Myojo Chukazanmai Shoyu Ramen


There’s been numerous reviews here in the past on store-bought nama ramen, which is the type that’s sold in either the refrigerator or freezer section, featuring “fresh” noodles and broth packets that are usually in liquid form, not dehydrated powder. Two brands that immediately come to mind are Sun Noodle and Yamachan; both of which being quite successful in bringing the taste of authentic Japanese Ramen to your kitchen table… or TV coffee table, as is usually the case for me.

Before nama ramen became available here, most Americans (especially those on a budget like college students) were only familiar with the packaged dry brick-shaped “Instant Ramen Noodle” widely distributed by brands including Nissin (famous for Cup Noodles), Maruchan and Sapporo Ichiban. Our fave’ when I grew up was Mums brand. The problem is, while being cheap and satisfying, like most foods that have that “quality” (pun intended), most of these instant ramen noodles really are junk food, being high in sodium, carbohydrates and fat, and low in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Especially if eaten plain, with nothing to garnish it. That last part being key in this review today.

Not that nama ramen is all that much better health-wise, save for not being deep-fried in the manufacturing process.

While I don’t eat ramen particularly to reap any health benefits, I DO LOVE THE STUFF, providing it tastes AUTHENTICALLY JAPANESE. I’m very partial to that, as I can’t stand the broth flavor of those dry instant noodles that seem to be catered to the western masses. Bleck! As a kid I was OK with it, but now as an adult with a more discriminating palate, no thanks. Pass.

Which brings us here today to a dry packaged brand by the name of Myojo Chukazanmai Japanese Style Noodle with Soup Base, with the flavor of course being my fave’, Soy Sauce. If you’re a regular reader here, you know I’m biased towards Shoyu Ramen, not really too hot for Miso, Shio or any other crazy what-have-you broths when it comes to authentic Japanese Ramen. However, the Myojo Chukazanmai product line also offers Miso, Oriental and Sesame (doesn’t that all sound like the same thing just named differently? lol) flavors in case that’s more your style.

Since we were talking about nutritional value (or lack there of), let’s check out the back of the package and see what we’re dealing with here…

Right off the bat, this is packin’ 370 calories, immediately having me tie on my running shoes. There’s also 6 grams of total fat, with 1.5 grams saturated, yet 0 grams tran fat and cholesterol, thank goodness.  But OH-EMM-GEE, look at the SODIUM, shooting through the clouds at a pill-poppin’ 3070mg. Whoah Nelly!!!!!!!!!!!! I think I gained about 3 pounds in water retention just reading and writing that! lol Suprisingly it actually has 2 grams of fiber in it, not that’s going to offset the 370 calories anytime soon. Finally, there’s 2 grams of sugar and 9 grams of protein, with a total carbohydrate count of 70 grams, making the latter 25% of the average daily value intake.

Well let’s open it up and see what’s inside…

You know, I can’t tell if these dehydrated ramen noodles have been deep-fried like the “cheap stuff”, but I’m guessing not, as the fat and cholesterol numbers don’t add up to that. Whew. We’re gonna’ need all the help we can get with all the SODIUM in the broth!

Speaking of which, notice there’s both a dry “seasoning” and liquid soup base broth packet. That liquid soup base is the absolute KEY in what makes this particular packaged ramen taste authentically Japanese. Particularly with the oil that’s in it, which gives the broth those desired fat globules that separate and float on the surface. What those globules of oil (fat) do is provide the noodles with a silky texture as it slurps across the tongue and down your throat.

Other than having a dry seasoning packet, the only thing different about this dehydrated ramen from the fresh nama ramen is the cooking method, where in this case, you add the broth packets to the same pot of water that the noodles cook in. Something you can’t do with nama ramen, as there’s too much extra flour the fresh noodles are coated with when packaged to keep them from sticking together. So like it’s done in a Japanese Ramen-Ya (shop), the noodles are boiled in separate water from the broth and drained before being added to the ramen bowl.

