Saturday, September 24, 2011
I Found My Favorite Insta-Noodle Bowl! (Wang Food's Kitsune Udon)
I have spent a fair bit of time on the road pursuant to tasks related to my various employments. Mostly staying in crappy government rate hotels in towns you've never heard of (funny road story included at conclusion of this post). So due to the lack of nourishing options other than fast food I have often needed to obtain my nutrients from portable, easily prepared, convenience foods. Instant noodle bowls have always been one of my favorite road foods and I fancy myself something of a connoisseur.
Once upon a time I was amblin' around the great Southwest when I happened upon a smallish Korean Market (prob. in Arizona or New Mexico, I don't remember) where I picked up a noodle bowl that would become, arguably, my favorite of the genre. It is the Kitsune Udon bowl manufactured by Wang Foods. This is a Korean company's take on a very Japanese dish. Kitsune Udon means "fox udon" due to the fact that Japanese tradition holds that Aburaage is a favorite of sly Mr. Fox. If you don't know, aburaage is deep fried thin-ish chunks of tofu.
Anyhow, after a long period of not being able to find the Kitsune Udon, I was elated to spy the green bowl at the Asian market on Central Ave. in Albany. I eagerly snapped up a couple examples and quickly shuffled off home with my prize. The contents of the package are pictured below.
We have a vac pac of standard par cooked udon noodles, a sachet of dashi, your standard Japanese freeze dried veg pac, and the foil bag containing the real gem of this udon party, the dehydrated cube of aburaage.
You can boil the noodles for a few or add hot water and nuke. Then you drop your aburaage and let it rehydrate all tasty like. The fried tofu grows impressively.
There you go, now you happily slurp down your udon between bites of sweetish fried then sodden tofu. Very delicious, you must trust me. I always enjoy the Japanese tendency to throw crispy fried things into soup. This flys in the face of American crispy worship, but somehow works as far as I am concerned.
I love ramen/noodle bowls that contain little extras beyond your standard sachets of soup powder/oil/freeze dried veg (or weird freeze dried meat bits for that matter). In fact, the holy grail of complex instant noodle bowls seems to be GooTa Ramen which has all sorts of goodies (egg, real meat) included. If anyone can locate an online retailer that sells GooTa, or otherwise knows of a way that I may obtain a sample, I will find a way to reward your kindness. I have only read internet stories and have not been able to pin the stuff down.
(funny story bit mentioned earlier can be enjoyed beneath this parenthetical)
Anyhow, this whole discussion (mostly the travelling bit) reminded me of a funny story. Once I was staying sort of long term in a hotel. It only had a kitchenette with a microwave, sink, and coffee pot. Having tired of eating out, and being a great enemy of microwave cuisine, I decided to try to improvise.
To my mind it seemed perfectly logical that placing eggs (in their shells) in the pot of the coffee maker, letting the hot water pour over them, and then giving the whole deal a bit of time to sit would result in eggs that were at very least soft boiled (my favorite way of taking eggs in shells). Turns out I was wrong, I cracked one after a while and the whites where not even fully set. I decided it would be a good idea to finish the remaining balance of eggs off in the microwave. I put 3 eggs in the nuker for about 30 seconds, grabbed one and cracked the shell against the edge of the sink....
BOOOM!!! The thing went off like an egg grenade. I was left stunned and sputtering, burning hot egg shrapnel had blasted the entire right side of my body. The funniest thing was that as I was standing against a wall there was a sort of silhouette of my body outline on said wall (in steamy yellow egg shrapnel). I am sincerely grateful that I was not blinded or otherwise disfigured.
Moral of this story is, do not microwave eggs. Only bad can come of this.