Several weeks ago I perused the the Big C in Hue with its immense, entire aisle devoted to the ramen arts. And when I say an entire aisle, I mean floor to ceiling ramen. Never before in one place have I seen such a collection of sodium, MSG and fried noodles. Kidneys implode and hearts seize just walking past all this mess. I have been saving this one for week and curiosity finally got the better of me.
I don’t like ramen. I have never eaten ramen by choice. I don’t want that stuff near me and will push it away if served. Even in college I eschewed that crap in favor of regular spaghetti. It’s just nastiness in a bag. Let’s think about the concept here. We have a solid block of fried noodles that loosen into rubbery strands upon contact with hot water. A tin foil pouch holds a powder chock full of manmade chemicals. Clear plastic pouches usually contain an oil and freeze dried vegetables and meats. Just damn.
A fellow has been rating ramen for ten years now at ramenrater.wordpress.com. More power to Hans for being able to eat this stuff daily, but I have to wonder if a decade of this stuff has completely shellacked his insides. Now I am not trying to steal his thunder by introducing a meal of ramen to this food journey. But since an entire aisle of this stuff had stared me down, I figured this must be a highly important component of the Vietnamese food pyramid. I didn’t even know where to begin in making a selection.
Kim chee, pork, spicy beef, regular beef, fried beef, and more lurked inside mountains of tiny plastic bags. I love how the pictures feature some gourmet looking soup with real animal parts and vegetables. No doubt these are serving suggestions and in no way bastions of truth in advertising. I finally found my poison, I mean lunch, about midway down this truly mind blowing display.
I chose a variety called mi lau tom hai vi for no other reason than a red shrimp cradled between two black chopsticks was forcefully crapping strands of noodles out of its bunghole. I mean what marketing genius came up with this brilliant idea? I should not be so sarcastic actually for evidently it worked. Yes, I bought this foolishness based solely on this brazen picture of yellow noodles pouring out of some boiled shrimp’s butt.
And this tasted much how I would imagine something out of a shrimp’s butthole. I can’t place the taste but it is chemically and strange. When I dumped the powder out of the bag I could just see that MSG shimmering in the light and it actually looks like tiny glass shards. I can’t believe how bad for health this stuff is yet people eat it.
I took a few sips of the broth and could go no further. The noodles were spongy and bland. The brand is called Oh! Ngon which means Oh Good. I say oh hell no. Sorry Hans. I just don’t share the same enthusiasm as you.
P.S. I let the bowl sit for about an hour as I ran some errands and this turned into a science experiment. I came home and the noodles had absorbed most of the water and became sodium and MSG logged strands of grotesque fatness. Just imagine what they would do inside the human body if my ceramic petri dish is any indication.