Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ramune Strawberry Soda Review

I have to say I'm a HUGE Ramune fan, ever since I saw it in a store a while back. I will say about 80% of the purchase factor is just around the appeal of the bottle itself. This is distributed via Sangaria over here in the states, with a limited amount of flavors. The bottles have a little marble in them, that is pressed in place by the carbonation. See the video below, if you're concerned on how to open... it is intimidating for first time drinkers.
With all that said, on to the actual review, the soda for some people will not taste/look/market like anything in production over here. However, I have to agree, since there are no tastes like this out on normal food/beverage shelves. The marble glass bottle design is both a source of frustration and fascination. I will say, the first time I did get it open, it's extremely rewarding and just puts a smile on your face. Another thing as well, you'll notice how much SMALLER this is than your traditional can/bottle of soda. This is the PERFECT example of something that is PURPOSE-BUILT. The marble has a unique charm factor to it, however it serves a purpose, to seal the drink. The same can be said about the indentations, they hold the marble from plugging the hole... again purpose-built.
Unique Pink Bottle
As far as how this actually tastes, I really like the strawberry flavor, I also really like the original flavor and melon flavors. There is a really strong strawberry flavor in this drink, however I like the fact that it's not overly carbonated. If you find any flavor of this, you'll notice it has no 'bite' like a coca cola or something like that does. The soda really doesn't suffer from any weird after-tastes, which is REALLY good of course. I will mention that once you get to the bottom, you'll want every last drop of it, but that can be increasingly difficult due to the marble. It's such a light and fruity flavor, you kind of wish it would have been bigger.
Close up of the marble
I can't really say enough about how fun it is to just enjoy one of these, regardless of flavor. However, it's a rare thing to find something that tastes and looks presentable as well. Add in a little bit of fun ... and you've got yourself a Ramune drink. Honestly, I was a bit worried since the bottle was so small, but as I've found so far in my reviews, the portion control appears to be something that these Asian companies do right. Don't get me wrong, there are bulk packs of pretty much any staple food, but you'll notice I'll most likely steer clear of those.
Nutritional Facts... 100 Calories, YAY!
In conclusion, if you CAN find these drinks, don't pass them up. I do have to admit, they are a bit on the pricey side, but you are certainly paying for a bit of the novelty. I think I have payed $1.29-$1.49 for these a piece, no doubt a non-bargain, given the small volume of soda. However, if you're looking for a 'low risk' adventure into different foods, this would certainly be something I'd recommend. Overall, I give this a 9.5 out of 10, due to the fun factor, taste and awesome bottle. However the reason it's not a perfect 10 is because of cost and scarcity of this item at all of the stores I've been in.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

NeuroGasm Review *Neurobrands LLC*

When I decide on what to buy and or drink, I usually go for stuff that is a bit out there, especially for purposes of this food blog. However this drink came to me free from one my clients out in Santa Monica, CA, I strongly advise you give their website a visit (Click here for Neurobrands LLC). So again, a big THANK YOU! I was a bit hesitant to review this, since this will most likely cross over into some 'grey area'.
Uhh, Nice... Bottle
Anyway, the first couple things you'll probably notice outside of the 'unique' name is the shape and writing on the bottle. I'd say this bottle has a slightly suggestive theme to it, to say it politely. However there are some pretty strong yet vague claims on this bottle. However I'm always leery about products that make such strong claims, that said I will steer clear on any effects this drink had on me. For example one of the claims is "promoting healthy circulation," which to a normal person would have an apparent benefit.
Kind of a longer list of ingredients...
As far as taste goes on this guy, I have to say, the smell on first sniff wasn't exactly enticing; however that was not a clear indicator on how yummy this drink is. I have to be honest, this doesn't taste like a supplement drink, nor does it taste like a soda... so it's a marvelous harmony of sweet, carbonation, and vitamin taste. I will say, the big thing is that people should curb their expectations about the taste on this. If I had to try and describe it, i'd say it tastes like a mix between a diluted fruit juice and Gatorade. If I can find this drink locally I would certainly buy it again.
Low calorie count is ALWAYS good
In conclusion, this drink is a solid "BUY ME" but I wouldn't necessarily buy this for the "health benefits", since this drink only has 35 calories. Plus you get the added benefit of caffeine, no artificial colors, flavors, and all that. Overall if you can find this, go out and buy it, I assure you I will. Overall I give this a 9 out of 10, since the smell isn't all that great, but the flavor and name as well as the unique branding helps too. Thanks again goes out to Neurobrands LLC for sending me a free one.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

