I picked this package of Shimadaya Shoyu ramen up in the freezer section of my Japanese grocer. I liked the look of the packaging and, as all packaged ramen aficionados know, the freezer section ramen is usually the best ramen. This particular brand, however, left me severely wanting.
The contents of the package contain two pouches: a dashi flavor pouch with fat, and a shoyu pouch. This is usually a great sign when cooking up ramen, as that’s how real shoyu ramen is made, with a base mixed with broth. Separating the two gave me high hopes. The noodles are thicker than I expected, but this turned out to be a good thing.
The next thing you’re going to want to do, while you’re waiting for your water to boil, is to add the two bases together into your bowl. Being frozen, the fat bits may be a little chunky, but don’t worry about that – they won’t be for long.
Now that your water is boiling, you add in the noodles. These should take no more than three minutes to cook, and they’ll come apart almost instantly. Be careful not to break any, these noodles are much more delicate than the freeze-dried kind, as they’re still somewhat doughy. Make sure not to under or overcook them. If they are undercooked, they can get caught in your teeth like taffy and stick together; overcooked, and they’ll be gummy.
At this point, you’ll want to create the broth. Pour in 300ccs (that’s slightly over 10 oz for you and me) into the bowl and begin stirring. There will be some fatty bits remaining as you stir, and they may look funky at first, but don’t worry about it – they’ll melt away as the hot water does its thing. Just keep stirring until they’re gone.
Lastly, strain and add your noodles and you’re done! A beautiful bowl of ramen.
Unfortunately, beauty isn’t everything, and the Shimadaya shoyu ramen left me wanting. The first thing you notice is the smell. It’s overly fishy. Now, being a lover of Japanese food, I’m no stranger to fishy smells, especially when making a bonito flake dashi. But this is the bad kind of fishy smell, like the corner of a poor Asian market fish head section kind of smell. It’s off. And it’s especially strange because the ramen itself has no fish flavor whatsoever.
The first thing I do with every new ramen is taste the broth, and that’s where this packaged ramen fails miserably. It overly sweetened, as though a cup of brown sugar had been added, and EXTREMELY fatty. You want your ramen broth to glisten with some grease, but this is ridiculous. After taking a sip I felt as though I had taken a swig of olive oil. This is probably due to the pork base that the broth is using, rather than chicken – it has a very porky flavor. I like a porky flavor, but not in my shoyu ramen. I reserve that for tonkotsu.
The saving grace of this ramen are the noodles themselves. They are thick, yes, but easy to slurp and absolutely delicious. If you’re ever hard up for a good pre-packaged noodle when making ramen from scratch, you could do a LOT worse.
When you get to the end of the bowl, there is a distinct salty flavor to it that is extremely unappetizing. Overall, I cannot recommend this ramen.
- Delicious noodles
- Bad smell
- Too greasy
- Extremely salty
- Bad aftertaste