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Cup Noodles Gets "Souper-Sized"

Diner A had brought this BUCKET-sized version of Cup Noodle for lunch recently, and taken aback by it’s unusually large size, I was like “Whoah, what the heck is that?!”

Made by Nissin, the same folks who make ‘Cup Noodles’, they’ve decided to badge this product with the very Americanized name “Souper Meal”. This is new to me.

Yet showing my lack of awareness in the instant ramen industry, apparently the ‘Souper Meal’ has been on the market for years now, as The Impulsive Buy did a thorough review of this product way back in 2005. which back then they had the ‘Cup Noodle’ name on the label.

Which has us  wondering why they didn’t simply name it “Tub Noodle” or “Bucket Noodle”.  Sound too “janitorial” perhaps? I suppose “Souper Meal”, an obvious play on “soup”, has broader market appeal, especially in the states.

Looking at the photo of the “Souper Meal” on the label, it does indeed look more like a western soup than Japanese ramen; the former of which I’m guessing they’re hoping U.S. consumers will think it is and throw it in the shopping cart. Especially at the bargain price these things sell for, which Diner A picked them up at Walmart for just a $1 each.

Yet for the non-observant impulse shopper, the label does in fact say ‘RAMEN NOODLE’ in small black print on the bottom. Gotcha’!

Just like any other instant ramen, they come in various flavors, including what we have here with Shrimp and Chicken. The shrimp version is especially funky, having a tomato and garlic flavored broth, which is unheard of with traditional Japanese Ramen.

Helping to provide some scale as to how big this super-sized ‘Souper Meal’ is, here’s a side-by-side comparison with its much, much older, yet half-sized brother and “college grub” staple, Nissin Cup Noodles…

2.5 oz. for the Cup Noodles versus 4.3 oz. for the Souper Meal to be exact. You know that “ginormous” tub of margarine you can buy at Costco or Sam’s? Well, the ‘Souper Meal’ container isn’t much smaller than that.

Great, just what American needs. As if instant ramen weren’t already bad enough with its high sodium soup base and deep-fried noodles packing plenty of saturated fat, now their marketing geniuses have decided we need nearly twice the amount in “one serving”.

Looking at the NUTRITION FACTS, here’s the breakdown:

Souper Meal Shrimp flavor

Serving Size: 1/2 container (61g)
Serving per Container: 2
Net wt. 4.3 oz. (122 g)

Amount Per Serving
Calories280
Calories From Fat110
% Daily Value
Total Fat12 g18 %
Saturated Fat6 g30 %
Trans Fat0 g0 %
Cholesterol5 mg2 %
Sodium1020 mg43 %
Total Carbohydrate38 g13 %
Dietary Fiber2 g8 %
Sugar1 g
Protein6 g
Vitamin A30 %
Vitamin C0 %
Calcium4 %
Iron8 %


Cup Noodles Shrimp flavor

Serving Size: 2.25 oz (64 g)
Serving per Container: 1
Net wt. 2.25 oz (64 g)

Amount Per Serving
Calories300
Calories From Fat120
% Daily Value
Total Fat13 g20 %
Saturated Fat7 g35 %
Trans Fat0 g0 %
Cholesterol5 mg2 %
Sodium1180 mg49 %
Total Carbohydrate38 g13 %
Dietary Fiber1 g6 %
Sugar1 g
Protein7 g
Vitamin A6 %
Vitamin C0 %
Calcium4 %
Iron2

Notice they try to trick us with the Souper Meal by giving the nutritional facts for a 1/2  serving, yet we all know this is intended to be eaten entirely by one person in one sitting. So adding it up, you’re getting a whopping 26 grams of fat and 2040 milligrams of sodium if you whack an entire Souper Meal yourself. Which makes the Souper Meal no less “evil” than KFC’s new and notorious ‘Double Down’.

