese garb because they endorse ramen. It's important to have ethnically correct cartoon mascots, after all.
Though it boggles the mind that the Japanese need to sell seasoned ramen noodles in little snack packages when they have so many opportunities to eat proper ramen, they do indeed sell it in tiny packets for snacking purposes. I found this 21 gram (.7 oz.) packet in the 4 for 99 yen (99 cents) bin at the local 99 yen shop along with several other flavors.
Since I don't eat ramen, I wasn't familiar with the company that makes these, Oyasu Company (おやすカンパニ). Their slogan, by the way, is "plentiful and happy." They make a variety of ramen under the name "baby star" which has twin mascots named "bei-chan" and "bi-chan". Put their names together and it's "baby" ("ei" in Japanese is pronounced similar to "a" in English). The mascots are garbed differently depending on the flavor of the product. The pizza ramen has the "gondolier Bei" on it because pizza is Italian. If you explore their web site, you'll see that Bei is quite the international dresser. There's cowboy, boat captain, astronaut, farmer, and maharajah Bei among others. Because Japan is a paternalistic culture, poor old Bi only gets one extra outfit.
As one might expect, the bag is full of crispy ramen noodle fragments. They smell like typical pizza seasoning (tomato and cheesy whey, mostly) with a hint of some sort of meaty smell. The ingredients reveal that beef extract is included as well as paprika and cheese, tomato and pizza powders. They are very crunchy, but in such small pieces that it's a bit hard to eat them. You have to grab a whole bunch between your fingers, drop a few down your shirt, and aim the remainder into your mouth. They're actually pretty good, but the pizza flavor saturates your taste buds pretty fast and you get more of a meat flavor mixed with a salty ramen taste.
These are pretty nice and I think they'd satisfy if you wanted a super salty junk food fix in a very tiny portion. The whole bag is 105 calories. It's total trash, but it's enjoyable. I guess that's why so many young people live on ramen throughout their college years.