Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Maruchan Ramen – Picante Chicken

Ramen is well known as a college delicacy, being that you can usually score a pack for two dimes, its quick and simple to make, and did I mention it was really cheap?  When I was a kid, not aware of all the hoopla that surrounds the mythical Ramen, my mother would serve me some every so often and it seemed innocent enough.  Now, the traditional and easiest to find flavors like Beef are almost impossible for me to fathom eating—I’ve suffered severe and possibly fatal burnout.  That’s where Picante Chicken comes in, a decidedly different twist on the familiar formula.

Bonus points for festive packaging, Maruchan delivers big, with a border that calls to mind piñata pummeling days of yesteryear, and a package front complete with red chilies and a decadent dose of south of the border style.

Ramen is meant to be eaten as a noodle soup, but years ago I created my own signature method of cooking Ramen, with the desired result being something more akin to lo mein noodles.  The picture on the top shows what the package decrees as the perfect time to plop your dinner into a bowl, but on the bottom, you’ll see if you cook them an additional few minutes, keeping an eye as the broth boils away that your noodles don’t stick, my original voice in Ramen.

Dinner’s served!  The package that contains your seasoning also has some red pepper bits mingled in that serve as a mighty flavorful boost.  While most Ramen flavors generally taste pretty similar, Picante Chicken reminds me almost of Spanish rice, and that notable difference helps set it about from its noodle brethren.  While not a self-sufficient standalone meal, I think it’d make a decent accompaniment to a fuller meal.  If you’re leaning on the fence about trying Ramen, especially a new and bold flavor, just dig into your sofa for some spare change and that’s really all you have to lose.

Overall Grade: C+ 

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