Nissin Donbei Kitsune Udon vs Maruchan Akai Kitsune Udon
When it comes to instant Udon noodles, Nissin Donbei Kitsune Udon and Maruchan Akai Kitsune Udon have a top share in the market and have been long-time favorites in Japan.
What is Kitsune Udon (きつねうどん)?
“Kitsune Udon (きつねうどん)” is one of the most common Japanese Udon dishes consisting of a bowl of Udon noodle soup topped with “Aburaage (油揚げ)” deep-fried tofu.
The broth is typically made with dark soy sauce and Katsuobushi dried bonito flakes, and the Aburaage bean curd is seasoned with sugar, soy sauce, and mirin (sweet cooking rice wine).
“Kitsune (きつね)” literally means “fox” in Japanese. The reason why the animal name is included in the name of the Udon dish is that it is believed in Japan that the fox likes Aburaage.
Nissin Donbei Kitsune Udon vs Maruchan Akai Kitsune Udon Instant Noodles
Actually, this time I bought the “Nissin Donbei Kitsune Udon (日清 どん兵衛きつねうどん)” and “Maruchan Akai Kitsune Udon (マルちゃん 赤いきつねどん)” instant noodles for comparison.
The former is from Nissin, put on the market in 1976, while the latter is from Toyo Suisan, introduced in 1978. And Maruchan is a flagship instant noodle brand of Toyo Suisan.
Nissin Donbei Kitsune Udon and Maruchan Akai Kitsune have almost the same contents; a dried Udon noodle block, a big piece of Aburaage deep-fried bean curd, and a flavor packet in the bowl.
Each flavor packet consists of 2 parts: one contains the Shichimi Togarashi seven spice blend and the other is soup base powder. Both Aburaage have a rectangular shape and look like the same thing.
There is no difference in cooking between Nissin Donbei Kitsune Udon and Maruchan Akai Kitsune instant noodles.
First, peel back the lid about halfway and take the packet out of the bowl. Then, put the soup base powder in the container.
Pour boiling water into the bowl until it reaches the line indicated inside.
Close the lid and let the noodles steep for 5 minutes.
5 minutes later, remove the paper lid and sprinkle the Shichimi Togarashi spice mix over the noodle soup according to your preference.
Unlike the Udon served in the restaurant, these wheat noodles are both flat like Nagoya’s Kishimen noodles. But as far as Japanese instant Udon noodles go, that’s usual.
I like the noodle of Maruchan better, which is a little bouncier than that of Donbei.
Both are dashi-rich broths but have different features. The Maruchan’s broth is somewhat intense in soy sauce flavor, while the Donbei’s has a sweet and mild taste.
Both Aburaage absorb the broth very well and taste very good.
The main toppings in the Nissin Donbei Kitsune Udon are small thin slices of Kamaboko fish paste and the Aburaage.
On the other hand, the ones in the Maruchan Akai Kitsune Udon are small thin slices of Kamaboko fish paste, fluffy egg bits, and the Aburaage.
According to the ingredient list, the soup base of the Nissin Donbei Kitsune Udon consists of salt, powdered soy sauce, sugars, seafood seasoning, fish powder, and green onions.
On the other hand, the soup base of the Maruchan Akai Kitsune Udon consists of salt, soy sauce, seafood extract, protein hydrolyzate, kombu (kelp) seaweed powder, green onions, sugar, and vegetable oil.
The Nissin Donbei Kitsune Udon has 420 kcal per serving (96 grams) and contains 5.1 grams salt equivalents (Noodles and Toppings: 1.6 g, Broth: 3.5 g).
Meanwhile, the Maruchan Akai Kitsune Udon has 432 kcal per serving (96 grams) and contains 6.6 g salt equivalents (Noodles and Toppings: 2.8 g, Broth: 3.8 g).