FOCO Lychee Drink Review

What do you get when you get when you combine a couple unknown ingredients to the USA into a juice drink? You get FOCO Lychee Drink, a slightly sweet, mostly refreshing can of juice. This was found at K&S International Market, in a variety bin of other drinks, not sure exactly why I picked this one. I did however recognize the fruit, from somewhere. I finally put my finger on it... they serve these lil fruits peeled and set in fruit juice at most chinese buffets.
Unique kind of can... much thicker than cans in USA
I popped the top on this drink this evening right before biting into a nice chicken taco. YUM! I'd say this is a pretty good pairing in hindsight. However, the first smell and sip really made me think of one thing, and I hate to say it... cleaning solution or cheap perfume. I did read earlier that was something to expect, and I got over the perfume-ish flavor. I'd say this flavor isn't all that strong nor all that sweet. I'd say it's a moderately yummy drink, suffice to say I may purchase it again. 
I wouldn't say this is the most appealing drink to look at...
For some people I could see that this would be something you could be turned completely away by, similar to my Shrimp Chips review. To that point, I will say this is something I'll try again for sure. I wont go out of my way to get them, but there is nothing like this taste out here in the Southern USA. I find this drink particularly difficult to describe/critique, since this MAIN ingredient isn't something you can find at your local grocery. However, I'd say it tastes kind of like a coco-nutty, flowery, sweet, apple flavor... it's definitely one of its own tastes. You'll see a few more of these reviews during my beverage week!
Not the best, or worst drink for you.
Certainly better than a soda.
In conclusion, I'd say this is something at least worth a try for people who want to experience a new taste. Again, this is sort of like my shrimp chip review, however, there aren't too many; if any tastes like this. So again, if you're looking for a new experience as far as a drink, try this. It's a very refreshing change of taste, and for someone who can now rightfully say, I know what Lychee tastes like. Overall I give this drink an 8 out of 10, receiving high marks for taste, smell, and refreshing factor; but suffers from a lack of carbonation, sugar, and relate-able taste.


Monday, March 28, 2011

White Gourd Drink *Taisun*

Well, I have to be honest, when I was shopping... my eyes wander to weird items... 100's of which I will most likely NEVER eat or drink. This would probably qualify for that category. I am not sure if this really qualifies as "junk food" because it might actually be considered some sort of "health drink." Well this label again has very little in the way of English print... qualifying for at least a "eh, I'll try it". This drink comes by way of K&S in Nashville, exported / manufactured by Taisun Co. LTD.
Cool looking label, and can for that matter.
I've got to be honest... when I opened this it really didn't smell like much. After all, this drink has only 3, YES 3 total ingredients. White Gourd, Water, and Sugar, in that order. All I have to say is wow this drink isn't what I'd call horrible, or bad. But it's not necessarily something I'm likely to buy again, since I can't say I "enjoyed" drinking it. As far as how this drink smells, well, it smells kind of like peanuts, or maybe some sort of whole grains? I don't know why but I can't really identify what this smells much less tastes like. I imagined this drink to have a bit more sweet to it, and for some reason assumed it would be carbonated. However upon first sip, it didn't taste much like anything outside of well drawn water. After a short while, you'll get a pungent aftertaste of gourd, which I guess I could explain of tasting like a mix between an oat cereal like cheerios and peanuts. Again, you'll have to try it to understand (if you would like). 
It doesn't really get good marks in color as well...

Its not all negative however, I will say that this drink was surprisingly refreshing and didn't leave a weird taste in my mouth. I don't think I'll go out of my way to get this again, however, if I was very thirsty and didn't want to drink water, I could do this. I'm not sure if this drink is any healthier than any other fruit/vegetable juices, but it's got to be better than most soft drinks with a good deal more ingredients.

All things considered, this drink was kind of on the expensive side, around $1.49 for a 10 oz can. For the product it is, I'd say it's not a very good value, unless you crave white gourd ... Anyway, it's very boring drink with a cool looking can, but I can't be persuaded easily. All in all, I'd give this a 4 out of 10, most likely due to the bland taste, and lack of sugar and carbonation. However, it's refreshing, and I could see myself drinking this in a pinch, but not really intentionally. Sorry Taisun... Maybe some of your other products I'll like. 


