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Ramen, Udon, & more noodles (+ Potato Chip rock) – San Diego, CA

It’s cold. I’m too lazy and too cheap to go get food sometimes. So what’s the best solution? Asian store bought dried ramen, udon, and noodles. We’re going back to college days – gangsta style.

This season, I’ve been a bit obsessed with the dried ramen packages you purchase at the Asian supermarkets. There are always SO many to choose from. I remember growing up on the standard Maruchan ramen (do you remember those?!!). Maruchan was literally my friend quite a few dinner nights a week when I was in college.

But how times have changed. There are no so many different ramens/udons/noodles available for the masses. It’s no longer ramen in a cup that you pour hot water over.

I always see ramen for sale at my local H Mart. I frequent H Mart b/c it’s the closest Asian market to me and they have some pretty cool deals on ramen. So I thought I’d do a test run on a few packs I picked up from the market. And how many times have you seen ramen/noodles packs and wondered ‘what the heck is inside these packs anyways’.

I was really curious about these Korean brands because they always have different seasoning packets inside the package.

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- Shin Ramyun BLACK

This was the first one I tried out b/c it was on sale. I don’t remember the price. But it was on sample and I like the way the soup tasted. I don’t care too much about the actual ramen noodles b/c I think the dried ramen noodles tastes the same in about every pack.

It seems that most of these dry ramens come with 3 packs of seasonings: dried vegetables, soup base, and I don’t know what the other pack is b/c it’s written in Korean.

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I was told this ramen broth was pretty spicy but it really wasn’t. I added two habaneros to the broth but fished it out about 5 min into the simmering process. I also added a raw egg and cooked it well done (as I dislike yolk).

I found this ramen brand to be ‘meh’. Maybe I added too much water but the broth didn’t taste as intense as I had hoped. Just a bit bland I suppose. I didn’t add any protein or fresh veggies to this ramen as I just wanted to try out the broth/noodles on its own.

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- Premium Spicy Udon

Ok, so it’s not dried ramen. This is the fresh udon soup pack that they sell in their refrigerated section. I love udon and have never seen a premium version before (not sure why it’s premium but I liked how it was fresh noodles).

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The broth was decent in this udon pack – not as spicy as I had hoped but it had a decent kick to it. Noodles were nice and it’s cool that you can cook it as al dente as you’d like. This udon would have tasted better if I added fish cakes, egg, black mushrooms, and a shrimp tempura (Nabeyaki style).

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- Spicy Noodle $3.99

Not sure why there’s French written on this package. This is by far the best fresh noodle pack I’ve had so far. The seasonings used for this noodle soup is actually really good. And the fresh noodles make the soup a bit thick and starchy.

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- added one habenero and a little bit of fresh onion

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- soup base and fresh garlic

You can see the dried shrimp in their dehydrated soup base cube. I also added a few cloves of fresh garlic to the broth.

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- frozen dumplings

I think I make really good home made dumplings but let’s face it. It takes FOREVER to do so and as I’ve mentioned earlier, this post is about being lazy. I sampled this at H Mart a while ago and loved it. I think this is my favorite brand of frozen dumplings so far. So I decided to add it to the soup.

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Oh man. This was really good. Really hearty, really spicy, and it warmed my cold belly on a freezing afternoon. The fresh noodles make a HUGE difference. It adds a different quality to the noodle soup – it tricks you to think that you had enough moo to order this from a restaurant instead of throwing it all together at home (like a broke college kid).

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- Jinjaa: Flaming hot & Nutty noodle soup

I’m not sure if I got this b/c there was a sample that weekend. But I do remember getting it b/c the 5 pack was on sale for cheap (like $3.99 marked down from $6.99).

Hands down, BEST DRY RAMEN ever. I think I ate 4 packs in one week b/c I loved it so much. There’s something about this particular broth that I absolutely adore.

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The broth is the spiciest of all I’ve tried in this post. And I’m not sure what is inside their ‘nutty’ powder but it makes the broth even better.

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- dried vegetables added first

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Ok. These pics aren’t the greatest and look kinda sad and pathetic. But I don’t have to add anything to this. I don’t feel the urge to add garlic, onions, raw egg, protein, veggies, etc. I just straight up love the spicy broth. If you can’t handle spicy, then this ramen isn’t for you because it’s pretty darn hot.

They no longer sell this ramen in the 5 pack but they sell it individually now (boo). It’s still worth it (even though it’s like $1.50 per pack).

So to there ya have it. A grown woman’s take on cheap ramen/udon/noodles :)

….

I wrote before how friends and I attempted to hike up Mount Woodson after Thanksgiving. We failed, not b/c we’re old and fat, but because day light ran out. Last Friday, we all decided to take the afternoon off and make the trek up Mount Woodson to the infamous Potato Chip Rock.