So let’s get cooking, because you know, this stuff is difficult to do. lol…

As the instructions says, in goes the uncooked ramen to 2½ cups of boiling water. After about 4 minutes, voila…

Once the noodles are al dente (I don’t know the Japanese word for that), in goes the liquid soup base…

And the dry seasoning…

Stir thoroughly to dissolve and incorporate, then bowl it up…

Sheesh, I tell ya’, that was one of the hardest things I ever cooked! lol

But wait, wait, wait, wait. We’re not done yet. Now we have to GARNISH IT! As you may know, I’m currently on what I call a “Ovo-Lacto-Fish-O-Vegeterian” **ehem-cough-cough** “diet”, meaning I eat pretty much everything (in controlled quantities) but land-based meat and poultry. Which means no Chashu (roast pork) this time. But that’s OK, as I consider Menma – which are shoyu-sugar marinated Japanese Bamboo Shoots – the next best thing to it!..

Don Quijote carries this Yamachan brand Menma, which taste very authentic, while Marukai also carries the Shirakiku brand in large bulk size, also tasting equally as authentic.

Since Chashu (roast pork) is out of the picture, I want some sort of protein-centric topping, so I went with one of my faves in the “ovo” department, a boiled egg (tamago)…

Plated with the boiled egg are the Menma, making for one “meaty” set of non-meat toppinz! And no, I’m not trying to “write” some sort off Japanese Katakana character out of the menma. lol

Next up, while I almost ALWAYS have it in my Miso soup, I’ve never tried Wakame (seaweed) in ramen where it was the central focus, nor have I seen it used typically at the local Ramen-Ya. So I decided, why not? Let’s give it a shot!…

If you eat it dry right out of the package, being dehydrated, it has a strong sea salt flavor and well, sea WEED flavor. It’s actually quite oishii, tasting like a super-concentrated Nori, albeit tough and hard to chew. To use it, you pre-soak it in a bowl of hot water, where here’s how they look before absorbing the water…

And here’s how much the Wakame expands in volume once the water gets fully absorbed into it…

Actually what I discovered was the best way to do it, was in round two of my Myojo Shoyu Ramen eating “spree”, where I added the dry packaged Wakame directly in the boiling water (duh!) with the noodles as they cook…

Thankfully, the foam eventually dissipated, and the water that would eventually become the broth was totally clear. The added salt from the Wakame allowed me to use an extra cup of water for the broth base, which worked out better in the finished dish… or make that bowl.

Back to round one, let’s top ‘n garnish it…

You know, at first upon looking at this presentation in the photo, I thought it didn’t look as good as I expected, but I couldn’t figure out why. I mean the color contrasts are there and all.Then I realized, you know what’s wrong? There’s NOT ENOUGH BROTH. The noodle-to-broth ratio is way off.

Let’s check out the bowl I made in round two, with just the wakame and menma…

Ah, that looks MUCH better. The way I was able to coax more broth was because the wakame added enough natural salt in the water where I could get an extra cup out of it without tasting too diluted.

OK, let’s try it. Hai, itadakimasu!…

There on the surface of the broth in the spoon you see them globules of oil (fat) that makes it all happen. And how’s the broth? EXCELLENT! OISHII SO! Very deep, rich, complex and MEATY thanks in part to the soybean oil and bonito extract in the liquid soup base. 4 SPAM Musubi for the broth.

Sample some noodles…

WINNER! If you weren’t aware of it, you’d be hard-pressed detecting this came from a dehydrated “brick” like them infamous “dorm room intant noodle” stuff. These noodles have almost (stress ALMOST) the same “eggy” flavor and slightly chewy ‘n silky texture that you’d get from an authentic Japanese Ramen-Ya or nama ramen. It certainly doesn’t have that bland, doughy flavor and texture of the cheap stuff.

Oh, and cheap this relatively isn’t, as a package of Myojo Chukazanmai Japanese Noodle with Soup Base retails at regular price of $2.50 each. However they sometimes go on sale for about $1.50 each. In comparison, the “cheap” Nissin stuff can be as little as $4 for a whole 24-package CASE. Doing the math, that would be $36 per 24-package case of Myojo Ramen at sale price or $60 at regular price.

“But hey, what about the wakame in the ramen? How’d that turn out?” you may be wondering.

In the popular slang word from the 70’s and 80’s, “Cherry brah”! lol Or “Choice brah!”. lol!!! No, but seriously, it’s REALLY GOOD. I really don’t know why this isn’t featured at the ramen shops around town. At least none that I’ve noticed. Unless I wasn’t looking for it. Wakame Ramen? How simple! How tasty! How Healthy! How BRILLIANT!

