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Make Pho In Under 3 Minutes With These Game-Changing Instant Noodle Bowls

Instant noodles aren’t normally seen as a delicacy, but be prepared to have that notion flipped. Malleable yet texturally distinctive, they can be found in most pantries, regardless of cultural background. But sometimes the average batch of instant noodles doesn’t quite satisfy the craving for that big bowl of pho, ramen, or whatever noodle soup floats your boat. It’s this spot that Snapdragon Foods aims to hit. 

Snapdragon’s noodles, highlighted in our newest News Bites video, look to provide an authentic experience with some of the world’s favorite noodle soup dishes, but in an accessible, take home package.

That means that their Vietnamese beef pho bowls come with real rice noodles and authentic spices. My personal favorite, the Singapore-style Laksa Curry Bowls, includes not only rice noodles and a spice mixture, but also coconut powder and chili oil that give the dish far more depth than what’s expected from a bowl of instant noodles.

Their other soup flavors include Veggie, Mushroom, and Garlic. Some are in bowl, some are in packets, and all are delicious and can be found on their website. Oh, and don’t forget the newly launched ramens, either.

All of their products are inspired by the streets and kitchens of Asia. They take special pride in their noodle quality, already giving the brand a step up on many instant noodle makers. Their noodles are made in Vietnam, and whether made for pho or ramen, have a delicateness to them, yet also hold a chewy bounce and remain highly slurpable. 

Snapdragon’s noodle soups can be found at retailers across the country, although the deepest and most consistent stock of all noodle flavors is housed on the brand’s website. While you’re there, use the code BEAST15 for 15% off your purchase! 

Make sure to peep Snapdragon’s Instagram for noodle inspo once you get a pack in hand, then top them with your favorite toppings, and tag us and Snapdragon to show us your creations.

Created in partnership with Snapdragon Foods.

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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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Cup Noodles Doubles Down On Veggies In Their Latest Flavor

If you’ve ever pulled an all-nighter studying for a tough exam, or worked into the early morning hours on an important project for work, you already know that Cup Noodles is the perfect companion to satisfy your hunger when time is of the essence.   

After unveiling a new recipe last year with 15% percent less sodium, no added MSG, no artificial flavors, and the same great taste, Cup Noodles continues to innovate their products in tastier ways fans love. This year, they’ve yet again revolutionized the concept of noodles in a cup in a very veggie way by adding a full serving of veggies**.

Cup Noodles has yet again revolutionized the concept of noodles in a cup, and is changing the game in a very veggie way.

Now, your favorite Cup Noodles flavors, like chicken, beef and spicy chicken, are packed with vegetables like broccoli, green beans, edamame, carrots, corn, and more. With this introduction, Cup Noodles Very Veggie is the first noodle cup on the market with a full-serving of vegetables.

Adding more vegetables to this affordable meal is something Leslie Mohr, Vice President of Marketing of Nissin Foods USA, said has been a long time goal for the company.

“We believe in listening to our consumers, and following our recipe change last year, the number one consumer request was more vegetables — so that’s what we’ve done,” Mohr said.

“We’ve taken our beloved Cup Noodles product and kept the noodle amount the same – we’ve just added more vegetables! We all know we need to be eating more vegetables, and we’re thrilled to be rolling out a product that allows consumers to do that easily.”


Cup Noodle fans can now find Cup Noodle Very Veggie at Albertson’s/Safeway, 7-Eleven, Food Lion, Shoprite, BJ’s and 99 Cents Only stores. So be sure to stock up, and slurp away!

***One package of Cup Noodles Very Veggie contains ¼ cup dehydrated vegetables, and when prepared in accordance with package directions provides 1 serving of vegetables (1/2 cup equivalent).

Photos by Peter Pham


Created in partnership with Original Cup Noodles

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How A Man With A Passion To Stop Hunger Revolutionized How We Ate Ramen

screenshot-ramen-doodle

If you visited Google today, you might have noticed the mighty search engine’s new  Doodle honoring what would have been the 105th birthday of Momofuku Ando, the inventor of Cup Noodles.

