Friday, April 15, 2011

Tablemark Oriental Flavor Noodle Soup Review

Here goes nothing, another product I clearly had to rely on the smaller English print. Well hey, it worked out for me, this dish was actually pretty interesting. This came to me via the local strip mall store, Japanese foods and novelties, a MUCH smaller store than the others. Apparently this is made by Tablemark Co. LTD out of Japan.
Bright and Colorful  ;-)
I decided to make this for lunch, and my expectations were that this would be spicy, however I was way off. Again, this dish had a TON of freeze dried vegetables, and a good amount of soup stock. I really loved this again because the cabbage swelled up many times larger than it came in the package. There were two packets and the noodles had a yellow tint to them.
I stirred it up a bit
The taste again was VERY satisfying, and was pretty salty with a nice side taste of the vegetables. I did notice how UNspicy this was, which really doesn't happen much. Again, I did like it because I really wasn't wanting anything too spicy today. However, this can probably be filed under the "try if you like" category because there isn't anything too special about the taste and flavor.
Traditionally high sodium (of course)
All in all, this bowl was a bit overpriced for what it was ($2.49). I will say however, it was completely worth it, since it was a good change from my normal sandwiches and chips for lunch. Then again, this didn't have anything too interesting about it, and I couldn't put my finger on it. Lastly, I'd have to give this a 7 out of 10, since it was good, but not fantastic, and it was a solid change to my week.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Unif Instant Rice Noodles *Chinese Onion* Review

It looks like it's been a little while since I did some noodles. I tend to eat these at lunch and make a perfect quick lunch that fills and warms you. This product is made by UNIF, a Vietnamese company. These are sold in your normal ramen "chunk" of noodles.
Onion Flavor
I didn't know exactly why I chose this one outside of it being pretty cheap and not spicy. I will say I've recently just picked up another pack of this noodle. Again, this is a SOLID good secondary choice for my second favorite ramen, behind my other shrimp bowl. This is a pretty plain tasting soup as far as the overwhelming flavor. However this doesn't mean its bad, actually it's really good, and tasty. To say it again, this isn't really one of those "spicy" dishes and will soothe almost any pallet. Also I liked the fact these had clear-ish noodles, they tasted and looked different than anything I've ever had.
Fully Cooked
I will have to say, this was a surprise that this soup was so tasty. I was anticipating an overwhelmingly strong onion flavor, (which I hate). They actually were more salty than anything, since there are a few packets of spices. Again the spices tended to be in better shape/greater quantity than those here in the States.

All in all, this noodle is pretty good, given their less spicy taste. I would recommend these noodles to anyone who wants to try something a bit "lower risk". That said, I have to give this an 8.5 out of 10, getting high marks for dynamic tastes, textures, and low spice. However gets a few ticks off because of the less spice, since some people really enjoy spiciness. 


PS- I may be taking a break here pretty soon, as I'm planning my wedding. Also, the local food store had completely empty shelves in their refrigerated section (probably due to the Japan disaster). Anyway, I thought I'd let my users know ahead of time.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jumex Mango Nectar Review

I think it's about time that I did a review on something from a different part of the world. This "nectar" is from Jumex, in Mexico but is distributed in the USA from San Antonio, TX. I really have to be honest and really just picked this up on a whim that I could possibly mix this with a splash of coconut rum. Again, definitely one of my more random moments, but will this one pay off?
Kind of a "busy" label
I didn't know what to expect from a "nectar" drink having never had one before. I have had my fair share of juices and the like, but nothing labeled specifically nectar. Anyway, I will say this was an afterthought, and I did buy this along with some coconut milk/water; which I may review later sometime. As far as how this product smells, my significant other said it smelled rotten etc. However if you've ever been around fresh mangoes ... they can sometimes smell a bit "off". However, I wasn't bothered by it, just giving a different opinion.
As Mentioned, this is mixed with Sweet Tea, nothing else... strangely good.
As you can probably see above, this isn't exactly what the nectar looks like. The color and texture of the nectar is very thick (for a standalone drink), and almost a fluorescent yellow. Overall, I only took a sip of this without a mix or even water, and it was too sweet, even for my tastes. However, as shown above, this can be mixed with almost anything, even a southern USA staple, sweet tea! I again, did try and mix a bit with some coconut flavored liquor, and it was pretty awesome.
Contains 30% Juice, Not Bad!
Wow, is all I could really say about this. It's extremely versatile, and I bet I could drink this down by itself, if I could handle the sweetness. However this drink comes into its own when mixed. If you're looking for an alternative for mixing some sort of alcohol, this certainly is it. However, don't limit it there, I could see making an awesome Mango reduction sauce, for maybe a mahi or a light pork dish. Overall I'd have to give this one an 8.5, mostly for its versatility, but lower marks because it's not a great standalone beverage.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bing Energy Drink *Black Cherry* Review