I know Tokyo Noodle House offers a Menma Ramen, which I’m all game for. But hey, next time you’re at the supermarket buying nama ramen or this here Myojo Ramen, head on over to the oriental aisle and grab a package of Wakame while you’re at it. Throw it in directly with the noodles as they cook and you got yourself one mighty tasty and healthy bowl ‘o noodles!

What? Myojo Chukazanmai Japanese Style Noodles with Soup Base – Soy Sauce Flavor
Where did you buy it and how much did it cost? Don Quijote on sale at $1.50 each
Big shaka to: Tastes as good as you’re going to get to Authentic Japanese Shoyu Ramen in a dry, non-perishable package (no refrigeration needed). Deep, rich, complex, savory broth. “Eggy”, slightly chewy, silky noodles. Fatty oil globule “slick” surface from liquid broth packet. Wakame Ramen. Menma. Losing weight.
No shaka to: Default 2½ cups water for broth not enough to fill ramen bowl. RIDICULOUS amount of sodium.Weight gain.
The Tasty Island rating: 4 SPAM Musubi (the sodium level is the only thing that keeps this from being a 5).

Time for this week’s weigh-in…

Pomai’s “Revolution 2012″ weight log**
5.05.12 – 207.0 lbs.
5.27.12 – 195.8 lbs.
6.02.12 – 194.6 lbs.
6.03.12 – 194.0 lbs.
6.09.12 – 191.4 lbs.
6.16.12 – 188.6 lbs.
6.23.12 – 189.8 lbs. (BMI score = 28)
Target weight for 6.30.12 – 187 lbs.
Final target weight – 160 lbs.
**5’9″ height, male.

Yup. Just as I expected, and what Tasty Island reader Ken predicted, I’ve hit that “plateau”. As is natural with a weight loss program, it’s not always a downward curve on the chart, but goes up and down along the way. It’s just the way the body is.

I think I’m going to have to cut more carbs out of my diet, such as what I’m reviewing today, ironically. lol

I know I’m exercising enough, as just a few days ago I ran and walked 8.5 miles (that’s as far as the Great Aloha Run) in one day alone, 2 miles another day, 3 miles another day, and weight trained a total of over 3 hours worth over the course of the week. Over the past week, my weight yo-yo’d between 188 and 191 pounds. That weigh-in was done yesterday.

Well I still have an entire week remaining in the month to reach my 187 lbs. weight goal, which would put me at 20 lbs. total weight loss at that point. Then from there, I’m shooting for my final 160-165 lbs. goal, which I’m hoping to get at by the end of August. Then I’ll report back to my doctor’s office for that BIG HUG Dr. T owes me! LOL!

Finally as always, I’ll leave you with a song, this time again by the AMAZING River & Tiger in Waikiki as they perform ‘Piano Man’ by Billy Joel (select 720p for best viewing experience)…

And here Tiger & River cover ‘Baby What a Big Surprise’ by Peter Cetera…


Comments

Myojo Chukazanmai Shoyu Ramen — 30 Comments

  1. Plateaus are quite predicable. Within a narrow range, they are generally areas where ones weight was stable for a long period of time. As the body loses weight, it reaches areas that it knew were once comfortable and were stable vis a vie calories versus burnoff. Like ‘muscle memory’ which has now been confirmed as being real. The longer the time one had maintained the plateau weight, in your case about 190 lbs, the tougher to talk the body down. 2.5 weeks or so is normal, then a sharp fall off to the next plateau.

    • I think I’m going to have to “tighten-up” my diet and get more scientific about it. Meaning tracking and recording EVERY calorie I take in. I really should eat less carbs than I am as well. Even though I eat brown rice and 100% whole wheat bread with the fiber and all, it’s still carbs that may be converting to fat not getting burnt off. I think the ice cream “treats” are hurting me too. Even one every other day is too much empty calories. Strictly fruit at this point.

      There’s a very good explanation of what causes a weight loss plateau here on this Mayo Clinic webpage:
      http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/weight-loss-plateau/MY01152

  2. I just want to say, good luck on your luck on your dieting! I hope you reach goal.

    Also, Myojo Chukazanmai is my favorite dried ramen so I’m glad you did a review on it to spread the word. I’ve never tried menma or wakame in it, but I’ll pick some up next time I go to the store. Thanks!

    • Mahalos for the encouragement!