For most of us — if we’re being honest here — life without top ramen would have been unmanageable. It began in childhood for me, when I would eagerly wait for my dad to return home on Fridays, tired after work, requesting that I make him a hot bowl of noodles. (I knew that meant kung fu movies later, too.) I’d scurry out our family room, across the hall and into the kitchen, having absorbed the three steps of instant noodle-making as if they had belonged in the Ten Commandments:

1. Peel off lid.

2. Fill cup up to line with water.

3. Microwave.

Easy enough for a kid, even better for a college student. Ramen was once the staple of my diet. As long as I remembered my thermos of hot water, I had a meal — because stuffed deep in my backpack everyday was a heaven-sent box of Cup Noodles. Many times I’d forget about the noodles and I would recline against a wall only to hear the glorious sound of ramen crunching. It was always a relief. But, that’s no coincidence — relief was exactly what Momofuku Ando had in mind when he first thought up the instant wonder.

ramen-large

How the Idea Got Stirred Up

According to Google, a 48-year-old Ando created the instant food not with the goal of getting rich, but with the intention of helping his fellow countrymen:

“Ando, a lifelong entrepreneur who started his first business at age 22, found the inspiration to his greatest success while walking through the streets of post-World War II Japan: People were waiting for hours in long lines, just for a comforting bowl of ramen. Realizing hunger was the most pressing issue facing Japan, he felt a desire to help the people of his country.”

In 1958, Momofuku launched his first ramen product, Chikin Ramen. Although it tasted great, It sold mediocrely because Japan was still suffering from the devastating effects of World War II and Momofuku was not able to sell his product for much cheaper. However, in 1971, Japan’s economy began to recoup, allowing Momofuku to make his product, which he now simply called Cup Noodles, for much cheaper.

ramen-momofuku-ando

The results were amazing. Business boomed, and in a few years, even Americans were chomping down ramen noodles. According to the World Instant Noodles Association, over 105 billion servings were in demand in 2013.

Momofuku’s (Not So Instant) Legacy

“It took 48 years of my life for me to come up with the idea of instant noodles. Each and every event in the past is connected to the present by invisible threads.” – Momofuku Ando

By the time Momofuku founded Nissin (the company that manufactures Cup Noodles), he had already moved to a foreign country (he was originally from Taiwan and immigrated to Japan), started two companies, been thrown in jail (for tax evasion) and survived World War II — and all by the tender age of 48.

Fun Fact: According to the Liberty Times, Momofuku evaded paying taxes by giving out scholarships to college students — something perfectly legal today — in Japan and the United States.

According to the Japan Times, when asked why he chose noodles over other foods, Momofuku’s reply was no less than epic:

“Peace will come to the world when the people have enough noodles to eat.” -Momofuku Ando

And perhaps he was right — I can’t recall ever entertaining a single harmful thought while slurping down ramen, even if it was at 3 a.m. in the school library. That hot, so-familiar-it’s-almost-like-family polystyrene container always managed to provide a special kind of comfort.

Perhaps Cup Noodle is the key to longevity as well as world peace. After all, Momofuku Ando ate a daily cup of top ramen until the day before he died at 96 years of age, according to The Sankei Shimbun.

momofuku-ando-statue-e1425613668440

Momofuku helped the needy in tremendous ways, not only for those in Japan, but for the hungry across the globe. I think we can all agree that instant ramen was genius on multiple levels: for the economy boost it provided Japan, for feeding the poor and starving around the world, and even for the simple satisfaction it provides those craving a quick, warm and tasty meal.

Well, I know what I’ll be having for supper tonight. “Peel off lid, fill cup with water, microwave …” Here’s to you, Momofuku!

Written by NextShark.com’s Anthony Orona

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The Essential Food Guide to Surviving Comic Con

Comic Con kicks off this week which means over 100,000 nerds will converge on San Diego to celebrate all things geek. If you haven’t attended the convention before just know that it’s definitely not a vacation. It’s basically a mission for us nerds: spending hours in line waiting to get into a panel with your favorite television show, pushing through an ocean of people to get through the Gaslamp Quarter, and basically just being at the mercy of the destroyer of dreams better known as Hall H. In order to avoid potentially starving in line or mistakenly taking a bite of that Puppycat cosplayer who’s starting to look like a delectable fluffy marshmallow (nom nom nom), Chixelate, a blog dedicated to all things nerdy, has created the Ultimate Food Guide to Surviving Comic Con.

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Pack Sandwiches

IMG_5680RS

Super simple to make and even easier to pack, sandwiches will be your best friend at the con. The possibilities are endless, PB&J, Club, etc, you can make all your sandwiches ahead of time or just grab all your fixins and make them fresh daily.

