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Did anyone know there was Udon Ramen?

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So I went to Costco the other day to do some regular shopping and saw a Nong Shim Udon Noodle Bowl for sale. I never seen a Udon that's a ramen before so I had to try it.

For those that haven't tried it, I would suggest that you try it if you like Japanese Udon noodles. I think only certain Costco's carry this Udon from some research I did but for sure they carry it here in the Bay Area.

http://thenoodleguy.com/2013/05/01/no...

The amount they give you in this bowl is a lot more than your regular packaged ramen.

Let me know what you guys think if anyone has ever tried this Udon Ramen Bowl!

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  1. I'm always a fan of NongShim instant ramen. I'll give this a shot the next time I see it. I believe they are sold at chinese, korean, and japanese grocery stories.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Cary

      Yes I've seen them as well in asian grocery stores. I guess it's pretty great to see that major chains like Costco are beginning to sell these :) I suppose that Instant Ramen from Maruchan is going to get major competition now

    2. Not to be pedantic, but not all instant noodles are 'ramen'. IIRC, those udon bowls are about as good of udon as instant ramen is ramen.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ricepad

        thank you. I was thinking that but didn't know how to say it without worrying about coming across as a know it all. You did well.

      2. I am not sure if we are using the same term. Ramen is a style of Japanese noodle which itself is based on Chinese noodle. This is the real ramen:

        http://image.www.rakuten.co.jp/hakata...

        Udon is another style of noodle. I must say your original title confused me, but then I finally realized what you meant. You probably assume "Ramen" means "Instant Noodle". No, instant noodles are instant noodles, and a lot of instant noodles try to go for the ramen style noodle. However, they are not really the same thing.

        Think of it this way, not all canned soup are chicken soup -- despite many canned soup are some forms of chicken soups.

        Now, back to you post again, there are udon noodle which are made into instant noodle package style. It is not all that uncommon.

        12 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Like your photo, but...are you saying that instant ramen is not "real"? Personally, I prefer the kinky instant ramen. It's wavy! '-)

          Udon bowls have been around for a while now. For me, the easiest source is amazon.com with a Prime membership and free shipping. A good way to estimate which is most likely to be "authentic" is by comparing package weights; the heavier the "noodle bowl" the more likely the noodles will be udon. But also be wary of the cheapest of the heavy brands. I made that mistake and was stupid enough to order two cartons of different flavors. Problem: the udon was musty and bad tasting. Didn't make me sick, but I sure didn't want to finish the stuff.

          The packaging of udon bowls is a bit different than ramen. The udon is sealed in a plastic bag and you have to open it and put the noodles back into the bowl, then the flavoring packet(s). The hot soak will let the udon separate and free themselves from being welded together. And be aware that just because it says "udon" on the package doesn't mean the noodles will be the standard fat chewy noodles we all know and love. Skinny udon sucks! Here's a link to my favorite brand of udon bowls: http://tinyurl.com/a8uhp7u Note that they are nowhere near as cheap as Maruchan ramen, therefore they are non-competitors.

          I'm sure it would be less expensive and probably taste better if I just stocked up on frozen udon noodles from the 99 Ranch freezer section and nuked then in a bowl of water with a little instant dashi konbu powder and a few chopped scallions. Oh, well. Lazy is as lazy does...

          Ok CK... In the ramen photo you've shared, do you (or does anyone else) ever wonder what happened to the rest of that hard boiled egg? I mean, WHO eats just one slice of a hard boiled egg? Probably the same guys who eat just one Lay's Potato Chip. FAT CHANCE! '-)

          1. re: Caroline1

            < In the ramen photo you've shared, do you (or does anyone else) ever wonder what happened to the rest of that hard boiled egg? >

            First, thanks for pointing something out. The egg in that photo is not correct. That looks to be a regular hard boil egg. In most ramen shops, the eggs should be "hanjuku egg" -- egg yolk should be semi-running. The eggs should look more like this:

            http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z1...

            http://www.souschef.co.uk/bureau-of-t...

            http://www.japanfoodaddict.com/wp-con...

            Anyway, I usually get one-half of this hanjuku egg. The other half is for some other people. :P

            I know a ramen shop chef/owner in Philly pretty well. What he does is that he prepared a bunch of these hanjuku eggs. Whenever a customer order a ramen, he cut the egg in half and put one in each bowl. The next order gets the other half.

            1. re: Caroline1

              Caroline1, have you had non-instant ramen? I think of the packaged wavy ramen as the equivalent of Chef Boyardee canned pasta to home made pasta and sauce. Same family, but they don't look remotely related.