      I’ve actually been eating Myojo Chukazanmai for a long time, but only now got around to blogging it. However, with my weight loss plateau, I’ll probably have to cut out carbs like this for the time being. And get this: I just checked the nutritional data on a package of Sun Noodle Shoyu Ramen (nama type), and it has even MORE sodium with 3,400mg vs. Myojo’s 3,070mg. OUCH!!!!!

      Definitely try the wakame in your ramen. Winner! Just throw it in dry with the noodles while it cooks. Easy!

  3. Pomai, welcome to the plateaus club. Pat is right. The body somehow remembers and finds its comfort level and then it falls off to the next level. I’ve found that out on my journey down in weight reduction and I am stuck at my second plateau right now. Excessive sodium intake and body water retention is a killer with food that we like especially processed foods. It is an ongoing process to retrain the body to reject overly processed foods and accept non-processed foods (home cooked from scratch)! Also getting enough daily exercise which is why I have my Nintendo Wii Fit because at 10 PM if I want to bowl 3 ten pin games or play a game of tennis or practice my swing on the golf driving range I can and burn off the calories. Most important is your largest meal should be in the middle of the day meaning never go to bed on a full stomach because it will settle in and stay there as fat! You’ll know when you are on the right track when you have to keep pulling your pants up from slipping!!!LOL

    • I’m already down one pants size, and need to go shopping for a smaller (shorter) belt as well.

      But yeah, as I once quoted, “If it’s in a package, don’t eat it”, should be the creed of those SERIOUSLY on a weight-loss program, yet you know how hard that is in today’s supermarkets.

      That I’m reviewing what is obviously a highly-processed food such as this packaged ramen during an intense weight-loss program probably has some folks thinking “WTH”? My only point is to make the best with what you have to work with. Plus being able to ENJOY a decadent meal every now and then, yet make it meet your dietary requirements at least half-way, if not more.

      We’ll see in a week if that works.

  4. Hi Pomai,

    Ramen happens to be my “Lazy Food”. I want something quick and warm it is mt go to food. But it does have it’s effects on me. Swelling.. man it is the only thing I eat that does it to me. But at leat once a month I go for it and always the same bloat. I toss the packets now and make my own makeshift dashi ith much lower sodium. Btter but still not the greatest. But hey… No pain no gain or in the case weight lost. Well my butt got a little lazy so I’m gonna go on a fast for a few days. God help me. Take care bro and as usual I love your stuff.

    Eddie boy Souza

    • I’d just as well hit the local Ramen-Ya before going through the trouble of making my own broth. That’s the hardest part! And no, dashinomoto is strictly for Saimin, NOT Authentic Japanese Ramen.

  5. Pomai, main thing is change life style. Try to stay away as much you able to from the KITCHEN and home. That where lot people gain weight by hitting the kitchen often for food and snack. My father gain so much weight that way by staying at home and going in and out of kitchen getting food to eat and lot of it. Now since mom took over she do not allow him to stay at home but workout by walking and doing gardening growing vegetable. She put him on no carb diet so far he lost 10 lbs.

    • Actually, kitchen foraging hasn’t been a problem at all for me. It’s been a TOTAL LACK OF EXERCISE that’s been my problem. Up until now, that is.

  6. As a whole, I agree with you on processed foods. And carbs are the enemy. One exception is some canned soups. Campbells (including the Kirkland branding) Progresso, Amy’s, Anderson and Healthy Choice make a range of low sodium soups that have only 200 or so calories for a 15 oz serving.
    This may not be for everyone, but I find them very helpful in quickly getting back to paddling weight.

    • Seriously, I’m beginning to think the amount of sodium I’m taking in, regardless of the amount of exercise, along with low fat, low calorie diet I’m pretty much going by – is causing me to retain more water than I should be, hence adding those few extra pounds I’m trying to shed for the immediate goal.

      Which means I may have to put off my “Tsumemono Fest” series up until my final weight loss goal is reached. We’ll see by this Sunday, where I’ve since put cut that out.

  7. Great job on your weight loss so far. The main thing is to stick with it!

    I like the Myojo Chukazanmai brand ramen. I find that to get it to al dente it requires a longer cooking time than the normal Sapporo Ichiban which I think contributes to the overall flavor somehow. Or maybe it’s all in my head. :)

    • I found 4 minutes cooking time recommended on the package directions alone being a bit long. I’d go 3 minutes, then bowl it and let it sit. It’s so funny going into the “gist” of cooking packaged ramen. LOL!