THIS WEEK *Announcement*

Hey Ya'll,
As you've probably noticed, I don't post on weekends... here is one example why...I play recreation league hockey. As well as a myriad of other things I only have time on the weekends to do, like look for a new house and plan my wedding.
My first Game-Winner in a Shoot-out!
So that said, my announcement is that this week is my first ever *BEVERAGE WEEK*. So all week long I'll be posting all weird / different drinks from around the world. If you have any suggestions let me know. Again I'm limited to what is in stock at local stores.
Thanks Team!

Thanks again for your patience,

Friday, March 25, 2011

*Nong Shim Spicy Lobster Bowl Noodle*

As I said before I'll probably have a lot of Nong Shim products showcased. That holds true with my next review of this bowl noodle series. Again as I said in my previous Bowl Noodle review, these aren't your typical run of the mill ramen meals. How will this one fare?
Similar packaging, with a HUGE lobster on top of the bowl... I WISH!
Making this particular brand is as easy to be expected, boil some water, peel the lid 1/2 way back, add water, replace lid, and let sit for 3 minutes, stir and enjoy. I will say that the packet in these are larger than you'd normally see. However, this adds a noticeable amount of sodium to the bowl. This doesn't bother me too much because I rarely will drink the whole broth, I like to concentrate on the noodles and veggies. Which, like the other Nong Shim bowl noodles I've had, not disappointed me with the preserved veggies.
As I said above, the packet is HUGE!
The actual taste of this bowl is pretty good, rich in flavor and in spice. The first couple things I noticed as it being different than the spicy shrimp variety is that there is a noticeably lower fishy smell. While some people would like this, I have to say once I got to eating it I wasn't blown away by the 'lobster' taste. I will say that inherently lobster isn't a very strong taste by itself, and really doesn't have a lot of smell as well. However, it's a good relief for people who don't want an overwhelming smell of seafood. That said, the spiciness does not disappoint and certainly smells quite inviting. The aftertaste of this item can maybe be a bit overwhelming as I could tell that I had some pretty bad breath after eating. That I guess is to be expected when eating a spicy soup... oh well!
Mmmmm Noodles!
All factors considered, this is a SOLID food choice that could serve as a staple if you like cheap, tasty, and spicy soups. As far as a rating is concerned I will give this a solid 7.8 out of 10. I'd like to score this higher, but I'm not a huge lobster fan, and this tasted a lot like the Shrimp variety minus the shrimp. However it's redeeming qualities as an inexpensive option at $1.19/bowl; the same bulk pricing as the other varieties applies as well. I would suggest this to anyone who likes a nice spicy, well balanced soup that goes well with a rainy day.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

OKF Aloe Vera King *Peach*

I just recently did a review on OKF Aloe Vera King Strawberry. This made me think... if the Strawberry is good, maybe the peach is just as good. However, you'll see that things aren't always as they seem. Again, this beverage comes from OKF, as another part of their Aloe Vera Drink line.
Peach and Aloe, YUM!
As I mentioned in my earlier review, this line of drinks is either going to be one you LOVE or HATE. 2 strong words for 2 equally strong drinks. The peach "flavoring" is very strong in this beverage but is extremely refreshing. I think when you drink this, you'll need to prepare yourself for a sweet and sour explosion. This seems to be something that would normally be marketed to kids I believe. I've tried to water this drink down to dull down a bit of the intensity, but it tasted pretty bland and not really all that appealing.
Again, I opted for the 1.5L variety
When it comes to drinks there isn't much to say on actual "nutritional" value. However I believe there is a common belief / understanding that this aloe drink will ease some urinal tract issues as well as intestinal ones. The aloe is in suspension with no particulates really settling to the bottom. I do recommend when drinking this you shake it BEFORE you drink it since you get a much more even distribution. I'd say that this drink could / would go really nicely with something a bit more salty/cheesy since you'd have a bunch of tastes going on at once. I tried this with Pocky (chocolate), and it worked out well because the chocolate is actually a bit more bitter than your normal brand here in the states.
Kind of looks ... "Milky"
All that said, this is a heck of a drink and there is nothing like this here mass produced in the states. If you can get by the aloe vera chunks/gel, this would be a solid 'backup' drink. Hehe. Anyway I paid $2.89 for this as well, and was REALLY a good choice. My final verdict is 7.5 out of 10, as I need to give it lower marks because of the strength, aloe chunks, and low availability/value. This drink makes me happy, and is a joy to drink at any time, morning noon or night... Now go out and try it and see if you like it as much as I do.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Story of Tea Drink *Green Tea and Passion Fruit*

