Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Microwave Naporitan And Kagetora's Miso Ramen From MHF

Took a break from retort curries today but not from junk food and finally opened my second and last microwave Japanese Naporitan Spaghetti that was edging uncomfortably close to its expiration date. Good times.

This Spa-O (Spa王) series is from Nissin Foods, maker of the infamous Cup Noodles. Are around three bucks in Japan and not bad for the price imho, but if were ever imported will probably flare up to the five-dollar range which I'd imagine too high to survive here. Maybe (at least one of the reasons) why you don't see them on your local Japanese Supermarket shelves.

The Spa-O microwaveable pasta series is surprisingly elaborate for what it is, containing four packs of various retort ingredients including vacuum sealed par-cooked raw pasta noodles.

The main packet of this Naporitan (wiki link) flavor of course is the ketchup based sauce, the second contains a conservative amount of cooked onions, bell pepper, and pale colored wiener slices. The third has some bright yellow, flavored oil that reminds me I shouldn't be wearing my favorite shirt when having.

Naporitan's are still fairly popular in Japan, though these days I feel the dish leans heavily toward Japanese retro nostalgia cuisine. I wouldn't recommend a microwaveable version like this to be anyone's first but when done proper the imagined sharp ketchup flavor further helped by a pad of butter is cooked off in the searing process and transforms into something tasting rather rounded. Only lightly sweet and nowhere near Filipino Spaghetti or Chef Boyardee products for that matter as some may think.

Really need to get back offline but before wanted to quickly share Kagetora's Miso Ramen that I had at Mitsuwa Costa Mesa which is being showcased at the ongoing Hokkaido Fair (today being the last day) so that it remains somewhat timely.

Good Miso Ramen is hard to come by outside of Japan where the only version I can say I would ever crave here is the one wok'd up at Mottainai in Gardena. So as much as I wanted to resample Asameshi Maeda Honpo's Shoyu again in Mitsuwa Torrance my schedule permitting, I ended up prioritizing Kagetora's Miso. Kagetora btw directly translated means "Shadow Tiger."

I couldn't hear any wok sounds coming out of the soba shop's kitchen that was temporarily borrowed for the event but the soup was frothy around the edges of the bowl and flavors of the blended miso nicely incorporated with the few vegetables. Very nutty, appropriately oily and robust while being simultaneously mellow sweet. Good stuff.

Glad it wasn't as extreme mellow as Kitahama Shoten's which in fairness was a white Shiro Miso version but when I'm having a miso ramen, I really look forward in tasting a good amount of rich viscous miso flavors (while hopefully not being too salty).
The curly yellow noodles were the thicker side of medium which adds to the heft of the bowl. Mochi-mochi chewy but without a lot of koshi resiliency. Can't say I absolutely loved the noodles but definitely were better than any most you'd find around town.

The Chashu pork was sliced thinner and delicious but I totally agree with Ed of that the single slice was such a tease! I would've expected at least another for $10 spent. As much as I enjoyed this bowl I think the one to get was their Spicy Miso which Ed had and can be read about here.

Thanks for reading and hope you all are having a great weekend!


Junichi said...

I tried both the regular and spicy miso ramens. I also thought the kara-miso version was better. The soup was really creamy and rich. I was planning on going to Torrance for the shoyu ramen, but didn't feel like eating any more ramen after those 2 rich bowls. I did end up going to CoCo Ichi for some curry later in the afternoon though. I thought it was a fun concept to pick various toppings and spice level.

Dennis K. said...

Hey Junichi! How's it going? I'm gonna try Coco Ichi Torrance again one of these days. My first and last visit was a little disappointing, the curry felt watered down than what I had in Japan and even compared to their retorts. Yeah kagetora's miso was really creamy and probably great if having often but wished I had the kara miso the day.

edjusted said...

Hi Dennis, have you been to Mottainai lately? I remember hearing about how they were going to start making their own noodles but I haven't been up there for a long time.

Dennis K. said...

Hi Ed! No, I haven't but been meaning to though. I need to check out Tsujita too, thanks for the heads up as always Btw!