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- look how serene and beautiful everything is

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- view of Lake Poway from the top (well, 3/4 to the top)

It was FREEZING that Friday afternoon. I didn’t really want to go b/c I was fighting a small cold that I knew would get worse if I went on this hike. Oh well. You only live once right.

It got super cold once you got to the top of the mountain. So windy and so blustery. But once I saw Potato Chip rock, I knew it was worth the almost 2 hour hike up.

It’s literally a thin ledge that you can jump onto and admire the view. But it’s so thin, so scary looking, so crazy looking. There was a crowd of people already there and people were debating whether or not to jump onto the ledge. I politely told them that while they were thinking about it, I’d cut in front of them b/c I wanted to get this over with and I was really hungry.

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As you can see in the left pic, you have to jump from one rock to another rock to get onto Potato Chip ledge (please ignore the smile on my face as I wasn’t even feeling smiley at that point). I think I’m pretty athletic but this jump scared even me. I was perched there for a bit waiting for others to finish taking their pics on the ledge.

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NY was taking photos of me. I planned on doing a few cool jumps or something stupid but I’m not kidding you when I say that I GOT REALLY REALLY SCARED. I kept looking around and thinking that ‘ IF I fall, I’d really really hurt myself or break every single bone in my body’. My hands were sweating and my knees, honest to goodness, started shaking.

But I didn’t trek up there for nothing. So here was my first attempt….

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Everyone was cheering me on so I felt a bit better.

My second attempt:

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Success :)  I think I represented pretty well and I was so shocked with the pics NY took w/ the iPhone!

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This is a shot trying to come down Potato Chip. It was harder than climbing up the ledge. You either shimmy your way down, w/ your arms braced against the rock, or you try to slide down on your butt (which is the way NY told me to do it). There’s no graceful way to do it.

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After we all had our chance on Potato Chip, we all took our time to take it all in.  AND, keep in mind that I’m not a nature person. It was just an amazing moment to be still, reflect on a few things, and give a quiet shout out to people that matter to you.

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Hate to break the beautiful reflective theme I had going here but had to show this rock to everyone. I made NY and CDJ pose w/ this rock and kiss it :)  They made me promise not to show that pic.

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This was the view of the lake and the trees when we got to the bottom. I don’t think the day could have ended any better.

Except that I was freezing AND starving…like STARVING…

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I treated the boys to Stir Fresh Mongolian grill b/c it was the closest thing to us and I had a coupon. The place was empty around 4:30p so we were able to make a mess and try out a few weird combinations of stuff to cook up.

I don’t have much to write about the food b/c I couldn’t eat much of it. I knew, without a doubt, that I was getting even more sick. The high of the hike and Potato Chip rock was wearing off and I was going into zombie mode.

So I’ve been sick last few days but it’s ok. It was the weekend and I was more than happy to wear the same sweatpants and sweater for a few days.

It’s going to be chilly tonight – my iphone is now saying 39 degrees. Hope the ramen review helps out others who are jonesing for a cheap, hot meal!

8 thoughts on “Ramen, Udon, & more noodles (+ Potato Chip rock) – San Diego, CA”

  1. Hey, that’s my favorite brand of potstickers too! Although for a different reason – it’s one of the few brands that contain almost all ingredients I can recognize and read from the back, and contains no vegetable protein (correct me if I’m wrong about this), which is great.Other than that, I actually kind of like the Lings Lings from Costco, although to say that aloud would be a disgrace to my Asian culture…

    You should try the Mama Brand “Creamy Tom Yum” noodles. While Korean noodles tend to have a powdery spiciness (I don’t know how to describe it), the Thai ones come with that cumulative burn. I can’t handle them after a while though, but the soup base is amazing for an instant ramen – you can even find them at Ralph’s, strangely enough.

    Interesting rock by the way… I’ve always wondered if one day that potato chip rock will snap or something, it just doesn’t look sturdy to me. :(

    1. Hi Ben,

      I can’t believe you know that dumpling brand!! Do you realize how many brands of dumplings are sold at Asian markets? It’s funny that this one is your favorite too. I just quickly looked at the ingredients and you’re right – I don’t see any vegetable proteins. I like this brand b/c the dumpling skin is thicker and has a nice chew to it. I tried Lings Lings from Costco but didn’t like the filling as much (but the dumpling skin was decent). Thanks for admitting you like that brand though (hahaha!).

      I’m going to have to look for that Mama Brand. I can’t believe I can buy it at Ralphs. The soup kinda lost cred after you said that :) I’ve never tried ramen that had the cumulative burn you’re talking about. I’m not a big fan of thai soups but I’ll try this one if you vouch for it. Do you mean the Korean noodles itself has a powdery spiciness or the soup in general has the powdery spiciness?