  8. That’s our favorite brand of packaged ramen too and the only one we’ll eat. Too bad, it expensive compared to other packaged ramen. When we lived in California, we got used to buying it for 89-99 cents on sale!

    To combat the sodium, I tend to eat the noodles but drink only half the broth if that.

    I’m never tried ramen with wakame, I’ll have to try it next time!

    And keep plugging away at the weight loss, you’ll get there!

    • “Thorough instructions” on cooking packaged ramen still cracks me up! LOL No, but seriously, I bet many folks don’t think much beyond “the package”, and what goes into the TOPPINGS and GARNISH when it comes to “instant noodles”. THAT’S the key! With that, you can take a lowly 25 cents worth of enriched white flour and MSG, and turn it into at least $10 worth or more in nutritional and tasty value! Well O.K., maybe not THAT great, but you get the drift.

  9. Pomai, rice may be good for all but when I eaten too of it I gain weight too much carb. Noodle and ramems I do not much so. Now I cut down on the rice and eat noodle more and use whole wheat noodle in cooking.

    • I have yet to come across 100% whole wheat ramen noodles. I already have the 100% whole wheat pasta (spaghetti) version, which I’ll blog soon.

  10. Try the Myojo Chukazanmai cold noodles, the sauce is so ono and refreshing, great for hot days. Also, the stuffed grape leaves from Costco is yummy! Thanks for sharing.

    • Note to self: Add Myojo Chukazanmai Cold Noodles to Don Quijote/Marukai shopping list. Arigato Gozaimasu for the tip! Sounds oishii!

      Oh, and yeah, them Dolmades (Frankly Fresh Stuffed Grape Leaves) that Costco carries are pretty darned ono! I went for seconds and thirds when the “sample lady” was passing them out! LOVE Greek/Mediterranean Food. I actually ended up buying the Morning Star Chipotle Black Bean Veggie Burger Patties, which turned out being VERY TASTY! WINNER! I’ll get around to blogging that here, which along with the cold ramen noodles, will remain pending until when my weight can afford it.

  11. Wakame Tan Tan Ramen at Goma Tei and Goma Ichi have been my faves for years……add char siu at Goma Tei.

    Love your blog, you’re the most omoshiroi foodie in town.

  12. What! You got samples of the dolmades? I must be hanging out at the wrong Costco.

    The Myojo Chukazanmai Cold Noodles aren’t sold everywhere. Longs/CVS doesn’t include it when it goes on sale. Marukai carries it. Have you seen or tried the Myojo Chukazanmai brand in the chilled section of Don Quijote? Same flavors but chilled so fresher tasting noodles? Hmmm… must check it out.

    • Iwilei Costco were sampling the dolmades. Frankly, I don’t like that Costco location (too busy), but it’s close to my workplace, so it works (literally).

  13. Relating to your ramen broth issue if you notice in ramen ya’s the noodles are never cooked in the broth. They’re always cooked separately. Next time you have ramen try this – if you like more broth then add more water to your pot. It won’t affect the texture of the noodles similar to pasta. However, don’t add the dry and wet mix to the pot of noodles instead add it the bowl. Cook noodles usually I go 30 seconds below recommended cook time similar to al dente. When noodles are done, turn off heat and add the noodle water to the bowl to the desired amount of broth, mix the broth in the bowl then simply add your noodles. Your broth won’t be diluted. If you like more broth then add more water to the bowl and vice versa. おいしいよ

    If you want those soft boiled shoyu eggs that are dark on the outside.

    Boil eggs just below hard boiled or to your desired liking.
    Place eggs in cold water bath. Peel the eggs and place in a ziplock bag.
    Add shoyu, sake, mirin, etc and refrig for a few hours or overnight.
    Cut in half and add to ramen for gooey goodness.

    • See, I knew there was a secret to getting the egg that way. I’ve always kept it simple ‘n plain, however I’m SO gonna’ try that next time. Milo, you ROCK!

  14. Our Walmart carries this. $1.84. And did you throw an ume in there? Trying to keep your salt up for a trail run?

    • MUMS brand was my favorite brand too! I think Marukai carries that brand. I haven’t seen it Don Quijote though.

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