I guess this doesn't necessarily count as anything "strange" or different, but this is something I really wanted to tell everyone about. This is one of those drinks that was kind of standing out next to the sweet tea section. Bing energy drink is probably one of those "quirky" gems. They are made and distributed by Bing, and has been featured on the food network.
Nice and Enticing Label
My first thoughts were that this drink would primarily be something I wouldn't be a "big fan" of... however I was extremely surprised. Holy cow this drink knocked my socks off, for an energy drink. Most energy drinks have a medicine like taste that just really never goes away even hours after drinking it. However, this drink was just ... yeah just WOW. I can't rave too much about it since it is only an energy drink, although its about the most fun you can have drinking these. I did get a bit of a small buzz off this drink, but didn't seem too over the top or jittery. I will say that even the taste being good, you'll find you still can't chug it very effectively, due to carbonation.
Label for the Drink
All in all, this will have been one of my shorter reviews, but still, this drink is superb. I can't say too much about a beverage. However, I'm starting to see this in more stores now, so if you can get a hold of these... please go and get one! I will say the buzz isn't the greatest, but it did keep me from nodding off/falling asleep fast at night. Overall I have to give this a 9.7 out of 10.


Monday, April 11, 2011

I-MEI Cream Wafers (Strawberry) Review

Ah the illusive wafer treat, no doubt one of the easiest / least expensive treats on the market. These however are WAY different than what I'm used to. Anyway, these are another treat I picked up at K&S again, and I wasn't really expecting much, as they were pretty cheap. According to the label this is a Taiwanese company, a first for me I believe.
Traditional bright packaging
So opening this foil package was extraordinarily difficult, given they were packed in there to the gills. So when pulling these out be careful, because you might break a few. You'll see in the picture below, how much bigger these are than the traditional ones you see over here in the states. If I had to guess they are maybe 2-3x larger than regular brands. This was actually a good thing, since I don't like having to retrieve many of these due to their fragile state. I know it sounds petty, but I try to keep the packaging intact so I can save some for later.
As far as the taste, I'd have to say this is probably in a league of its own for cheap eats. I was really thinking the filling would have been a nondescript pink tartness. However I was pleasantly surprised on the first bite, it was so light, fluffy and somewhat natural tasting. The wafers were way more lofty, and the filling a lot more smooth. Speaking of the filling, it was closer to a whitish pink than the turbo pink color us Americans see from the majority of wafer makers. This was not only a refreshing change but probably the most flavorful and light snack I've had since I ate Shrimp Chips. That said, I would also say this does suffer from the same brittle and dry nature as other wafers on the market, that's just the nature of the snack. However, these are a bit more balanced and not as powder dry.
Label time!
Again, if you've not noticed, I'm a pretty big fan of these things. I'd again say that these are also in the "low risk" category for an international cuisine purchaser. I'm not a huge fan of wafer cookies or anything, but it's still refreshing to see it done properly in a larger format, with a somewhat normal taste. I think I bought these for a little over $1. These are an excellent snack option and may purchase these again, if I can get a hold of them, I give these a 9 out of 10. They receive high marks for taste, texture, value and overall quality. The only downside is the tricky packaging, their limited availability, and that's about it; again not too much bad I can say about these. These are a staple for people who like to snack on something a bit lighter, and without chocolate.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Asian Taste *Black Tea* Review

Now I will be frank, I was never really a tea drinker until I turned about 20 something. To be honest I didn't really have to high hopes for this since it was $1.99 for a box of 20 bags. Again, that's extremely cheap, even by today's standards. This product and manufacturer I couldn't really find anything too much about it, suffice to say you can find this item online at most retailers.
Rather to the point Tea Box
Again when it comes to Tea there isn't much to say, due to the nature of the actual drink, it's meant to be relaxing. However, I actually prefer to drink this when I need a boost of energy, as black tea has the highest concentration of caffeine in teas. Not really something you'll drink to get you as hyper as what a Red-Bull would do, but I do find this has a good amount of kick (caffeine), to it. I like to enjoy this mostly when the weather is on the chilly side, since I don't really ever add sugar or ice.
For being Black Tea, it shows pretty reddish-brown.
As far as taste goes, this particular brand has a really nice smell and flavor to it. The dry bags smell kind of like a mix between Lipton iced tea brands. The taste starts off as a very warm, broad taste with subtle lows of a 'woody' flavor. However, the aftertaste is quite nice, comparatively, to the overly woody taste that this drink may sometimes have. I'd say, that this is something I could enjoy at pretty much any time of day.
Very nondescript bag
All that said, this is one of 2 flavors of tea from this brand I'll eventually review. Again, there isn't much to say in the way of recommending this since tea is something you like or don't like. Certainly, this is a good replacement or change to your normal coffee routine. I also will say as a coffee drinker, occasionally, I will say the Tea Caffeine buzz is much more subtle, but tends to keep me more focused. Anyway, if you can get your hands on it, from Amazon or something like that, do it. Overall I give this an 8.5 out of 10, with high marks for drink-ability, flavor, caffeine content and overall enjoyment. However, if you're not a "tea person" this probably isn't the best first tea choice. Conversely, if you enjoy tea and want to expand your horizons, this is an excellent choice to get away from large channel brands like Lipton.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