      Potato chip rock doesn’t look sturdy at all. NY was cracking jokes the entire time saying how it’s going to snap or break off any minute. My mom and sis weren’t too happy with my pics. It really is scary how there’s no WARNING sign or some sort of lifeguard (cliffguard?) manning this thing. I’m too scared to google how many accidents have occurred on Potato Chip :(

      Hey, there’s a $10 off $25 on Living Social today! It’s only until 11:59p (PST) today 12/10/2103 so use it if you can. I used the Promo code RITZ10 and it worked!! (I received an email from them so I think it can be reused).

      Have a good Tues -

      1. If you’re not a fan of that sour factor Thai soups tend to have, you probably won’t enjoy it – it has the flavor of a tom yum soup, so it’s sour, spicy, a little sweet, a little salty, etc. From what I’ve tried, some Korean ramens have this strange burn that feels powdery when you sip the soup. It’s a bit hard to describe, but I find it almost only from Korean food – I think it comes from that red pepper powder/flake they use. It’s the kind of burn that makes me cough, whereas with Thai food, it doesn’t cause me to cough if it’s too spicy.

        I googled accidents at potato chip rock, and they’re actually fairly uncommon (I only looked at page 1), so that’s reassuring.

        I did see that Livingsocial promo! I didn’t buy anything though, because I didn’t really find anything I wanted. :(

        1. Oh thanks for googling that! I thought there would have been a lot more accidents on Potato Chip so that’s comforting to know that the ledge isn’t all that bad (right?!)

          I love soup in general but I’ve always had a hard time with the sour Thai soups for some reason. I don’t know why. I’ve never had a really spicy version of any Thai soup. But I’m still really curious about the Thai brand you recommended b/c I want to see how spicy it actually is.

          That’s a really interesting comparison b/w Thai and Korean spiciness. I know the Korean red pepper powder you’re describing – it doesn’t actually have a taste though right? You have me totally wanting to do a cough test b/w the Korean and Thai spices now!! I don’t think I’ve ever noticed the burn that makes you cough when you eat spicy Korean food – but I haven’t had anything majorly spicy from a Korean restaurant in ages. And all the ramen stuff I tested wasn’t all that spicy.

          That’s a bummer you didn’t find anything more on LS to buy. I tried to find other deals but they all seemed pretty lame. BUT, I did purchase more of the Bottega deal to use as stocking stuffers b/c you vouched for them (they better be good, man). So I made out like a bandit with that extra discount :)

          Have a good Wed – the weather should be warming up this week -

  2. I don’t even know the name of the ramen I usually get, but I like the ones with the fresh noodles. I can’t handle the spice, as you know, so there’s no way I’d try a couple of those haha. I like getting longansia and putting that into my ramen broth with fresh veggies – YUM. I’ll have to look for those dumplings! I haven’t tried very many but I’m curious now. There are SO MANY dumplings at H Mart it’s kind of daunting to know what to pick.

    Cheers to you for going on Potato Chip Rock! I would never go out there… my fear of heights (really, it’s a fear of falling) would prevent me from getting anywhere near that. You had to JUMP to get to it, too? Dear god. Three cheers, extra cheers for you on that one! That other rock though was so funny though… hahah, I’d take a photo of someone kissing that rock, too, and I doubt he’d say to not post it online. :D

    1. Hi Mary,

      I wish I could convince you to try a spicy ramen but I know I won’t succeed! You have to try the FRESH noodle ramen WITH whatever brand of dumplings you can find AND add your longansia (or is it longanisa?) and veggies. That sounds pretty good right about now actually. And yeah, H Mart has a ridiculous selection of dumplings to choose from. I like going every weekend to try out different samples they have available. I’m such a mooch.

      I think you can make it up to Potato Chip but just not actually GET on it. It’s a nice steep hike and it’s not all that scary (until you see the actual Potato Chip ledge and think about falling off of it).

      I’m sure your ‘someone’ would totally kiss the butt rock and let you post it :) I’m so jealous…

  3. Omg I was just thinking of ramen or udon too. And I don’t really like them much…but I do get a craving every once in a while. Im feeling too cheap and lazy right now too lol. It’s like bone chilling cold and hard to go outside unless I really have to lol. But I like the cold a lot better than the heat. I’ve been in bed all day today. Too cold and in pain from a car accident I had the other night. The guy that rear ended me was from SD too.

    Nice pics of you! You look so one with nature lol. I can totally feel your pain of starvation. I’m always starving and starving now as we speak too.

    1. Hi MK,

      I hope you feel better. I’m sorry to hear about the car accident. If it makes you feel better, I was in LA yesterday and the traffic was the worst ever. I’d totally throw over the fence a few ramen packs if we were neighbors. I hope the accident wasn’t too bad.

      Ha, I look so one with nature. Yuck. I got lectured again by my mom yesterday at how stupid and dangerous I was on Potato Chip.

      Feel better ok!? Get something to eat and rest up :)

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