The 2014 Ramen Review

Wow, has it really been almost 4 years since my last ramen review? So much for this being the annual post I’d intended. But I had intentions, yes! Here are the pictures and notes that have been sitting on my computer all last year to prove it. While I have tried to eat healthier over the past couple of years, there are still some days when I really needed a noodle fix. Pregnancy cravings are a thing, yo. So, as a public service to those of you in Finland who would like to know what’s what in the world of supermarket ramen, here I go again!

iMee Creamy Shrimp Tom Yum – This was a brand that I hadn’t noticed the last time I looked carefully through the ramen aisle, so maybe it was a fairly recent addition. One can only hope that even though these are just instant noodles, our local population has seen enough cultural variety that the supermarket had to up their game a bit from the cardboard stuff I tried last time. These noodles smelled nice and not stale, if you know what I mean. There was a nutty noodle-y smell. Yes, that is totally a word, I say so. Even without the chili oil provided in the package, it was a bit spicier than other Tom Yums I’ve tried before. Would get this again, but possibly add egg or something else to cut the spice a bit. Plus side — clear sinuses, yay!

Mama Beef Stew – I was happy enough with the Tom Yum from this range that I grabbed a few of the other flavors to try as well. This one actually tastes genuinely similar to real beef stew. I was impressed. Not too salty or greasy at all, either. Added a poached egg (my favorite ramen topping) and some peas,  was quite happy with the result. Definitely one to stock up on.

Mama Pork with Whole Wheat Noodles – Don’t know if I really noticed any difference using the whole wheat noodles, but the broth was nice, as always. I fancied this one up a little more than usual, though, with sliced lamb and by heating it up in the leftover jus of the frying pan. Still, I do think that pork is probably a good choice for adding meats to because it is not as overpowering as beef or as recognizable as chicken. So overall, this flavor probably wasn’t as memorable as some of the others, but made a pleasant backdrop for add-ins. I wouldn’t kick it out of my pantry shelves, you might say.

iMee Green Curry Chicken – Once again, nice smelling noodles. This one had a powder and an oil pack, which was promising. Spicy, but not as hot as the tom yum, which made it pleasant. Had this one with poached eggs and peas. Overall, non-offending, fragrant, and would do for a curry fix if I was feeling super lazy. Might get this again, depending on how I feel about the other curry options available.

Mama Chicken – I like this brand because they include an oil/fat packet as well as the spice packet, which adds a richer dimension to the bowl than most other brands. I put dumplings and broccoli in this bowl but usually like to put poached eggs in chicken noodles. This chicken flavor also comes in a larger 500ml size, which is good for dinner rather than the 350ml lunch size. This is one of those flavors that nobody can find offending, so I like to keep a small supply of them in my emergency pantry for those nights when there’s nothing in the fridge.

Yeo’s Chicken Ramen – Decent but on the bland side. Not as completely cardboard as the Blue Dragon stuff, but not as decent as the Mama stuff either. It uses just a powder flavoring packet, so doesn’t have the extra tastiness that comes from throwing in a packet of real chicken fat. OK in a pinch, but would still go with the Mama stuff if given a choice.

One update I can add is that, since my last ramen review, we have had several major changes to the restaurant scene here in Rauma. That includes a very good Nepalese place, a decent Asian fusion place, and a pan-Asian place that I’m still making up my mind about. This does help to mitigate my Asian food cravings without having to resort to the MSG aisle of the supermarket 🙂 I have also started seeing more smallish Asian shops popping up, which stock specialty ingredients and make it easier to put together a meal from scratch. Still, the university student in me will still occasionally surface, demanding canned Campbell’s soup and instant ramen. Ain’t no shame in embracing them all.

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