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Meet The Two Brands Changing The Future Of Instant Ramen Noodles

Instant ramen noodles are the food that got most of us through our college years, sports events, and many other instances in life where we wanted a quick meal. Available as dried packs or bowls of noodles, all you needed was some hot water and 3 minutes to turn these into a meal.

While they are still a timeless staple, the noodle game has continued to evolve over the years. Today, there’s now two revolutionary companies changing how we look at instant noodles, with fresh, chef-crafted bowls that have the same convenience and cook time as the ramen packets of old.

One of these companies is Pressery, who is changing how we think about how instant noodles can be packaged. Their ramen kit concept is similar to that of a Chobani Flip cup, where granola on the side can be tipped over into your cup of yogurt. In a similar fashion, Pressery ramen kits come with a “lid” that’s actually filled with noodles. Inside each container is some bone broth, which you add the noodles into, microwave in 3-4 minutes, mix in the spice packet, and slurp up just like standard instant ramen.

Pressery works off of a mixture of convenience and nutrition. It’s as fast to prep as a bowl of dried noodles, but comes loaded with protein (rather than salt, as most packaged ramen packets do) and fresh noodles over the shelf-stable fried ones. The product is perfect for grab-and-go from the fridge and provides a satiating meal in a pinch.

Similar to Pressery, Nona Lim Foods is also getting into the instant noodle bowl business. Their packaging is different, as the noodles and broth come in separate packets that you fill into the bowl and microwave. However, they also cook in just three minutes, and come packed with flavor built into the broth, whether it be for a spicy ramen bowl or even plant-based Dan Dan Noodles made with Beyond Meat.

Nona Lim also capitalizes on satiety and nutrition, as their noodle bowls can contain as many as 27 grams of protein per serving. It’s definitely more of a meal than the snack that instant ramen can sometimes be, and delivers massive punches of authentic flavor. This stems from their broths and sauces, which are made using traditional ingredients like Szechuan peppercorns, fish sauce, lemongrass oil, and star anise.

Both Nona Lim and Pressery are taking the instant noodle game to the next level through their convenience and freshness. What makes them stand out, however, is that they also excel in the refrigerated grab-and-go category. This area has expanded rapidly in supermarkets in recent years, as consumers demand more convenience with better-for-you and nutritious, filling products.

Each company also utilizes fresh noodles that can be reheated easily. As a result, the noodles can retain their chew and elasticity, whereas dried noodles tend to be fried and lose that when reconstituted with hot water. The result aligns more with what actual bowls of ramen or other noodles would taste like in a restaurant, combined with the convenience of being able to make these in your microwave.

These noodle bowls meet all of those desires and provide the nostalgia of tucking into a bowl of instant ramen from your college and bachelor days. However, the taste and texture sensations are a far cry from those noodle packets of old, and they’re pushing the entire industry to be more creative, more clean label, and more delicious.

You can find Nona Lim’s noodle bowls at several retailers nationwide starting in May, including Whole Foods, Hyvee, Amazon Go, and select Walmart and 7-Eleven stores. They are also sold online via Amazon and Nona Lim’s website. As for Pressery, their ramen kits are available in retailers like West Coast Costcos, East Coast Targets, and Whole Foods and Natural Grocer outlets in Colorado.

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Opinion

Get Ready, We’re Close To Paying For Food With Social Media

Imagine pulling up to McDonald’s, opening an app that tracks your Instagram or Twitter activity, and being able to pay for your Big Mac for having five followers, or paying for your date’s dinner using social credit accumulated through charity donations.

I’m talking social currency, fairly similar to the “Nosedive” episode from Netflix’s Black Mirror, where your social status is tracked and deemed a deciding factor for all purchases, from the vacation trips you can afford to what food you can eat.

While Black Mirror is meant to freak you out with its absurd sci-fi horror-based situations, technology shouldn’t frighten us.

It’s time to accept it, because these advances are coming fast, and you don’t want to get left behind.

Black Mirror’s “Nosedive” predicted our use of social currency/Courtesy of Netflix

Case in point, the selfie-powered vending machine that’s already been spotted on U.S. soil.

The machine’s premise is simple: you push the big “start” button, take a selfie, use its randomly generated hashtag, and the moment you post it to your Instagram account, the machine will either drop some Cup Noodles, a Jump Force video game, gift cards, or Cup Noodles swag.

Even with countries like Japan and Germany having insane vending machines that spit out pancakes, beer and other goodies, those all obviously run on monetary currency that we’re all accustomed to.

You literally pay with your Instagram posts, and it’s one of the first steps to a Black Mirror-projected future that we must be ready to embrace with open arms.

As I write this, there is someone taking a selfie and waiting for their prize to come out of that machine. That’s not even hyperbole, I literally know it’s happening at this moment because our own Foodbeast tech director Chris Abouabdo gets text messages every time someone uses it, and I hear his phone buzzing relentlessly during the workday.

Yes, the two geniuses behind the machine are in-house Foodbeast developers, but I’m not just trying to hype up or toot the company horn here — I’m writing this because it could legitimately help push forward a social currency-led future.