OKF Coco Coconut Drink *Pineapple* Review

I have to be honest, when I picked this up I almost assumed it was another Aloe drink. I can't exactly say I was disappointed, until I had a chance to try it. This again comes from OKF, a Korean beverage company, of which I've done other reviews for. I am starting to think I'm doing reviews on only a couple companies, but hey, I review what I can get my hands on.
The first thing I noticed about this drink was the overwhelming smell. Most of the time, you don't get a good whiff of what you can smell from a beverage. However, this drink is stellar, and has a very sweet; almost nectar type drink with a slice of pineapple and coconut. On the contrary I wish the taste was the same, because it's actually way over the top sweet and not a lot of pineapple flavor. The pineapple flavor that IS present is really fake and only hits you at the end. There's not much to be said about the actual coconut flavor since that's pretty much gone.
Little Floaty Things
I have to say however the tell-tale "chunks" in this drink do NOT correlate to a good overall experience. In contrast the Aloe Vera Drinks, which have the squishy almost jell-o like, pieces. The coco brand has pieces of coconut, which are far more chewier, less tasting, and certainly less enjoyable. This drink is SERIOUSLY curbed by this by also having a horrendous after-taste. I really cannot convey to you in words how much less fun/appealing this drink is now, I will most likely NOT finish it.
Nutrition and Producer Information
All in all, this drink... if you can call it that, is kind of a miss. I will say that the taste isn't all that horrible, just really misses the mark with the texture. I think from here on out, unless I feel adventurous, getting another Coco drink. Overall, I will give this about a 4 out of 10, with disappointing flavor, texture, and aftertaste. Again, I will say you are welcome to try this, just know that it won't be for my recommendations.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Nong Shim *Shin Bowl Noodle* **SPICY**

First and foremost, sorry for posting so late Stocky blog readers! I got really caught up with work, and with things around the house. Anyway, thanks for understanding, now we're back! I bring you back to my international blog with an old friend, Nong Shim! I promise you, I really don't plan this, but being one of the more famous and accessible brands, you'll keep seeing it.
Not a whole lot of pics on this one... sorry guys and gals!
Onto the actual food, as I said in my previous reviews, the Nong Shim products tend to be on the spicy side. If you're a fan of spicy foods this one does NOT disappoint me. I opted to add the whole packet (as usual), to the whole mix. If I had to put my finger on it I'd say this is probably the second spiciest noodle soup I've ever had, next to Vinh Long's Beef and Carrot Stew, and that stuff practically made me cry. I've grown a lot with my tastes, including my tolerance to spicy foods. This has a distinct Nissan Ramen Beef Noodle flavor, with a strong spice to it, I had to stop once or twice, and it burned the crap out of my throat. Again, I more or less thought it was because it was so hot, not spicy. Anyway, the smell doesn't really make my nose run, and it doesn't really give out much of an aroma.
Traditional Red-Spice broth, perfectly cooked Noodles!
All in all, this review is kind of brief because this particular soup doesn't really have a lot to it, as far as veggies and all that. However, that's not to say I won't recommend this to anyone, on the contrary. If you DO like spicy foods, particularly soups, this is another definite BUY ME NOW!! Plus, better yet it is cheap (~$1.29), and you can find it almost anywhere, someone alluded to me that you may even be able to find this at a whole-foods store. Overall, I'd have to give this one a 8.7 out of 10, with a definite BUY rating. That said, I'd say, this doesn't really stand out, aside from being a solid spicy noodle broth soup. However, there isn't much in the way of alternative foods like cabbage, onions, and other veggies. All in all, go out and try it, you'll be surprised how much you'll like spicy soup!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Aloe Dream Aloe Vera Drink Review

Yeah I know what you're going to say .... "Stocky, why are you doing more beverage reviews?", to that I say, this particular juice is well worth the read. This beverage is from Korea, as a lot of my products that I review come from. Again, there are a TON of companies listed on the back of the bottle, most notably (in bold), Wang Globalnet. However, this is one of those I could actually convince my fiancée to try...
The English Side
To start I will again re-iterate that this is a beverage that has little floating bits of aloe in it. Not a problem for me or my fiancée (sort of). She was the first to taste this, and much to my surprise, she actually liked it! Wow, again that's a shock to even me. If that says anything, mind you. I did manage to get a sip of this and a good amount of it as well, however, I'd say this drink is best served ice cold.