              If you have a bowl of ramen at a ramenya, it will look very much like that picture with only 1/2 an egg. My problem with the egg is that it's overcooked. Should still be soft in the center. But if you have had a bowl of that with only 1/2 an egg, I'm pretty sure you won't be hungry. It's very filling especially with the cha shu pork and tonkotsu broth.

              If a package that says udon contains skinny noodles, well that's just false advertising.

              1. re: Bkeats

                First off, hard boiled eggs were usually pretty standard ramen toppings, not the hanjyuku/ half-boiled glossy types. The hangyuku thing is only something that has become popular that last few years. I love them too. But hard boiled are not unusual. Sometimes raw eggs are used...even on instant ramen.

                Regarding udon, this is just the general name for these type of wheat noodles. There are both thin and thick gauge udon. It depends on what region of Japan they are from. The popular thick gauge that many of us associate with standard udon are usually called "Sanuki" style, which is the old name of northern Kagawa Prefecture on Shikoku Island. The packaging of the noodles that Caroline linked indeed says "Sanuki Style Udon".

                1. re: Silverjay

                  Silverjay - as always, thanks for the lesson on udon. Always thought it should be thick, but no reason to be. Udon would then be close cousin to korean kalguksu (sp?).

                  1. re: Silverjay

                    Caroline suspects the package may say "Sanuki Style Udon" in Japanese? I can't find it in English! Or maybe I'm blind. '-)

                    Which brings up an interesting question that you may be one of the few who can answer for me, Silverjay. I gave up trying to learn Japanese waaaaaaaaaay back in the 50s because Japanese was what you might call "two languages," a version with grammar as spoken by women, and the dominant grammar spoken by males. At that time it was impossible to learn to speak "like a woman" unless you lived in Japan. But language can change incredibly fast, and Japanese has certainly done that, what with all of the "Americanizations" and such that have wormed their way into the language. So my question is whether the "two language" paradigm is still true in Japan today, or do women and men now use the same grammar? What about television news casters? It's all sooooooo complicated! '-) Thanks!

                    As for Bkeat's question of whether I've had "real" ramen (as in non-instant), yes, but it's been a while. When I lived in El Paso nearly nine years ago now, I frequented a small strip mall Japanese restaurant owned by Japanese immigrants that featured a little authentic (old fashioned) sushi, and for insiders, a LOT of fantastic Japanese food you can rarely (if ever?) find in "Japanese" restaurants located in America. That, and the fact that "fusion" is melting away traditional ethnic foods of all counties when it comes to restaurant eating. And that is a major loss to mankind! Even Anthony Bourdain had to go into a private home on one of his shows to experience authentic native food when he did one of his shows on Istanbul, for example. If there is an equivalent neighborhood Japanese family style restaurant in the Dallas area, I've not yet found it. <sigh>

                    As for eggs in ramen OR in "instant" udon, someone made an interesting suggestion on amazon.com about eggs in such dishes. He (or she) suggests breaking an egg into a bowl, then pouring the still very hot freshly brewed "instant" Japanese style soup over the raw egg and allowing it to sit longer to cook to your preferred doneness. Interesting concept. But a lot of people use the "instant" (3 minute soak) Japanese style soups as a basis for more elaborate dishes, as you can see in the photos in the link I supplied above for my favorite instant udon.

                    1. re: Caroline1

                      The very first instant ramen invented by Momofuku Ando was called "Chikin Ramen" which didn't include a flavor pack because the flavorings were coating the dried noodles. His brilliance was making a concave indentation on the noodle "brick" so that it fits a raw egg that would stay in place while hot water was poured over the dried noodles. This is the standard way Japanese people have been eating it for a couple generations now. See the photo of the package in the following link.
                      http://www.spoon-tamago.com/2008/08/2...

                      As for the language issue, yes, there is still a dual language system. But that has much more to do with formal (keigo) and informal spoken Japanese. Women, usually considered subordinate in the status hierarchy, would use keigo to speak to elders or others higher in status. This applies in subordinate/senior relationships as well. While that rigid system has always been in place, one might argue that there are a few more variations to the language, complicating matters even more. There is a distinct "guys" language, as well as a "girl's" language ('exaggerated cuteness being de rigueur), as well as many offshoots depending on class, and regional variations.

                      1. re: E Eto

                        Good points. I think it is worth noting that there is actually no grammatical gender in Japanese (unlike, say, Latin languages) so it really isn't that much an issue...Gender stuff is more of an affected approach to speaking rather than a part of the language itself. Every once in a while I'll meet a foreign dude who ends his sentences like women. I figure he is picking up his Japanese from a wife/ girlfriend and mimicking her without realizing the differences.