I remember seeing this bottle and going, hmmm I wonder what's inside it. The color scheme of this product and the scarce English type would have thrown off a few people here in the states. However, I will say that this risk did pay off. I've had 2 different kinds of this tea, one of which I'll briefly mention because I didn't keep the bottle. I wish I knew a little bit more about this company, since there wasn't a lot to go on. However I will say at K&S, there is about 3-4 types at any given time of this green tea.
I'm not going to lie, I have no clue what this says.
That said, I really enjoyed the taste and body of this drink, both kinds I had. However I wish I had kept the apple variety, since it was notably tastier. However, this variety with passion fruit, had much more of a green tea taste. I had this while enjoying my Meiji snacks, and they provided a good mix between them. The taste was brisk and sweet with a bitter tea finish. For most people, especially those used to sodas and other over sugary drinks probably should steer clear from this. However, if you're looking for a bit healthier option, this is certainly a good idea. Personally, I rarely drink any sort of sodas so I REALLY liked how this drink was on the pallet.
Kind of hard to read the English Parts
Heres my breakdown of this particular product. I believe I picked this up for about $1.29, which by all means isn't a "steal" and I don't think this is a MUST HAVE. However, if you're looking for a good change of pace, especially if you're a big tea drinker... this is a definite. Then again, you're probably going to want to FIND this first, since it's a bit rare and both times I've gotten different flavors. Overall, I'd say that I give this product a 7.5/10. I give this slightly lower marks because the apple version is just THAT much better than this one. The product does score well with lower sugar content, as well as a nice aftertaste. Plus I've always been a person who enjoys the taste of tea in tea drinks. So, grab yourself a glass, and try it...
What are you waiting for, try it!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hello Panda Biscuit - Milk Filling *Meiji*

Time to go back to the kinds of foods I really enjoy. Junk food! Hey, can you blame me? These have to be some of the more common types of junk food, since I've seen them in World Market, Wholefoods, K&S and countless others, including wal-mart. This snack food is produced/exported by Meiji, a larger company with a vast portfolio of foods.
So cute, you have to pick it up!
Since I've given up chocolate for Lent, this was a pretty easy pickup for me. I even got a recommendation from one of the cashiers that this was a product I'd absolutely love. The outside of the packaging is a fun shape with really colorful and cute panda pictures.
Told you they were cute!
Where this product REALLY takes off is the coating/crunchy outside. The biscuit is thin, crispy and just the right amount of sweetness. However, I will be honest, I was a bit hesitant to pick these up because it said "milk cream" flavoring. Come on, nobody can get that excited about a MILK filling, bleh! However I will say I was pleasantly surprised. The inside is such a good mix of sweetness, with a good interior consistency. I have noticed a few trends with these junk foods, Milk/Red Bean/Soy Sauce fillings aren't always bad or even savory, on the contrary most are very sweet. Add all of the positives together, and you get a really satisfying, somewhat 'light' snack. This is a really good go-to biscuit, especially to someone who cannot have chocolate.
Ingredient list as well as Export info
I'll also note, the cute little pictures on  the outside were also pretty appealing. They said they are "sports pictures" and yeah for the most part that's true. Anyway, on to my final decision, I'd say these are a definite buy for people who are looking to enter into something newer to snack on. These are a great low risk food for people who have a sensitive stomach too. I'd have to say I give this a 8 out of 10, since I almost always get them with many broken pieces. That said, go out and try these :)


