Thursday, September 9, 2010

Oyatsu Chicken Ramen (mini packs)

Being a consumer is a complicated experience. People are constantly attempting to manipulate you into buying things you probably don't want or need, or possibly even enjoy. The really skillful ones will convince you that you want something. The gifted ones will get you to buy something even when you are fully aware that you are being completely manipulated and really don't want something.

I don't really like ramen (or any kind of noodles), and I don't care for cutesy junk which litters my apartment, so how is it that I ended up buying this package of mini bags of ramen with a cute little mascot-related toy? Well, they suckered me in for two reasons. First of all, the packaging is just too cool given that it is chicken ramen and the design resembles Japanese egg cartons. It is excellent design. The second is that I run this blog, and this looked like a nifty little thing to talk about because it has more depth to it than your average chocolate bar. So, here I am, with a 100-yen pack of ramen and a toy that I will be sending off to my sister so that she can give it to some child as a prize when her library holds a reading contest. Speaking of contests, toys, and prizes, stay tuned for tomorrow's post...

To make the toy work, you remove the chick from the egg (it's held in with a magnet), run it backwards across a flat surface, (carefully) put the chick back in and it'll go rushing forward (if it doesn't fall over backward because you were careless when you put the chick back in). The chick has a magnet which releases a lever when you replace it.

I actually have eaten ramen a few times in the past, but not this brand or type. When I first came to Japan, I would occasionally buy it for lunch at work because it was cheap, fast, and easy to prepare. I realize that it is nutritionally a zero, and that it is pretty much just salt and bad carbohydrates. That's probably why it's the food of choice for many college kids, but I'm 46 years old. I'm not sure this is what my body is meant to tolerate. Fortunately, the packages are very small so I didn't have to eat too much at once.

The instructions tell you to use 150 ml. of hot water, which is about 3/4 of a cup. My plan from the start was to sample this a bit by itself, then to add some cooked chicken breast and onions to the soup to add protein. I also had a raw tomato and salad on the side. I'm not sure if that helps with the fact that this has 560 mg. of sodium, but it makes me feel a bit less guilty about having it at all.

As far as taste goes, this is actually relatively mild on the saltiness. It tastes weakly of fried chicken and is a little oily. The noodles are your standard cheap ramen fare. They're limp and tasteless, and don't seem to absorb much of the flavor. The strange thing is that I sampled a broken piece of the noodles before adding the water, and they are very flavorful in their dry form.

This wasn't bad at all, but it wasn't exciting either. I'm very happy with the portion size, and if you're a fan of ramen and don't want to knock back a huge bowl of it, this would fit the bill. It's supposed to be the "cup-a-soup" size of ramen. You can't expect much, as this is instant ramen. I wouldn't buy it again, but I'll eat the second packet.


Dani said...

This looks like the kind of ramen (snack) that I would have eaten in its raw form. There's so many really good ramen varieties out there that I'm sure are far superior to this one. But, you're right, the packaging is quite brilliant!

Ikkin-bot said...

I am an absolute sucker for neat packaging! I fall for it all the time, luckily I enjoy trying new things and enjoy pretty food.

I think my love of packaging is part of my I love shopping in foreign grocery stores where I can't really read any of the packaging so I have no choice but to pick by package design!