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Instant Coffee Crack

Iced-Via

Caffeine is a non-negotiable for Comic Con. If you want to survive those 4am alarms to make to the infamous Hall H line by 6am (real talk even that early might be too late) you’re gonna need some of that liquid crack. The coffee locations (aka Starbucks)  in and around the convention center charge a grip more than their downtown counterparts, my advice is to skip the line and just BYOC. It’s just easier to buy a box of instant coffee packets which mix with water to make instant coffee. The humidity in San Diego is wicked so you might want to opt for instant ice coffee versus regular.

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Candy

Sour-Patch-Candy-Comic-Con

Regardless of how much caffeine you consume you’re probably going to crash at some point. Whether it’s in the middle of a panel or outside in line, the lack of sleep will come creeping up on you. In order to combat a case of the drowsies pack some of your favorite candy for a sugar rush. Personally, I’m a fan of sour gummy worms since they’re tart enough to shake you back into consciousness but gummy bears are my second go-to choice.

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Instant Noodles

ramen-hacks-2

Not the greatest thing for you but it’ll do the job. Chances are your hotel room has a coffee maker which you can also use to heat up some water. If you’re looking to save some cash to splurge on some sweet SDCC exclusives but don’t want to completely sacrifice a warm meal, instant noodles are the way to go. Around a quarter a piece, you can get a flat of enough maruchan to last you the entire four-day con for probably $5-$6. If you really want to get fancy why not bring some hardboiled eggs, Sriracha, and some spam to get that college ramen feel.

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Uncrustables, Just Like Ma Used to Pack

uncrustables

Sure, these things are marketed towards kids but you’re lying to yourself if you don’t love these things. PB&J’s just like mom used to make, but even better because it’s crustless. There’s even a peanut butter and honey one if you’re one of those weird kids who didn’t like jelly. These portable sandwiches are already individually packaged making them easy to throw into your backpack to munch on while you’re trolling the exhibition hall.

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Trail Mix AKA M&M’s Mixed with Some Other Stuff

Trail-Mix-Comic-Con

Salty, sweet, and ultimately makes you feel better about eating candy since it’s mixed with healthy-ish stuff, trail mix is a great snack to have on hand. Sure, there’s legitimately healthy mixes with dried fruits, seeds, and nuts but ain’t no body got time for that. Gimme that Monster Mix chock full of M&M’s, almonds, and peanuts any day. Notice I skipped over the raisins because they’re gross and don’t belong in there.

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Lunchables

lunchables

Lunchables aren’t super filling on their own so you might need to pack a few to fill yourself up throughout the day but with so many different options, that shouldn’t be hard. Bonus, they usually come with a drink and candy of some sort. Side note: the lunch meat ones are WAY easier to eat in the panels than the pizza ones. Don’t be that geek trying to build your three little pizzas in the confines of your seat. Do that shiz outside in line.

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Brotein Bars

Engery-Bar-Comic-Con

Nah bro, we don’t even lift. Just in case you can’t grab a meal between panels, or just don’t want to drop $10 on a mediocre hot dog, protein bars are a perfect way to fill that hunger since chances are you’ll be stuck at the convention center for over 12 hours a day. I told you this wasn’t a vacation.

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Water – This is Not an Option

water-bottle

In case you didn’t know, water is the most important thing to keep on hand while at SDCC. If you bring a reusable bottle you can refill it as you please within the convention center and inside most panel halls. But if you’ll be outside in line for hours trying to get into Hall H or Ballroom 20 (aka all 100,000+ of us) it’s even more crucial for you to stay hydrated. The humidity is a bitch this time of the year and will make you want to die around 9AM. If you’re sick of water why not spruce it up with some of those concentrated water flavorer things, like MYO, Gatorade, or Crystal Light.

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The Definitive Guide to Ramen & Life After Cup Noodles

ramen

Ramen – a dish that I crave regularly that gets put down by those who don’t truly understand why it’s so damn delicious.

Think about it – have you ever had a bowl of ramen? You know, a real bowl of ramen, one that’s not microwaved for about 3 minutes in a Styrofoam cup? If not, then you, my friend, have a lot to learn.

This is real ramen:

Shinsengumi

mabo-ramen

This is instant ramen:

Instant-bowl-noodles

Instant-Lunch

Instant-noodles-store

You see the difference?

Up until I went to college, I never had a bowl of ramen from a restaurant, and never actually had any inclination to order one. If I could buy a cup for less than a dollar and have it ready to eat in under 5 minutes, why would I have (or even want) to pay “premium” price for something I could eat in my room? Reluctant to spend seven bucks on a bowl, I took a sip of faith and felt like I was alive for the first time. Right now you might be thinking, “Ramen is ramen, what’s the big fuss?” and I don’t blame you. However, let’s do a quick comparison below:

This is a burger from McDonald’s:

McDonald's Burger

This is a burger from The Playground in Downtown Santa Ana, California:

Playground Double Foie Burger

Hopefully, this is clicking somewhere in your brain that there’s more to ramen than just dry packets that you add hot water to.

