Nissin Cup Noodle Kara-Men with Togarashi Kimchi Umami
Since the beginning of this month (September 2021), a newly released cup of instant ramen has drawn shoppers’ attention on the shelf in convenience stores, mainly because of its red packaging and eye-catching fonts.
The cup ramen caught my eye too, and at first glance, I found it a new flavor of Nissin Cup Noodle because I had never seen the name “辛麺 (Kara-Men)”.
The English translation of the Chinese characters (Kanji) “辛麺” is “spicy noodle”, and based on some online sources, the Karamen ramen seems to have been released on August 30th as the 11th regular product of Nissin Cup Noodle.
Nissin Cup Noodle Kara-Men
This is the Nissin Cup Noodle Kara-Men. I bought it at my go-to 7 Eleven. The suggested retail price of this instant ramen is 193 yen/about 1.8 USD (excluding tax).
This year (2021) marks 50 years since Cup Noodle was first released in 1971. So I guess, in commemoration of that, Nissin newly introduced this flavor.
According to the official website of Nissin, the Cup Noodle Kara-Men is a soy sauce-based, spicy, umami-rich noodle soup. The ramen is acidified with Korean kimchi pickles, flavored with garlic, and accented using Japanese miso.
But the most striking feature here is the amount of Togarashi (red chili pepper) used. The cup ramen contains plenty of finely ground roasted chili peppers, and the amount used is the largest of all Cup Noodles.
Nonetheless, the spiciness and heat of this Kara-Men were less overpowering than I expected. It has a characteristic kimchi flavor, and the trifecta of the pickles, garlic, and miso makes this ramen unmatched in savoriness over other Cup Noodles.
Since there is no accompanying flavor packet, the making of this instant ramen is straightforward, the same as most other Cup Noodles; pour boiling water, close the lid, and let the noodles sit and cook for 3 minutes. That’s it.
In terms of ingredients, the dehydrated garnish consists of red chili peppers, seasoned pork mince, seasoned eggs, and green onions.
Meanwhile, the soup base powder consists of lard, sugars, starch, spices, wheat flour, pork seasoning, salt, powdered soy sauce, kimchi powder, and powdered miso.