While the Cup Noodles is as instant as it gets, with the soup base and dehydrated “accoutrements” already mixed in with the noodles, the Souper Meal requires “advanced ramen chef skills”, as it comes with 3 separate packets: 1) the soup base powder; 2) the dehyrated veggies; and 3) the “flavor enhancer”.  Sheesh. Sounds complicated. lol

Here we see a typical instant ramen’s fried, dehydrated brick — or in this case — disk-like uncooked state…

I suppose at this point, if I were about 20 years less my current age and had my own YouTube channel, I’d be doing all kinds of “shenanigans” with this thing  just for the sake of your entertainment, but I’m not, so we’ll just carry on as is. lol

Unlike the far superior nama (fresh) ramen products include a liquid soup base, instant ramen most commonly includes a mega-sodium, mega-MSG packed dehydrated (powered) soup base…

While the powdered soup bases bother me just because of what it is and how it tastes, I actually find the dehydrated toppings turn out quite fresh and tasty once they’re brought back to life…

I’m just not really cool with peas and carrots in ramen, even if it’s instant. That’s plain just WEIRD if you ask me. I mean, I’ll still eat it, but if I had a choice, I’d prefer they put in dehydrated kombu and egg or tofu. So if you see a guy in front of the Nissin factory holding up a sign that says “NO PEAS & CARROTS!”, that’d be me. lol

Here’s that Shrimp with Garlic & Tomato ‘Souper Meal’, all done cooking, or should I say “nuking”….

The powdered soup base and dehydrated veggies are added with the water at the beginning stage, where it then requires 4 minutes and 30 seconds in the nuker. Then you let it sit covered for a minute or so to “set”, and just prior to being served you stir in the “flavor enhancer”, which looks like oil mixed with some sort of MSG-based protein agent (see the orange stuff on the lid in the photo above).

Voila, a chicken-flavored “Souper Meal”…

Doesn’t that look oishii? lol Corn in ramen. Good grief. lol The green stuff is cabbage. I’m cool with that. But, oh, I keep forgetting, this isn’t really “ramen”, it’s a ‘Souper Meal’.

A freshly-brewed Cup Noodle compared with a partially consumed Chicken Souper Meal…

Let’s see how the noodles itself compares…

The fatter profile Souper Meal noodles were a little more al dente if you will, yet just like Cup Noodles — and most other instant ramen noodles for that matter – they both still have that “pastiness” about them. Also, can you even use the term “al dente” for instant ramen noodles?

As for the soup broth, I’ve never been a fan of Cup Noodles’, and the Souper Meal hasn’t really improved on it by much. If anything, being CHICKEN FLAVOR, all it really tasted like is the Cup Noodle broth with the addition of chicken bouillon cubes. It also has this very subtle curry flavor to it. Subtle, but there, making it taste just plain weird. At least for me anyway.

Summing it up, on basis of an initial tasting, I’ll give Nissin’s Chicken with Vegetable Medley ‘Souper Meal’ 1 SPAM Musubi.

Thankfully the superior fresh nama ramen can be found at most supermarkets around Hawaii today. I’ll stick with that, thank you very much.


Yamachan Shoyu Nama Ramen with Chicken Soup Base, Chashu, Menma and Negi

On a final note, earlier when we were looking over the nutritional numbers of the super-sized “why don’t we bastardize Japanese Ramen for all its worth” Souper Meal, KFC’s new and notorious ‘Double Down’ was brought up. Have any of you tried it yet?


KFC Double Down – Two KFC Original Recipe Boneless Fried Chicken Breast “buns” with Bacon, American Cheese and KFC Sauce sandwiched between them

Substituting the bun for meat isn’t the part that bothers me. It’s what they put in between it that does.

What is with fast food restaurants and their penchant for slamming our poor cardiovascular systems with more, more and MORE bacon and cheese? I mean, enough already!

I think they should have been at least somewhat “responsible” and put either their Coleslaw in there, or better yet, fresh lettuce and tomato. Or you’d think they would have at least done that with the Grilled KFC Double Down, but NOOOOOO, even that one gets the Baco-Cheese-Inator treatment. Sheesh!

Yet even being “Baco-Cheese-Inated”, is the Double Down really the baddest guy to hit town? How about this “innocent” ‘Souper Meal’?