Korean Label
The taste of this drink is not really something you can put your finger on. It tastes kind of like a very low acid citrus drink. Yeah, weird I know, but I think it's because it's so sugary. This is something I'll say is probably the most notable feature, how sweet this is. However it doesn't really taste "fake" sweet, more of a natural cane sugar taste. If you're a fan of aloe type drinks, this is a definite plus.
Label ME!
All that said, this drink doesn't go without its flaws. I will say that there are a couple things working against it, primarily the fact that it's got aloe in it. The aloe in this drink appears to be a bit more "natural" hence the irregular texture, as opposed to the other OKF drinks I've reviewed. Also this drink doesn't hold up well unless it's pretty cold. However all that said this is probably my second favorite aloe vera drink, behind OKF Strawberry. Overall I give this a 8.0 out of 10, giving high marks all around, but getting some dings for texture, and warm weather drink-ability.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Japanese Style Peanut Mochi Review

First Mochi Review
I've got to say, I've been reading a lot of my friends blog, and she reviews a LOT of mochi (mind you she got me inspired to start this blog). So I was curious when I saw a whole big section of Mochi. I of course had 3-5 options on flavor so I decided to go a bit "safe" and go with peanut filling. However you'll find that things aren't always as they seem. Not that I wasn't really impressed, just a bit "mislead" on the product. This product comes from Taiwan, from a relatively well known manufacturer.
Can't really read it, sorry... however it was hard to find manufacturer.
The first couple things you have got to notice is the fun packaging. From being in such a dark box, I expected the plastic/wrapping would correlate. I was pleasantly surprised, since it's such a fun looking style and color scheme. I really was blown away by that, and it was something unexpected. However, I did find a little bag of chemicals/alcohol packets, to regulate the moisture in delicacy.
See, isn't it FUN?
After you remove the mochi from the main wrapper they are then again covered by a cupcake paper liner. The smell isn't overwhelming, and really doesn't smell like much. I was really taken back on how dense/heavy the actual treats are. I don't know why I assumed it would be a lighter fare, but hey I'm not necessarily saying its a good thing.
Little Wrapper
However it's not all sunshine and rainbows with this review, actually quite the contrary. My first bite was almost my last. The reason I say this is because I wasn't really sure what I was to expect as far as texture and taste. If you were to look ONLY at the mochi picture, I assumed it would be a thin walled piece of rice cake (moist of course). However my first bit was alllll mochi, no filling, and it took another big bite to get to the center. This is again, one of those "texture foods" similar to that of aloe vera drinks. So again I wasn't really impressed from first bite, because it was very gummy, *YUCK*! Really this was the part that will keep me away from this brand. At least for the time being, sorry
See how thick the Rice is??
In conclusion I really want to be nice to this product because the taste was pretty good, however the squishy, tasteless rice was crazy nasty and thick. As you can see, this will most likely keep less adventurous people around, for sure. So overall, this pains me to say it, but I've got to give this one a 4.5 out of 10. Sorry... but I could not get over how thick the mochi was, and how just PLAIN it tasted. If it had some more flavor and maybe a different texture I'd recommend this. I just feel a bit mislead on how thin it looks like on the box, as compared to the picture just above it. However if you don't have a lot of problems with food texture, go out and try it... they are cheap $1.19.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Coco Rico Coconut Soda Review

Well what can I say, I'm a sucker for displays. This drink was a FULL wall display (probably got a large shipment of them), from my local K&S International Market. This isn't really something that's from the far east, however, I'd say this IS on the rare side. This drink is made by Coco Rico Inc., out of Puerto Rico (I believe, it says on the can).
Yep, cool looking can!
The best couple things about this drink is how fresh and clean it tastes. However, compared to my Ramune drinks, we're back up to the high carbonation. Another cool thing about this soda is just how crystal clear it is. I poured it out, and was expecting maybe a cloudy texture / look to it. I'm so used to the aloe vera drinks having a texture to them, maybe I was just assuming? Anyway, I really enjoyed the fizz, and the bite from it, personally I'd like to sometime try it as a mixer, yes ... it's that good. You can really taste the coconut, and it's not too heavily sweetened, and the coconut taste resonates through.
Crystal Clear
I will keep this review kind of short, because it is rare, HOWEVER it's not something that is that "odd" or different. That said, I will most likely buy this again, probably in a 6 pack. I'd totally recommend this, and for any of my local readers, I'll see if I can give you a sample sometime. Overall I will give this one a 9.0/10 for high marks on sweet balance, coconut flavor, and color. The downside to this drink is that it's a bit too carbonated for a mellow drink, and it's kind of expensive $2.99 for a 6 pack.
Basic Label...