itomen banshu ramen
The lovely and gourmet-looking packaging lured me in. Wow! Deluxe noodles, exquisite shoyu…even the salt is special! How could I possibly pass this up! There’re special ingredients galore: large chunks of lightly grilled onions, miniature shrimp (yes! shrimp!), shiitake mushrooms! Visions of instant ramen nirvana floated through my head…
itomen banshu ramen
I slowly poured the boiling water in excitement, being extra careful to fill the bowl exactly to the indented waterline. I impatiently counted out exactly 180 seconds (3 minutes for those of you patient enough to count in minutes, not seconds)…
(yes, I’m actually going to make you click on “more” to read the rest of this review, because that’s the kind of person I am!)

itomen banshu ramen
I slowly lifted the lid in eager anticipation…hmm…take a closer look at the thin curly noodles? Do they look familiar? Well if you’ve ever had Chinese instant noodles, they should, because this is what it tasted like:
tung-i instant noodles

Not that there’s anything wrong with Tung-i instant noodles (which happens to be one of the mainstays of my instant noodle diet) but come on! These are supposed to be fancy noodles! They shouldn’t have the exact taste and texture of 3-for-a-dollar instant noodles!

Did the soup save it, the fancy soup with the fancy shoyu and the fancy salt? Sorry. It’s just so-so shoyu with nothing more to it. The few bites of shrimp add some flavor to it, and the sight of the slightly carmelized onions was nice, but in the end, cool, exotic ingredients just couldn’t save this mediocre ramen. It gets a 6 (+1 for effort) overall.

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