Let’s compare the important nutritional (or lack there of) numbers here:

KFC Double Down:
Serving size: 1 “sandwich”
540 Calories
32 grams of fat
1,380 milligrams of sodium

Nissin Souper Meal:
Serving size: 1 container (4.3 oz.)
560 Calories
24 grams of fat
2040 milligrams of sodium

Take your pick.


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21 thoughts on “Cup Noodles Gets "Souper-Sized"

  • April 17, 2010 at 9:37 am
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    Pomai, I sometime go for it when hungry but just the noodle never the soup it too salty. It just fast and easy save time too.

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  • April 17, 2010 at 11:18 am
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    Pomai, some of the new food out there are funky like the bunless chicken sandwich from KFC. Instant ramen souper is OK I also never care for soup stock too much sodium just ramen and toppings. For quick snack it fine but I wouldn’t make it a meal. I do kept some on hand at home it handy.

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  • April 17, 2010 at 12:05 pm
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    Kelike and Michael, even if you skip the soup, you’re still taking in tons of fat from the fried noodles. Yet I must admit, in a pinch, I too indulge in Cup Noodles, and have even included it as part of my home’s Emergency Preparedness Kit. That and Progresso Soup. Well, of course Progresso Soup is FAR better tasting than Cup Noodles!

    So far in the KFC Double Down poll, there’s 19 votes, with nearly a majority of you (47% by 9 votes) saying “I haven’t tried it, and don’t ever plan to. Why do fast food corporations continue to pump out this kind of crap?” Based on the public reaction all over the web and in the news so far about the Double Down, I’m not surprised by that.

    Yet it’s kind of interesting that although only 2 of you tried it, you both at least thought is was “ok”, and it didn’t think it “sucked”. That’s kinda’ scary, as it’s making myself more curious about trying it! lol

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  • April 17, 2010 at 12:37 pm
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    i did the double down. it’s not bad, but the problem i had with it was the filets are too thick, so all you get is a bunch of chicken and no taste of the sauce cheese or bacon. if they used smaller filets and dropped the price from $4 id like it a lot more. as it stands id rather have their 2 piece special for 1.99

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  • April 17, 2010 at 1:02 pm
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    I think that the only reason that they’ve sold any Double Downs at all is because every single food blogger on earth bought one to review it. Don’t bother. You’re better than that crowd. We don’t need to hear another review about how a big pile of salt and fat tastes (surprise) salty and fatty.

    Reply
  • April 17, 2010 at 1:30 pm
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    Pomai, no matter without the bun I took it home and ended up having it in a bun. It taste better with bread. I always have kimchee at home for souper great with it . It seem lot of people rather not have soup just soak ramen in it for a while and pour it out keeping topping in it.

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  • April 17, 2010 at 1:58 pm
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    Pomai, the souper is not good but not bad for having on hand for fast eat at time. When not sure to snack on or want something hot this is not bad quick and easy just eating the ramin not soup. the double down look not that great without the bun for sure.

    Reply
  • April 17, 2010 at 4:39 pm
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    Patty, notice they serve the Double Down in a package, as since there’s no bun to hold onto, you need the paper to handle the “exposed” fried chicken, lest your hands get all greasy.

    Which has me thinking, when are the marketing geniuses at the fast food burger joints going to offer a hamburger version of the Double Down, using hamburger patties as the “bun” with the toppings sandwiched in between that? When that happens, it will be a sad day.

    Kat, in reference to the Souper Meal, “shi’yah”. lol

    Vickie, personally I so don’t care for Kim Chee flavored Ramen or noodles. Just doesn’t work for me.

    Alana, great point and great advice. If anything, my review on it would have been a method on improving it, as in putting KFC’s Coleslaw and/or lettuce and tomato between, and chuck the bacon and cheese. But I don’t think even that’s worth it, both for health and finances sake ($4 each?). Besides, there’s already plenty of entertaining video reviews on YouTube on the Double Down.

    adri, I was going to mention in the write-up that probably a 2-piece KFC fried chicken meal has more sodium and fat than the Double Down, and that’s been eaten by all of America (and now the world) for decades now! Yikes.