Monday, March 21, 2011

Sour Cream and Onion Shrimp Chips *Marco Polo*

Probably you've seen a trend as of late with my Shrimp kick, with it being a main ingredient/flavor. However I assure you this isn't entirely something done on purpose. However with these shrimp chips from K&S are by far and away the BEST item I've probably picked up from there. Wow, just check them out if you get a chance. These I believe are originally made by Marco Polo LTD but are distributed via California.
Go Find These... NOW
The packaging is a traditional bag similar to that of a potato chip. The first thing you'll probably notice about this is how light the whole bag is. This is mainly due to how light and airy these things are. From the first time you open these chips you are hit with a nice shrimp smell, complimented by that of rice and starch. This to many can be a turn-off, but for most like me... it makes me want to dig in. The first bite of these chips will have you hooked. I try my hardest to only eat one at a time and let it dissolve on my tongue, as they will if you wait long enough, but they taste too damn good. Which brings me to my second point, they are just so FUN to eat. As I mentioned in a previous review they compliment the ramen/soup bowl's so well. As an added fun factor when you add them they sound like little pop rocks when they get saturated by the broth.
I promise they taste better than they photograph
I know I've raved about these things for quite a while, they are probably my 'go-to' snack when it comes to fast and easy to eat food. However there are a few things I wanted to mention that could be a possible down-side. As I said before, the smell for some people, can really make people say "wow, I like shrimp, but I'm not used to seeing/smelling it in this way." Another possible down-side is that they ARE flavored with Sour Cream and Onion. As a person in the US, you assume when you see Sour Cream and Onion that you're going to be inundated with salt/seasonings. On the contrary they don't have nearly the amount of seasonings, with many that don't even have a speck of onion (green specs) anywhere on it. To me, this doesn't bother me at all, but for some people I COULD see this as something disappointing. Personally I like how this lower taste allows for a very mild sour cream aftertaste and a smooth finish, on a what could be fishy aftertaste.
Nutrition Facts
In conclusion, this is probably my favorite foreign food I've tried yet. If you've got any sort of access, even if you need to go to amazon to order a couple bags. I picked these up for get this ... 99 CENTS! Yeah, a hell of a deal for probably one of the best overall snacks, or even foods, I've ever had. For a rating, I've got to give these a 9.9/10, with the only downside being the low sour cream and onion flavor, and a shrimp smell. But hey you ARE eating shrimp chips ;).


Friday, March 18, 2011

Crab Shumai *Nissui*

So when you think of something with crab in it you usually associate it with something decadent and yummy. However this product from Nissui is anything but. I got this on my first ever trip to K&S and man, it was probably the worst decision I ever made.
However, I had high hopes for this, as this brand seemed pretty well represented in the 2 stores I've been in. I can maybe see that these are a delicacy in some other places. However, not only did these things taste completely bland and unappealing, they ALSO looked and SMELLED horrible. I will say my method of cooking was microwave (which they said was recommended). Not only did they smell bad for the day I cooked them, but the 3 days following. I would NOT recommend this unless you don't care about your food quality, looks, or smell. As you've probably already noticed, this will be one of my shorter reviews, for obvious reasons.

Overall, I would say that this could maybe be appealing if they could be steamed in an outdoor market ... MAYBE ??? However I will say with 100% certainty, I will NEVER EVER eat these again. I can't say that anyone would want to even try these, especially with my non-recommendation. Please, if you value the normal smells in your house... DO NOT BUY! Sorry Nissui, I have to give you a .5/10 (only giving one half point for cool looking packaging).


Thursday, March 17, 2011

** Pocky Strawberry (Alternate Coating) **

If you've ever been in a  Japanese grocery store, most likely you've seen Pocky. This delectable treat can be found even in some local Wal-Marts. However, this kind, is a bit harder to find, as it appears to have pieces of strawberry in the creme coating. Pocky is manufactured all around the world by Glico, in Japan.
Very Cool Packaging
The packaging on these treats appears to be a bit more feminine, with cute little accents. One feature that sticks out to me is the almost paper-like plastic that surrounds the Pocky. It's very soft and slightly tinted with a few little pictures of strawberries. It's one of those things that kind of makes you smile while eating it... YUM!
See... CUTE advertising!
The actual TASTE of these sweet sticks are a perfect mix of tart to sweet. I would say, given my recent lent promise to give up chocolate, these will be my crutch. In short, these sweet biscuits have a great natural taste as opposed to the traditional strawberry pocky.
Random Pocky Commercial

The final verdict on these is that I will most likely buy them again... They are really flavorful, come in perfectly portioned packs, and are a lighter alternative to the chocolate kind. Overall I give these an 8.5 out of 10, with 10 being the best. These only get lower marks because I actually PREFER the chocolate ones, but they DO taste great to people who have a craving for something that takes like strawberry.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

