Nissin Donbei Tempura Soba vs Maruchan Midori no Tanuki
When it comes to instant udon and soba, Maruchan and Nissin are the leading Japanese instant noodle manufacturers with the top share in the market.
As I wrote about Japanese instant udon before, today, I will talk about instant soba noodle soups of Maruchan and Nissin and compare the two most popular instant buckwheat noodles.
As you may know, the brand name of the top-selling instant soba noodle of Maruchan is “Midori no Tanuki (緑のたぬき)”, while that of Nissin is “Donbei (どん兵衛)”.
Maruchan Midori no Tanuki Tensoba Instant Noodles
First off, the official name of the most loved instant soba of Maruchan is “Maruchan Midori no Tanuki Tensoba (マルちゃん 緑のたぬき 天そば)”.
It was introduced in 1980 by Toyo Suisan.
“Tensoba (天そば)” stands for “Tempura Soba (天ぷらそば)”. So in the bowl, you see a loose piece of tempura, which mainly uses shrimps in the batter.
Other than the shrimp tempura and dried udon noodle block, small Kamaboko slices and one flavor packet come with the bowl.
The packet actually consists of 2 parts; one contains soup base powder, while the other has a Shichimi Togarashi spice blend.
As for the cooking, first put the soup base powder in the bowl from the packet.
Then, pour boiling water until it reaches the line indicated inside the container, close the lid, and let the noodles steep for 3 minutes.
3 minutes later, remove the paper lid and stir all the ingredients lightly. As a finishing touch, add the Shichimi Togarashi to the bowl, and it’s ready to eat.
Maruchan Midori no Tanuki Tensoba actually has 2 versions; Kanto (Eastern Japan) and Kansai (Western Japan).
I live in Niigata Prefecture, so this one is the Kanto version. The broth of this Tempura Soba is sweetish and packed with umami from Katsuobushi bonito flakes.
The noodles are slightly curly compared to Nissin Donbei Tempura Soba, so they are well coated with broth.
Since the shrimp tempura is soaked in the soup during the cooking, it is soft and soggy.
Based on the information on the official website of Toyo Suisan, the calories per serving (101 grams) are 480 kcal (noodles and toppings: 434 kcal/broth: 46 kcal).
The cup noodle contains 5.9 g salt equivalents (noodles and toppings: 1.9 g/broth: 4.0 g) in total.
Nissin Donbei Tempura Soba Instant Noodles
On the other hand, Nissin introduced the cup noodle “Nissin Donbei Tempura Soba (日清 どん兵衛 天ぷらそば)” into the market in 1976.
As its name indicates, the main garnish of this soba is also tempura, which mainly uses shrimps and nori (seaweed) in the batter.
Unlike Maruchan Midori no Tanuki Tensoba, the tempura topping comes in a plastic bag.
The flavor packet of this soba too consists of 2 parts with soup base powder and Shichimi Togarashi, like Maruchan.
Unlike Maruchan Midori no Tanuki, the tempura topping of this soba is added to the bowl after the noodles are cooked.
Except for that, the cooking methods of the two are the same.
This tempura retains its crispy texture and the fragrance of shrimps and nori, as it is added at the end of the cooking.
This soba also comes in 2 versions, like Maruchan.
The broth of this Kanto version is loaded with umami from bonito. It is light tasting but very tasty.
To be honest, I prefer this soba to Maruchan Midori no Tanuki Tensoba because the shrimp tempura has a better taste and texture.
Lastly, based on the information on the official website of Nissin, the calories per serving (100 grams) are 480 kcal (noodles and toppings: 453 kcal/broth: 27 kcal).
The cup noodle contains 5.7 g salt equivalents (noodles and toppings: 1.8 g/broth: 3.9 g) in total.