While these “FOODBEAST #DreamMachines” have sat on the shopping mall floors of The Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, California, and the Las Vegas South Premium Outlets in Las Vegas, they were built within the Foodbeast office walls by engineers Rudy Chaney and Abouabdo.

Every once in a while, I’d run downstairs, and ask about the machine, and one of the points that stuck with me most, was Chris matter-of-factly telling me they could have “easily” made the machine run on people’s follower counts if they wanted to, giving more expensive prizes to people with more followers.

They even could have hypothetically gone as far as only giving prizes to those who wrote positive things about the vending machine within their post, which shows the possibility to advance the social currency concept further.

From the moment they figured out how to get the machine to run, writing the specific commands and functions was cake for two engineers of their caliber.

If you need further proof that the future is now, let’s take a quick trip to China.

Anyone who’s been to China knows that they’ve mostly said goodbye to cash, and primarily pay through currency apps such as WeChat. Whether you roll up to get some Yang’s braised chicken, or dancing noodles at Hai Di Lao Hot Pot, citizens pull out their phones in lieu of cash or credit.

 

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That’s just the scratched surface, however, as the country has been testing “social credit” since 2014, tracking and rewarding its citizens who conduct positive lifestyles.

Yup. That’s happening right now. In 2019.

The FOODBEAST #DreamMachine concept obviously wasn’t built to rank people according to their followers, likes, or anything of the sort. The goal was basically to find a cool way to give away Cup Noodles and swag.

But the technology to take things a step further now exists.

The machine has caught the attention of the tech world, including the raspberry pi community, which is the mini computer the guys used to build this thing.

Sometimes all it takes is the wherewithal to know something is possible, and someone could easily start working on their own version of the technology.

We could easily see copycat ideas, and if food brands are smart enough to push their own marketing strategies, we’ll soon live in a world where you have to take a selfie and post a hashtag to get through a Starbucks door, or automatically get 10% off your Chick-Fil-A order for sending out a tweet. I mean, we already kind of do that when checking in to restaurants on Yelp or Facebook, so the next step can’t be too much further.

 

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Now back to the Black Mirror concepts. It’s easy to scare yourself through the episode’s horror and bleak lens into technology’s darker side premise, but if this little revolutionary vending machine shows anything, it’s that if put into the right hands, technology can be used for progress.

Chaney and Abouabdo spoke very candidly about the vending machine on The Katchup podcast, down to admitting that the machine actually was inspired by Black Mirror.

“I had been watching Black Mirror, where everything in your life is based off your social status,” Chaney said on the podcast. “I just remember thinking, ‘How crazy would it we made a vending machine that would spit out prizes based on how cool you are on Instagram?'”

Thankfully that wasn’t the final premise, and the machine was built with a more user-friendly experience.

It all starts by figuring out that first step, and it appears that paying for food through social currency has already taken that first step in the form of a selfie-powered Cup Noodles vending machine.

To hear the full podcast with the fathers of our inevitable social-based pay methods, Rudy Chaney and Chris Abouabdo, be sure to tune in to The Katchup and subscribe to hear more on iTunes, Spotify and anywhere podcasts can be heard.

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This NEW FOODBEAST #DreamMachine Uses Social Media As Currency For Free Noodles

Folks on Instagram have recently been spotted posting selfies with a vending machine that dispenses free Nissin Cup Noodles, among a variety of other free prizes.

 

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Dubbed the FOODBEAST #DreamMachine, the special vending machine from Nissin Foods USA and Foodbeast dispenses its loot using Instagram. Anyone can walk up and push the big button to activate the Dream Machine.

Instructions on the screen will prompt the user to take a photo with the machine. Next, the user will post their photo to Instagram using a special hashtag generated by the machine.

Photo by Pete Pham

After the selfie and hashtag are posted, the Dream Machine knows what to do and will dispense a prize, ranging from free Cup Noodles to JumpForce video games, and even gift cards to various retailers.

Could this be the future of how vending machines work? Using social media to power one is a pretty intriguing concept, especially when free noodles and video games are involved.

Photo by Ashley Schwarzman

The FOODBEAST #DreamMachine will be in the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, California starting March 1, and the Las Vegas Premium Outlets South in Las Vegas, Nevada starting March 6. They will be dispensing prizes throughout March, so make sure to check one out!


Map of Del Amo Fashion Center


Map of Las Vegas Premium Outlets South

Where would YOU like the FOODBEAST #DreamMachine to travel next?


Created in partnership with Nissin Cup Noodles

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Seattle Restaurant’s Viral Mt. Fuji Burger Just Got Turned Into Cup Noodles

Katsu Burger, a Seattle phenomenon specializing in fried cutlets, is known for their colossal Mt. Fuji Burger. This burger mountain features three different types of katsu, and is a towering wonder to behold.

The restaurant is taking its viral creation and transforming it into an epic stack of Nissin Cup Noodles that’s best described as a double-decker ramen burger in a cup.

The cup is filled with shredded cabbage, just like the original burger. From there, a ramen version of the Katsu burger is layered on top. The bottom layer features bacon, a crispy, fried noodle patty made with Cup Noodles, cheddar cheese, and chicken katsu.