OKF Aloe Vera King *Strawberry*

OKF Aloe Vera Strawberry 1.5L

For my first beverage review I will lean on OKF Co. Ltd out of Korea. This appears to be another one of the larger corporations for beverages. I have two different flavors of this, and I'll definitely get to them both. I'm not 100% sure who or why they started making Aloe drinks, as I guess they are supposed to promote healthy digestive and bladder health. However, that said, there are hits and misses with this drink.
As you can see, I bought this along with many other items.
The first couple things you'll probably notice about this drink is it's HUGE size / unique bottle. I opted to get the 1.5L bottle which I blew through in about a weekend (yeah it's tasty). However the bottle not only is large but has a white plastic mouthpiece on it, not sure why... outside of maybe durability? Probably one of the other things you'll notice is the number they put on there *500,000,000* ... on the side label. That stands for the 500 million units they've sold, wow ... Last thing I want to point out (pictured below) is the order and quantity of the ingredients... I'd venture to say there aren't many US branded drinks even close to this.
Not even close to most soda/beverage labels here in the states.
Knowing what you now know about the amount / ratio of ingredients ... you can probably deduce this drink isn't exactly what you'd call smooth. Well, it IS smooth, but not in a traditional sense of the word. This drink is, for lack of a better word, chunky. Yes, that sounds HORRIBLE and gross coming from a drink perspective. I will say that friends of mine that have tried this asked if I could strain a glass for them... Yeah, not a bad thing I guess, but more of a texture thing. Personally, I like them, they add a little variety to an otherwise fruity sweet drink. It's something you'll have to try for yourself, at least on the texture; however the taste is another story. This drink has to be one of the most pure and tasty strawberry tastes I've EVER had. I'm not sure if it's due to the overwhelming sweetness and pure taste of strawberry or the tasty pieces of aloe vera gel, but I really enjoy this drink. However, this drink MAY be too sweet for some people.

The Empty Bottle :'-(
In conclusion, if you're adventurous person who tends to like bubble tea, tapioca tea, and other weird textured drinks/beverages, at least give this a try. They offer smaller sizes, so don't feel like you have to get the 1.5L size. On the other hand, the floating bits, rather suspended bits of aloe vera gel will turn many people away from this. The value is actually pretty good on this, I believe I paid around $2.89 at K&S for this bottle, a bargain in the "health drink" market. Overall I'd give this a solid 8.5 out of 10, go out and try it, even if you're unsure about the texture. 


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nong Shim *Shrimp Flavored Cracker*

Walking into K&S's snack section, you see 100's of bags of these. They are very brightly packaged, small, and a great deal! However, these are my second choice for shrimp crackers. Again this product comes from the familiar K&S store via the manufacturer Nong Shim. I have found these crackers in all oriental/japanese/world markets, so I assume they are pretty common. Without further delay, here is my review on one of the easier products to find.
Very nice/Plain graphics
To how these taste... they taste like they say... salty shrimp. To be honest, I do know SEVERAL people who do not like these due to the smell. Yeah, they smell like shrimp, if that's something you're not able to get over, pass on these. However if you enjoy seafood, these are an absolute staple for you. They are really light and fluffy, but not nearly as fluffy as the other shrimp chips I purchased, those I'll review later ;).

Little Ridges YUM!

Wow, these things took me by surprise, mostly due to my unrefined taste-buds. I was first overwhelmed by the amount of salt flavor, but then was sat back down with the light and tasty shrimp flavor. From what I understand they grind up / pulverize the shrimp and bake it into the crackers. YUM! It is worth noting two more things about these. Firstly, they re ridged and have a different texture to them. Secondly, these items go amazing on / dipped in Ramen because they snap, and pop like rice cereal, it's quite entertaining. 

Onto my final verdict -- 
I say these are a solid snacking staple and the value you get is amazing. It took me 3-4 servings to make it through one bag. At 99cents this is probably the best investment you can make if you like shrimp and are willing to try something different. However if you're not a big person on smells, I'd say TRY these first before you buy a couple bags. Overall I give these a 7 out of 10 *10 being best*; receiving good marks for flavor, texture, low fat. However loses points due to the smell and crunch, just a texture thing for most people.


