Nissin Bowl Noodles: Hot & Spicy Beef

I'll star this post off with a quiz sort of question.  Does anyone know what this is?

Me neither, at least I'm not sure enough to say one way or another.  It's a piece of freeze-dried/dehydrated something from the vegetable packet from today's soup review.  I'm not often big on these mega-giant soup bowl ramen creations but seeing as how there are far too many steps usually between me and noodle-brick bliss, but I felt adventurous today, so I picked this up:

The packaging is bright and exciting.  Far too exciting for pre-fried noodles in a cardboard bowl with some packets of MSG and a few nuggets of freeze-dried vegetables.  Or is it?  My favorite aspect of said packaging is the portrait of the happy cow:

'Please enjoy the enclosed packet of me-flavored MSG'

Anyway, beyond the festive packaging there's a rather bleak layout of ingredients.  Bowl with dry noodles, MSG 'flavor' pack, veggie pack and what's this?  The SOUP BOOSTER?!??  Oh noes!?!111 Hot and spicy was one thing but now you're going to boost my soup with a mysterious black paste? I'm relieved to find that the soup should only be boosted once the other three ingredients, plus water, are brought boiling hot by a 3-minute stint in the microwave.  

After the merry-go-microwave ride is over for these noodles, I prepare to boost the soup.  I was careful not to actually touch the soup booster in it's base form right out of its ez-tear pouch.  Here's how it looks plopped on top of the finished soup:

Sort of looks like a black-goo scorpion drowning in soup?

And now we stir....

Ahh, much better.  Though I do think one of the rehydrated veggies is trying to escape.  Anyway, it turns out that this soup is actually quite delicious, considering it's 80 cent price tag.  The heat is subtle at first, even seems nonexistant, however it's a slow creeping heat that will leave one's mouth burning pleasantly for a few minutes afterward.  I had no trouble finishing BOTH servings in this bowl.  That's right there's two servings, but oh well, I'm a guy who usually, again, eats both servings in a standard ramen brick. One this surprisingly absent from the soup is any real beef flavor.  But it does, in ramen's defense have the same bullion-ish taste that an average pack of beef flavored ramen noodles would have.  And finally, remember the mystery vegetable up top?  It may have been clearer to you than it was to me, but once it was watered, nuked and boosted, it turns out that's actually a little bit of green bean.  Wierd eh?  


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