Next is a second noodle patty, pork katsu, pepper jack cheese, and a fried egg. To top it all off, the burger is finished with a final layer of ramen, American cheese, 12-spice seasoning, spicy mayo, pickle and eggplant.

All in all, it’s an impressive ramen burger stack that you have to taste to believe.

Katsu Burger will be carrying this Cup Noodles version of its Mt. Fuji for the next month.


Created in partnership with Original Cup Noodles

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A NYC Filipino Taqueria Is Serving Up Their Take On A Sinigang Cup Noodles

A New York City Filipino favorite just joined Nissin Cup Noodles and tangy sinigang together in a mouthwatering combination.

The Sinigang Cup Noodles was created by Jordan Andino of Flip Sigi, a “Filipino Taqueria” that serves up classic eats from the Philippines in sandwich, taco, and burrito form. For Andino, this item is the fusion of his love for Nissin Cup Noodles growing up and one of his favorite traditional dishes.

For those who’ve never tried, sinigang is a tamarind-based soup that provides a bright, acidic punch of flavor. Andino’s spin involves braising beef short ribs in the broth for three and a half hours to perfectly contrast the richness of the meat.

He then combines that with Nissin Cup Noodles, tomatoes, scallions and carrots before garnishing the bowl with fries dusted in tamarind powder. The crispy spuds add a crunch that brings out the lusciousness of the noodles and beef, making for a full-on flavor and texture experience.

Andino’s dish bridges together traditional Filipino food and Nissin Cup Noodles in a standout explosion of taste that you have to try for yourself. It’ll be available at Flip Sigi as a special item for the entirety of November, while supplies last.

Photos by Marc Kharrat


Created in partnership with Nissin Cup Noodles

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Thai Green Curry Meets Cup Noodles In This Restaurant’s Heartwarming Dish

When in Queens, New York, you can’t pass up family-run Thailand’s Center Point if you want some authentic Thai cuisine. The restaurant/grocery store hybrid has been touted as the destination for local Thais in search for a taste of home.

It’s also known for a adding a modern interpretation to classic dishes, which can be seen in one of their newest creations: Thai Green Curry Cup Noodles.

Created by owner Annie Phinphatthakul, the dish is a blend between the intricate aromas of Thai green curry and the Cup Noodles her daughter loves. It brings together the savory umami of the Nissin Cup Noodles with the aromatic punch you’ll find in traditional green curry.

The sauce and noodles combine in a bowl with avocado, corn, bell pepper, and two kinds of shrimp – fried whole and freshly cooked tails – to add all different kinds of textures and tastes to the dish.

Fans of both Nissin Cup Noodles and legit Thai food will want to flock to Thailand’s Center Point to get this exclusive item. It’ll be on the menu starting October 18, while supplies last.

Photo by Marc Kharrat


Created in partnership with Nissin Cup Noodles

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Culture Design

Cup Noodles Just Dropped A Bunch Of Merch You’ll Want To Cop ASAP

Instant ramen, including Top Ramen and Cup Noodles, is the food that got us through childhood, college, bachelor life, you name it. When the going got tough, it was there for us. And now, there’s a whole online shop of Cup Noodles merch for us to rep your favorite instant comfort.

Photo courtesy of Cup Noodles

The new Nissin fan store website just launched with a lineup of branded swag, including shirts, hats, and other gear that you can rep. Items range from a $4 variety pack of a stickers to a $500 “Send Noods” neon sign and a whole bunch of stuff in between.

Photo courtesy of Cup Noodles

For those looking for some Halloween costume ideas, there are options in the shop as well that let you or your dog dress up as a bowl of noodles.

All of the gear is limited edition, so if you want to cop it, you should head to the online store sooner rather than later. As of publication time, though, nothing has sold out just yet.

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Packaged Food

Cup Noodles Unveils First Entirely Vegetarian Flavor: Soy Sauce

Like pretty much every college student, you would find a case of Cup Noodles tucked underneath my bed during my school days. You’d typically either get chicken or beef, and while both were fire, they left me wanting a little more variety.

Last year, Original Cup Noodles released a new Very Veggie product that doubled up on the vegetables served. Now, the brand has announced the addition of the very first completely vegetarian flavor: Soy Sauce.

The Very Veggie selection was the first-ever instant noodle cup to contain a full serving of vegetables* with varieties including Chicken, Spicy Chicken, and Beef Broth.

Cup Noodles Very Veggie Soy Sauce is completely vegetarian and features a blend of edamame, carrots, shredded bok choy, and green beans. While technically all the ingredients in the new flavor are vegan and do not contain any animal by-products, they are processed in the same facility as the non-vegetarian variants.

The new Soy Sauce Cup Noodles is now available nationwide, and can be found at many grocery store retailers. If you don’t feel like rolling the dice, you can find exactly where the instant noodle cups are sold here.


Disclaimer: While Original Cup Noodle is a frequent branded/advertising campaign partner with Foodbeast, this piece is an independent editorial and was not written in partnership with them.
*Each cup of Cup Noodles Very Veggie contains ¼ cup of dehydrated vegetables that rehydrates to one full serving (½ cup equivalent)