7/28/09 | Maruchan Teriyaki Yakisoba
[ Currently Eating: Chicken Porridge ]
Well, well, well, well.
Here is what I have to say:
I guess I would eat this Maruchan Teriyaki Yakisoba during or after an earthquake which devastated all the earth’s food supplies. Hella yes.
Otherwise, I probably won’t be eating this again.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m usually game for a revisit on any of these dollar junk food items. I think it may have something to do with the fact that I’ve come down with a bit of a stomach bug the past couple days. So talking about MSG laden instant noodles right now is not high on my priorities.
Oh poor me. I can feel reader sympathy dripping through the eaves like so much Diet Dr. Pepper.
Anyhow, here’s the deal. I’m pretty familiar with Yakisoba style dishes. My mom cooked it all the time for lunch. I think I’ve eaten enough of them, whether homemade, in a restaurant, fresh storebought and dried storebought to know that this particular Maruchan one is one of the lowest of low-brow yakisobas that you will get.
Please note, I’m not claiming to be a Yakisoba expert. I’m just saying I’ve eaten a lot of them.
Yakisoba (i.e. Fried Noodles) is basically a bastardized verison of Chow Mein, which (at most faux-Chinese restaurants) is often a sort of a bastardized, Americanized version of more traditional Chinese noodle dishes. Maruchan Yakisoba seems to be a bastardized version of normal Yakisoba itself, so by transitive property, you can fill in blanks.
That’s a lot of bastards.
I’m generalizing here, but usually it’s a kitchen sink compilation comprised of stir fried noodles with various bits of meat (pork, beef, chicken), veggies (carrots, cabbage, onion, water chestnuts, corn, bell pepper) in sauce that is reminiscient of Worcestshire, oyster or Tonkatsu sauces. It’s not that soupy usually – it’s more on the dry side, with the noodles absorbing the sauce so they turn brown in color.
I dunno if it’s traditional, but a lot of times you’ll put a fine dry seaweed powder on top. This is often called “Laver”, which, if you ask a few of my more traditional relatives, they may pronounce variously: “raver”, “lavel”, or “Ravel”. French Impressionist music and instant noodles, excellente.
Companies like Sapporo Ichiban have been making a dried variety of Yakisoba since forever. This is sort of my yardstick against which I was measuring this Maruchan variety. There’s also supposed to be a popular brand called “UFO” which I somehow haven’t tried yet. Maybe that’s next up on the review list.
I guess what drew me to this one in particular was the fact that it had it’s own “tray” and you could just add water and nuke it. Usually, Yakisoba is made in a frying pan – even the instant version. At least I used to make the instant variety in a pan. It tasted much better than this one.
I don’t know if not pan frying it might have affected the outcome a bit. I felt this version was wetter and much too soupy. The yakisoba I’ve had before, whether in a restaurant or the instant variety, is almost always nearly dry. They have two packets in this box. The first is the dehydrated “vegetables” which are more for morale than anything else. You heat that up with the noodles and water. The second packet is the sauce flavor one, which you dump in at the end.
Here’s a breakdown:
The noodles – Hey, let’s hear it for instant ramen noodles. They are pretty much the same noodles you’d find in typical ramen. The color was a little light for Yakisoba, I was wondering if perhaps I missed sprinkling all the sauce packet into the tray in my rush to eat it. The fresh packaged versions of Yakisoba noodles are 10 times better if you can get it (look for it in specialty Asian markets), but still, I guess I’d eat this during an earthquake.
The sauce – They say “teriyaki” flavor – I’m not sure what that has to do with anything, but I did notice that this tastes a little different than your standard yakisoba sauce, which is worcestshire flavored. It’s a bit sweeter, and does seem Teriyaki flavored. As I said before, this is more watery than usual. I want to say I taste some sort of apple thingy as well. It had MSG to the Max, pidgin style. But I guess I would eat it during an earthquake.
Veggie packet – I don’t know why they even bother. These are the same dehydrated bits of carrot and onions that you get in Cup O Noodles. Except for the addition of some cabbage shreds, which were actually the highlight of the meal, I could do without the obligatory veggie specks. If they really wanted to cut costs, they should just omit it and lower the price by 50 cents or so. Actually, if I remember correctly, the Sapporo Ichiban dried version doesn’t have any veggies at all in it, thus leading to a much lower price. Again, I would eat it before during or after an earthquake.
Overall – I guess what I have to say is that I would eat this before, during or after a debilitating earthquake. The convenience of the tray to let you warm it up in the microwave is sort of lost on me. I think I would rather spend less and get the lowest brow Ichiban variety. It’s nothing like fresh packaged yakisoba or yakisoba made at a restaurant. But hell, what are you going to do during an earthquake anyhow.
Price: $0.99 for 4 oz.
Found At: Fresh & Easy
Cheap Eats Score: 3/10
[Editor's Note: You may notice I seem to be mighty concerned about earthquakes. This is true, mainly because I am able to psychically predict them. I do this by eating a plate of Yakisoba and counting the number of times the noodles interweave. The next large one in California will be on August 5, 2015. You heard it here first. Still lots of time to stock up on supplies...]