    Reply
  • April 17, 2010 at 5:48 pm
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    No wine pairing for this… wait maybe Thunderbird… complete with crumpled brown bag might work…

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  • April 17, 2010 at 10:24 pm
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    Steamed broccoli and brown rice for your poor stomach, stat!!

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  • April 18, 2010 at 6:43 am
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    Pomai, was at KCC with other HomeGirls chiling and shoppiing too and did not see you. I guess you were undercover! Ha Ha. It was lot fun KCC Farmers Market. As the Double Down I did something funny with it. I took it home heat some rice and place it on top slice up tdo eat. KFC Chicken Katsu.

    Reply
  • April 18, 2010 at 10:08 am
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    Amy, I said I was going to be there at “9am sharp”, but looks like I was looking at my watch that’s set for “Hawaiian Time”, as I ended getting there at 10am sharp. lol But I was there! Were you around after 10am? I was wearing a black Aloha shirt with Nigiri Sushi printed all over it. You can’t miss me, as I always have my camera in hand taking pictures of food!  lol  I’ll have a new posting on my KCC Farmers’ Market visit this past weekend up later this week.

    KFC Chicken Katsu, eh? lol Good one! KFC should seriously do that here! I bet it’d be a huge hit! Especially with their extra crispy chicken. Or perhaps they should create their own style of Panko batter. Great idea Amy, great idea. I would seriously hit-up KFC Corporate on that idea. Tell them you want a 5 cents cut on every KFC Chicken Katsu sale, just like the Colonel got for his original recipe fried chicken. I’m serious!

    What kind of sauce did you use? I hope Bull Dog or Ikari brand Tonkatsu sauce!

    Molly, do you own or work at Hapa Dog? I might go there today for lunch!

    Ryan, yeah, the Double Down sounds like it’d probably go better with beer. Or perhaps a the hardest hard liquor you can get your hands on, so you get so plastered, you don’t realize what you just ate. lol

    Reply
  • April 18, 2010 at 10:28 am
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    As of this writing, the KFC Double Down poll stands at 62 total votes, with the highest count being 31% of you not ever planning on trying it.

    So far none of you have tried it and thought it “sucks!”, while 2 of you thought it’s a winner. I’m actually not surprised by that too, as how bad can KFC’s Original Recipe Fried Chicken be? I mean I like it! Just not “Baco-Cheese-Inated”. At least I think I wouldn’t like it “BCI’d”.

    13 of you have all your marbles and recommend I NOT review the Double Down, while 13 of you are sick in the head, recommending I DO review the Double Down. You folks are so bad. lol

    That in mind, incredibly 9 of you are curious about trying it.

    I still stand by vote of simply “I haven’t tried it yet”, not leaning towards either “eager” or “totally against” taking the Double Down plunge.

    Reply
  • April 19, 2010 at 3:38 pm
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    They carry the Souper Meal cups at my neighborhood grocery stores, too. I thought of buying some one day when I was ignoring the cardinal rule of not shopping while hungry, but I took one look at the sodium content and immediately put it down. A girl has to watch out for the bloat! ;)

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  • April 19, 2010 at 4:46 pm
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    Jenny, although shopping while hungry in Costco or Sam’s can be rewarding with all the free samples. lol Yet, you pay for it with even more impulse buys than you would have had you gone in there on a full stomach.

    Diner A, is that you racking up the votes? lol

     

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  • April 19, 2010 at 10:15 pm
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    A belated reply to you regarding Hapa Dog: No, I’m not affiliated with them at all. I buy sandwiches from the shop next door to it and noticed when it opened.

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  • October 13, 2010 at 8:22 pm
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    I have eaten it every day when I had beem in Texas. I like shrimp and chicken flavor. Now I’m living in Menesota, I’m looking for super meal noodle in the big cup at asian and american stores, but I haven’t found it. WHY?

    Reply

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