It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed nama ramen (packaged refrigerated uncooked fresh ramen noodles and broth), as there simply haven’t been any new ones to try in the stores for a while now. That is until I recently went shopping at Ward Marukai where I discovered this here Shoyu Ramen by Yamachan, featuring an ‘Oriental Flavor Chicken Soup Base’. Hmm, sounds interesting!
It seems chicken-based ramen broths are quite popular nowadays, including at ramen shops right here in Honolulu over at Kiwami Ramen in Waikiki and Tenkaippin on Kapahulu. Can chicken really beat pork in flavor when it comes to a great ramen broth? Let’s find out!
Here’s the back of the package, where you notice like the front, everything is in English…
Yamachan of Japan has this product made in California by Nippon Trends Food Service, Inc.. So does that mean this ramen will taste “Americanized”? I sure hope not!
Notice in the soup base’ ingredients there’s what they call ‘Chicken Essence’. But really what I really think is the key ingredient listed on there is the ‘Menma Powder’. THAT’s what’s separating this broth from the others. More on that in a bit.
Here’s the contents for 2 servings…
Unlike the mostly inferior dried instant ramen products out there, nama ramen includes fresh noodles and a concentrated soup base in liquid form….
Dipping my finger in the concentrated, undiluted “chicken-based” broth here for a taste, I could already tell this was going to be one FABULOUS bowl of noodles.
Unlike the inferior dried instant ramen, where you add the dehydrated powdered soup base to the boiling noodles, with nama ramen, you pour the liquid soup base in a bowl as shown above. Then you add boiling water to the bowl and stir it to combine…
Notice the globules of fatty oil floating at the surface, as in the ingredients it says there’s chicken oil and vegetable oil. That’s what helps give the ramen noodles that silky texture as it slides into your mouth. Love that!
I was skeptical the noodles would turn out good, as I threw into the boiling water from the frozen state that they were sold in…
But nope, they turned out just fine, not clumping together at all. Here they are all cooked and drained…
Add the cooked noodles to the broth, then the garnishes and voila!…
Notice I used Chinese style Charsiu instead of my usual Japanese Chashu. Hey, close enough. Should work.
Then there’s the all-important garnish I think is MANDATORY with Japanese Ramen, which is the Menma, or Japanese marinated bamboo shoots. That’s those three tan colored rectangle pieces at the 3 0’clock position. Yamachan’s factory in Japan makes one that’s specifically designed for Japanese Ramen here…
Finally, keeping it fairly simple, I finished this bowl with Negi (green onions).
Mmm, yeah. the noodles are perfectly al dente, while I could only faintly tell they were previously frozen. This is the main advantage Sun Noodle factory in Honolulu has, is that they can deliver their nama ramen products absolutely fresh right off the production line and not have to freeze them to extend shelf life while in transit.
Otherwise, Yamachan’s nama ramen noodles were comparable to Sun in flavor and quality. Excellent! They have that “eggy” twang to them, that if you’re a Japanese Ramen fan, you know what I’m talking about. The noodles are a little thinner than Sun Noodle brand, which actually allows them to absorb the broth’s flavor a bit more. This also makes them nice and silky as you slurp ’em up. Yosh!
As for the broth, that is the question. That IS the question. How is it? In a word, “OISHII!”. I’m very, very impressed. I think this is the best Shoyu Ramen broth I’ve had from a nama ramen package yet. I’ve tried Yamachan’s original shoyu ramen (from Japan) and didn’t care for it all. Sun Noodle’s Shoyu Ramen broth had them beat. But This chicken-based broth is much, much, MUCH better!
Like I hinted earlier though, I don’t think it’s just the chicken “essence” that’s making it here, but it’s that Menma Powder listed in the ingredients, which you can really taste in the “background”. That gives it this depth and complexity that’s really difficult to explain in words, but when you taste it you’ll know exactly what I’m talkin’ about. It truly tastes like a broth that if you didn’t know it came out of a store-bought package, would have thought it had been made for hours and hours as a labor of love by a ramen chef in a small shop in a back alley in the Ginza district of Tokyo.
So as for this being made in California, therefore it will taste “Americanized”, no way San Jose! I mean no way, Sensei! Or how about “no way, Goma Tei!” lol
Yamachan’s Shoyu Ramen featuring Chicken Soup Base is the real deal, and should leave most Japanese Shoyu Ramen fans out there very impressed. Oishii!
What? Shoyu Ramen Japanese Style Premium Noodles with Oriental Flavor Chicken Soup Base
Who makes it? Nippon Trends Food Service, Inc. (San Jose, California) for Yamachan
Where did you buy it and how much did it cost? Ward Marukai. $2.49 (sale price) per 10.79 oz. package (2 servings)
Big shaka to: Rich, flavorful ramen broth tastes authentic to what you might find at a ramen shop in Tokyo. Menma powder a key ingredient that adds depth and complexity. Chicken has proven to be a highly qualified, very tasty option to pork in making a great ramen broth. Frozen nama ramen noodles cooked up really nicely, turning out perfectly al dente and not clumping together at all. Great “eggy” flavor and silky texture. While not “perfect”, this is the best tasting Nama Shoyu Ramen I’ve had yet.
No shaka to: Slight hint that the noodles were previously frozen. VOG
The Tasty Island rating: 4 SPAM Musubi