Monday, March 14, 2011

First Review *Nong Shim Spicy Shrimp Bowl*

Before I get to the review, thank you for taking time out to look at this. Thanks!

On to the review... 

This was a pretty easy first choice. The first selection comes from Nong Shim food company out of Korea. They have a wide array of products, and most of which I will be reviewing will be coming from this company. I really think they have great quality at a reasonable price. Plus an added bonus that there is a good amount of legible English writing on the label... making it a ton easier to know what you're actually getting.

Bright and Easy to Read

On to the food itself, this noodle bowl is probably the most balanced ramen I've EVER had. Again, the key to this bowl is that the taste is very complimentary to itself. However for some people I COULD see this as being a BIT too spicy. I'd have to say that this is about a 6 out of 10 for spiciness, as it's satisfactorily spicy in a tasty way. I really like how the salt and shrimp is balanced with the spice of cayenne/chipotle flavor. However if you would like, you can choose how much of the actual packet you wish to put inside the bowl. See picture below, personally I like to add it all.

Moderate your amount of spice
Another main point that I would like to make is how DIFFERENT this is than the traditional grocery store ramen. The depth of flavor, amount of vegetables and seasonings is amazing compared to the normal maruchan brand. There is also a large variety of sizes the actual vegetables from onions to scallions it kind of makes you feel like you're having something a bit more authentic. If you're getting bored / on a budget this is a FANTASTIC alternative, the noodles as well you will notice taste/have a different texture. Mainly I think this is due to the ingredients ... you'll notice many different rice / oils you don't normally see in traditional foods. There is even a few little baby shrimp in the mix, it's so refreshing to actually see pieces of the actual "flavor" you're eating.
The warm and YUMMY finished product
The last thing I'll mention is the cost and the "value" of the product. I think I picked this up for around $1.19 or so. I'd say its an amazing value for the cost, especially when you consider the bulk price K&S sells it for $9.99 for 12 bowls. If you REALLY like this or have kids, I'd suggest going this route. Overall I say this deserves my first "BUY THIS NOW" rating. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being best... I give this a 9/10, giving this not a perfect score because of the spice, some people wont like. 


What's Stocky Eating


I've been putting this off for a while, but as of pretty recently I've been on a foreign food adventure. I would have to say I've been getting pretty bored with traditional foods that you find in your local grocery store. As someone who grew up in the northern part of the United States, my diet was traditional "meat and potatoes." Nothing too over the top but I did have my favorite dishes, personal favorites (I love you Mom & Dad), shepherds pie, mushroom soup pork chops, steak and potatoes, and BBQ/Fried Chicken with corn on the cob. I got in the habit of drinking milk with dinner, which I later found out as a faux-pas.

My eating habits were mainly dictated by my insatiable appetite after whatever sport I was doing at that time. I grew up playing everything from football, cross-country, to wrestling, baseball, track ... I was kept pretty busy. That said, I really enjoyed all my mom and dad did to teach me how to cook, and show me that it's OK to take risks and have a little fun making something new. I don't think there were too many times that I spent using measuring cups, unless we were making Christmas cookies.

Christmas cookies were a HUGE team effort for our family. I can remember helping my mom make frosting and then applying it to the freshly warm sugar cookies. We all have our favorites for cookies, but far and away the most popular were the peanut butter blossoms. BASICALLY they are sugar coated peanut butter cookies with a Hershey's kisses smushed in the middle. Wow, these just were the ESSENCE, of the holidays around our house. I learned a lot about planning, measuring and freezing cookies, all of which would prove as invaluable when I moved to the southern part of USA.

Now that I've been down here in Tennessee for about 5 years or so, my tastes have changed ... substantially. I find myself eating a whole lot more tex-mex food. As mentioned earlier I did get to the point of "food boredom", and now I'm reaching out to other parts of the world for inspiration.

Primarily I'll be focusing around foods procured from Far Eastern nations (Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam). I will include pictures and a personal opinion as well as an overall "grade" for the products. I will also let you know a little bit about the company that produced the food, as well as where I got the food from... and the price. Most of the time the blogs will come in "meal" format, where I will have multiple items displayed. However, I will try and include at least one "junk food" item a week, and you will see some duplicates... and some trends ... we all have our favorites.

Stay tuned, I should be able to post my first review this evening.

Thanks Again,