Ramen Quest Chapter 4: Shio


Sun Noodle Shio Nama Ramen

Fellow food blogger and Ramen junkie “Edjusted” has so far covered many brands and flavors of “nama” or fresh noodle packaged ramen (see link), including Myojo. One he hasn’t done yet is Myojo’s Shio flavor that we have here in this entry, along with Sun Noodle’s Shio Ramen to start off with.

Like him, I’m pretty much partial to Shoyu Ramen, but we’re both open-minded people, willing to try new things, so here we go with Shio Ramen.

Shio Ramen is based on a simple salt and vegetable broth, unlike Shoyu or Tonkotsu which is flavored by pork bones. With that, I wasn’t expecting it to pack as much depth in flavor, and this assumption held true upon tasting these two store-bought Nama (fresh) Ramen versions of it.


Sun Noodle Shio Ramen, 2 servings. Purchased on sale for $1.89


Sun Noodle Shio Ramen broth before being diluted with water


Sun Noodle Shio Ramen after being diluted with 1-1/2 cups of hot water

Notice how light the broth looks. The ingredients in Sun Noodle’s Shio broth are: Water, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Salt, Canola Oil, Fermented Seasoning, Flavor Enhancer, Ethyl Alcohol, Dried Bonito Fish Extract, Sesame Oil, Vinegar, Flavor Extracts from Kelp, Onion, Chinese Cabbage, Carrots, Garlic and Ginger.

The benefit of this lighter, less imposing broth is it allows the toppings such as the Chashu to stand out more. But in and of itself, the Shio broth is rather silent. Expecting this, I really went for the toppings in this bowl, adding two generous slices of Chashu pork, slices of Gyoza (next to the Chashu), half a boiled egg, sliced fresh Daikon and another brand of Menma (marinated bamboo shoots) I found in Marukai recently…


Pirikara Menma

This menma is delicious. It’s lightly spicy from chili and sesame oil.

I made another batch of Chashu, this time using Dashinomoto, shoyu, mirin and sake. Excellent. This time I sliced and wrapped them in plastic about 2-3 pieces each for individual servings for storage in the freezer.


Home-made Chashu (simmered pork) for ramen


Once again, Sun Noodle Shio Ramen

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Next here we have Myojo Brand Shio Nama Ramen…


Myojo Shio Ramen with home-made Chashu pork, egg and green onion garnishes. This was actually made about 2 weeks ago, before the Sun Noodle demo above.

This is the “Nama” type of ramen, which includes fresh noodles and a liquid broth, making it far superior to those deep-fried wheat-wire bricks with the powdered MSG bomb packets. Being fresh, it needs to be refrigerated. These also freeze well. This package of 3 portions costs just $2.79 at the local Marukai. Here’s the contents…

With this Myojo brand, the included Shio liquid broth packet is made with the following ingredients: Water, Vegetable Oil, Salt, MSG, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Onion Extract, Yeast Extract, Sugar, Bonito Extract, White Pepper, Disodium Inosinate, Malic Acid and Curry Powder.

Here’s the concentrated broth before adding hot water…

Here’s the Shio broth after adding 1-1/2 cups of hot water to that concentrated base…

“Salt-seasoned”? It looks more complex than that. Well, as you seen in the ingredient roster, bonito (dried fish) and curry powder did make the mix in at least small quantities. The beauty about these liquid broth packets is that they have lipids in it (oil), which gives the broth an added, almost 3-dimensional depth.

Now the fresh noodles. Here how it looks before being cooked (boiled)…

They’re lightly dusted in flour, which helps to keep them from sticking together. So you simply drop them in 4 cups of rapid boiling water for about 3 minutes and/or until they reach el dente. What’s important after you do this is that you aggresively shake the water out. Doing this helps the noodles marry with the broth flavor better, which is very important.

After the noodles go into the bowl of broth, there’s only one thing left to do: add the garnishes. So I cooked up some home-made Chashu, this time simmering it in shoyu, ginger, green onion and corn syrup. Yup. Corn syrup. It gave it this nicely-glazed “crust”…

Actually, the glaze was a little too thick for my liking, so next time I use a slice from this slab, I’ll rinse the glaze off. Otherwise, very tender and flavorful. Certainly an asset. Chashu pork is ALWAYS an asset to Ramen. More like a requirement, IMO.

One condiment I’m missing, and I did miss it, is Menma (marinated Bamboo shoots). But that’s OK, as I wanted to taste the broth more than anything else.

So what did I think of this Myojo Shio Ramen. It’s alright. Of course, that chashu made what would otherwise be just “OK”, fantastic. But speaking of the broth itself, it’s just…. well, OK. Not bad, not great. That hint of curry and bonito does stand out, which makes it that much less boring than if it were indeed just seasoned with salt.

The noodles are actually quite good. It has that slightly “eggy” flavor accent and decent “chew”, also taking on the broth flavor well.

All said and done, in the sum of its parts, I’ll give this Myojo Shio Ramen 2 (out of 5) SPAM Musubi.

And if “Nama” or any instant, packaged ramen isn’t challenging enough for you (actually, not a challenge at all), you can always make it from scratch as fellow food blogger ChubbyPanda has done with his Niko Niku Ramen!


Comments

Ramen Quest Chapter 4: Shio — 10 Comments

  1. Always a pleasure to read about your ramen quests. Too bad we don’t get the higher quality stuff over on the right-coast of the US. We mostly get the cheap-o maruchan ramen (10/$1!). I’ve since ditched the powdered, MSG laden, broth with my own miso broth (mmmm, misoramen).

    I used your chashu recipe and it came out flawlessly. I don’t have much to compare it to, but it really did bring the ramen to another level. I also tried out the marinated bamboo shoots and they compliment the ramen nicely.

    Now if we can only get a recipe to make the noodles I could really be happy…

  2. Oh good gawd my heart is just palpitating. There are no words to describe my angst! I tried to figure out what got me going and soon realized that when I spied those chopped green onions, my eyeballs seemed to pop out even more. Thanks for the food porn!

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  4. Jef, glad to hear your Chashu came out “flawlessly”. It really is so easy to make, I don’t know how anyone would eat Nama Ramen without adding it to the dish. The difference with and without it is night and day.

    Alex, thanks for the link! Always interesting to read about other folks “Ramen Quests”. We have several others here that specialized in Ramen Blogs: Keizo and Edjusted. You probably know them already. You all sure are experts on the subject. I’m not. I just love eating it!

    Rowena, so THAT’s how you view food, eh? No wonder you’re married to an Italian. lol! Just kiddin’.

    Thanks again everyone for all the comments!

  5. Nice post, as usual! I’ve always thought of shio ramen as kind’a boring, but I guess I need to go find a pack of Myojo’s shio ramen and try it out…in the interest of fair and balanced reporting. Haha.

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