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 are 2 top-sellers with a large share in Japan’s market and have been loved by many Japanese for decades.
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, which consists of Udon noodle soup topped with “Aburaage (油揚げ)” deep-fried soybean curd.
The broth is typically made with dark soy sauce and Katsuobushi dried bonito flakes, and the deep-fried 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 Udon name is because in Japan it is believed that the fox loves Aburaage.
Nissin Donbei Kitsune Udon vs Maruchan Akai Kitsune Udon Instant Noodles
Actually, this time I purchased “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 was introduced into Japan’s market by Nissin in 1976, while the latter was released by Toyo Suisan in 1978. Maruchan is a flagship brand of Toyo Suisan, by the way.
Nissin Donbei Kitsune Udon and Maruchan Akai Kitsune Udon have almost the same contents.
As you can see in the photo, they have dried Udon noodles, a big piece of dried Aburaage bean curd, and flavor packets in the bowl.
Each flavor packet consists of 2 parts: one contains Shichimi Togarashi spice mix and the other contains soup base powder.
Both Aburaage have a thin square shape and look like the same thing.
The cooking instructions for Nissin Donbei Kitsune Udon and Maruchan Akai Kitsune Udon instant noodles have no differences.
First, peel back the paper lid about halfway and take the packet out from the bowl. Then, put only the soup base powder in the container.
Pour boiling water into the bowl, up to the inside line.
Close the lid and let the noodles sit and cook for 5 minutes.
5 minutes later, remove the paper lid and sprinkle the accompanying Shichimi Togarashi over the noodle soup to your preference. The spice mix is not so spicy, rather flavorful as it consists of 7 aromatic spices.
Unlike the Udon served in the restaurant, both of these wheat noodles are flat like Nagoya’s Kishimen noodles. But as far as Japanese instant Udon noodles go, this is usual.
I prefer the Maruchan’s noodles, which are a little bouncier than those of Donbei.
Both are Dashi-rich broths, but have different features. The Maruchan’s broth has a strong soy sauce flavor compared to the Nissin’s one, while the Donbei’s broth is sweeter and milder in taste.
Both Aburaage absorb the broth very well and have a good taste similar to the flavor of the broth.
The main toppings in Nissin Donbei Kitsune Udon are small thin slices of Kamaboko fish paste and the Aburaage.
On the other hand, the main toppings in 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 Nissin Donbei Kitsune Udon consists of salt, powdered soy sauce, sugars, seafood seasoning, fish powder, and green onions.
The soup base of Maruchan Akai Kitsune Udon consists of salt, soy sauce, seafood extract, protein hydrolyzate, kombu (kelp) seaweed powder, green onions, sugar, vegetable oil.
Nissin Donbei Kitsune Udon has 420 kcal and 5.1 g of sodium chloride equivalents (Noodles and Toppings 1.6 g, Broth 3.5 g),
while Maruchan Akai Kitsune Udon has 432 kcal and 6.6 g sodium chloride equivalents (Noodles and Toppings 2.8 g, Broth 3.8 g).