                        The difficulty of Japanese is two-fold: dealing with the keigo honorific language that you mention and dealing with kanji.

                        Kanji is difficult because you basically have to straight out memorize characters. So for example Sanuki is written as 讃岐 (these are the characters on the udon cup in the linked photo above). The only way you will know this is if you learn it and remember it. To make matters worse, on menus or packaging and such, kanji can often be handwritten or printed in a stylized, calligraphic way. I have to say that while I am waaaaaay behind the curve on keigo, I'm getting pretty good at reading the (food related) kanji.

                        A few years ago there was a series of throwback style commercials on Japanese tv for instant ramen where I young sweaty guy in a wife beater t-shirt or something like that, sits on the floor in a steaming hot room, old style fan blowing on his face, as he pours hot water and raw egg over his ramen. They were pretty cool. No BGM. Just sound of fan and the sizzle of the egg and then the slurping guy.

                        1. re: Silverjay

                          Even easier is google translate, type in "Sanuki Udon" and set output to Japanese, and out comes 讃岐うどん. It's been great for me because when I email my sushi chef that I would like to request some マグロ漬け be made, he understood.

                          I did hear a Japanese female once say that for miso soup, which is miso shiru, she asks for it by Omisoshiru, the "O" is added on there I'm guessing due to keigo, but in her perspective and upbringing (part of which E Eto already explained regarding the status hierarchy ), she didn't want to sound like she came from a lower class family.

                          1. re: K K

                            Yes, but how would you use google translate to read the packaging?

                            1. re: Silverjay

                              That's true...no ability to reverse engineer on that one :-o

                        2. re: E Eto

                          A long time ago, I worked in a Japanese restaurant where former marines and sailors would come in and try out the Japanese they'd picked up while stationed in Japan (I don't remember what bases). It was funny when these big, burly guys would bust out Japanese they hadn't used in ages, and they'd be using the lingo of young women. I always figured they learned it while hanging around brothels. While I was tempted, I never asked, "Why do you talk like a little girl?"

              2. What do you mean by Udon Ramen? The link shows a container of udon. Why do you call it udon ramen? They're two completely different kinds of noodles. I can't get my head around that. It's like saying lasagna spaghetti.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Bkeats

                  I think the original poster confuses ramen with instant noodle. For some people, the only ramen they have experienced are these:

                  http://www.blog.thehoya.com/wp-conten...

                  http://www.maruchan.com/index_images/...

                  As such, ramen is the same as instant noodle for the original poster. So when he saw an instant noodle style of udon, he calls it udon ramen.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    What's odd if you look at this guys blog he def seems to know what real ramen is, also his previous posts. So I am even more befuddled as to the ramen udon thing.

                  2. re: Bkeats

                    I think the intent was more like "Lasagna Spaghetti-Os"

                    1. re: joonjoon

                      I think the intent is really "Fired rice congee."

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Now there's a fun dish! Where can I order some? But I want mine without the typo... '-)

                        1. re: Caroline1

                          Thanks for catching the typo.

                          Fried rice congee. :D

                  3. Costco already has organic udon packs where you just cook them, but you provide your own condiments and broth. They are just noodle packs.

                    This Nongshim Korean brand is just basically selling a prepackaged bowl or container of udon where you just add hot water and heat it up, but the noodles I'm guessing are not dehydrated like instant ramen or instant udon. Probably just filling a niche in the market for quick easy cheap affordable meals vs the old frozen TV dinner....and judging from the packaging, this is marketed specifically for the USA and maybe Canada.

                    Speaking of hanjuku tamago... been reading Hong Kong based blog posts where you can get that at a local 7-Elevens now, or buy one and take it home...apply some heat, and bam, instant golden runny egg. They have this, and we have Nongshim Udon....

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: K K

                      Yeah they've had those types of eggs at conbini in Japan for years.

                    2. Sorry about all the confusion. Had a long day yesterday and wasn't really paying attention when I wrote Ramen. What I meant to say was Instant Noodle instead of Ramen.

                      Just wanted to get some feedback on these instant noodle bowls, that's all.

                      Again, sorry for any confusion.

                      1. I've only seen them on Amazon, but not in any of our local stores. I wouldn't mind trying them though if they do become available. I love to use the ramen noodles in my own home made stir frys (I ditch the seasoning packet and add fresh veggies and seasonings).