The main picture here basically boils down to convenience vs. quality. College meant eating cheap food, and instant noodles just so happened to be one of the cheapest, easiest foods to dish up. Coming from a less-than-middle class background, I also grew up eating ramen because you could feed an entire family of 6 for very little when you buy those noodles in bulk.

Before I continue and before you complain that ramen noodles are sodium bombs, let’s make a few things clear. Think about what you’re eating for lunch, or how much salt is in that burger combo you had for lunch yesterday. There’s a good chance that they have the same amount of sodium, so don’t whine until you’ve had an actual bowl!

Styles

Moving on, there are tons of different ramen styles depending on the location. For comparison’s sake, think of the all-American burger. All across the states, you can find burgers with cheese, bacon, French fries, BBQ sauce, California Roll ingredients, you name it.

In Japan, there are 26 different types of ramen. However, for the sake of keeping things simple in this article, we will cover the four most common flavor types: shio, shoyu, miso, and tonkotsu (not to be confused with tonKATsu, which is breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet).

Shio

santouka

Shio literally means ‘salt’ in Japanese and is one of the oldest of the four soup bases. Generally the shio broth has a clear yellowish color than the other bases listed below. The above, however, is a tad bit red because I was lucky enough to order a spicy version (good luck ordering spicy shio, aka karashio, at a Santouka near you).

Shoyu

shoyu-ramen

Shoyu, which means ‘soy sauce,’ is another old-school ramen soup base. While brown in color, the soup is usually light, salty and savory.

Miso

miso-ramen

[H/T + PicThx Shizuoka Gourmet]

Miso paste is used in the soup base and is the newest of the bunch. This type of broth is generally thicker, richer, and has a slight sweetness to it.

Tonkotsu

black-garlic-oil-tonkotsu-ramen

Tonkotsu, which means ‘pork bone,’ is my favorite of the three broths and just so happens to be the fattiest one. Tonkotsu is very similar to shio ramen, but is made with pork bones that have been boiling over high heat for hours, resulting in this cloudy, fatty, white-colored broth that is the most savory of the four. I could eat tonkotsu ramen every day if I could.

Noodles

Since I grew up eating the instant packets of ramen, I was only familiar with the dry, curly, Justin Timberlake-like yellow noodles that you could totally eat raw. However, the types of noodles in these bowls all depend on the style of ramen that you’re feasting on. But, without going into the specifics of region, location, and the history behind each bowl, I’ll just say that you’ll typically find these familiar curly noodles, as well as thin, straight noodles.

curly-noodles

ramen-noodles

Toppings

Since the instant packets usually just came with gross, dried vegetables, I rarely ever had any toppings besides the occasional mixed egg and random greens from the fridge. As you can see from the pictures, I never expected to eat my noodles with such tender pork slices. In a typical bowl of ramen, you will usually find thin slices of chashu (braised pork that typically omits the sugar and five-spice powder from its Chinese counterpart), scallions, and slices of bamboo. Other favorites include dried seaweed, boiled egg, one slice of naruto (cured fish) and corn.

yamadaya-ramen       toppings-ramen

chashu-close-up

foo-foo-tei

Although traditionally a Chinese dish, Japanese ramen has clearly deviated in taste, toppings, and style from its original predecessor. Thanks to food blogs, Yelp, and the growing number of foodies who Instagram, ramen shops have gained traction and are on the rise in big cities. While some restaurants serve ramen among their other food items, there’s a high chance that you’d get a more delicious bowl if you went to a ramen shop. Of course, there are exceptions, but this is generally the case.

If I could have you try something new this year, it would definitely be to try the four different types of ramen. Hell, you could even just buy higher quality ramen at an Asian market. Do yourself a favor and walk to the refrigerated section; you should see the packets hanging out next to the refrigerated udon noodles and potsticker wrappers. If you can’t read Japanese, just read the price tags and look for the English there. It is so worth the extra cash.

Refrigerated-ramen

Proof it exists.

So eat, chomp, and slurp if you want to! I know what I’m eating tonight and you’re always welcome to join.

H/T + PicThx Kobi’s Kitchen, GO RAMEN!, Shizuoka Gourmet & Wikipedia