South Korean thriller Parasite from director Bong Joon-Ho made history by being the first foreign language film to win Best Picture at this year's Oscar ceremony! This thrilling, yet often hilarious, tale of class disparities left me gasping for air... and craving noodles! Specifically jjapaguri... a combination of Nongshim's Chapagetti and Neoguri instant noodles, elevated to a higher level with the addition of seared steak.

Setting the Scene: On their drive back from a camping trip, wealthy Mrs. Park calls her poor housekeeper, Mrs. Kim, and requests that she prepare a bowl of “ram-don” for her young son by the time they arrive home. Sounds pretty simple, but what happens next is a frenzy of sizzling steak and searing satire. I won't give away any spoilers of this cinematic masterpiece, but I will walk you through how to make a bowl of these delicious noodles.

The ingredients needed are one package each of Nongshim Chapagetti and Neoguri instant noodles, 6 to 8 ounces of sirloin steak, tablespoon of oil, salt and pepper.

Prepare the sirloin by cutting into 1 inch cubes, pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the steak and cook for 3 to 5 minutes on both sides. Set aside.

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add both types of noodles to the boiling water along with the packages of dried flakes from both (do not add the seasoning packets yet) and cook until just-tender.

Strain the noodles, reserving 4 to 5 tablespoons of the starchy water. Return noodles to the pot over low heat and add the Chapagetti seasoning, half of the Neoguri seasoning, and the 4 to 5 tablespoons of reserved noodle water. Stir until the seasonings are well blended and the sauce thickens.

Add the cooked steak to the noodles. Stir and serve!

Simple, savory, complex... make a bowl and watch Parasite tonight!

-David Lynn

Okay... it's 2 o'clock in the morning and you just got home from work or maybe a night on the town (this is a no-judgment zone)! Either way, if you're like me, you just want to slurp up a hot bowl of ramen before tucking in. My cupboard is typically stocked with oodles of noodles, but last time browsing the aisles at Pacific Rim Foods, a particular brand was calling me...

The first thing you'll notice about Itsuki brand ramen is the tall packaging, which includes long, straight dried noodles, powdered soup base and a packet of oil. These noodles were fantastic! I seriously only boiled them for a minute, took them off the heat, stirred in the powdered soup base and poured on the oil. The advantage of the dried noodles was clearly evident... clean taste and texture, as well as fewer calories.

The powdered soup base presented a pleasant surprise... an umami rich, creamy pork bone-style soup accented with soy, miso, scallions and spices! Definitely one of the better instant bases I've tried. After preparing the ramen, I added an over-easy egg, a sprinkling of roasted sesame seeds, a big pinch of scallions, and a dash of chili oil!

Not too bad for only taking 3 minutes to prepare and much more satisfying than just pouring boiling water into a noodle bowl and watching the clock slowly count down for 5 minutes! Itsuki offers several varieties of instant ramens which will definitely cure your late night cravings!

-David Lynn

I'm on my 4th case, yes, you heard it right... 4 cases in a roll with this thing... 2 ramen every night, almost every night. It all started with my son eating it for snack after school, and with me eating the leftovers; slowly worked my way up to eating 3 at a time all by myself.

It's hard to describe flavor, but it's easy to describe cravings. I crave this flavor combo every night around 11. The flavoring packet have 5 components; sweet soy sauce, chili sauce, a flavoring oil, seasoning powder, and fried shallots. A lot, for a ramen this size and price range, at $0.49 each, seriously how can you not try one? The slight sweetness of the sweet soy sauce and the crunchy bits of the fried shallots, the magic of those powder and oil seasonings, and of course the over-easy egg really improved the overall flavor as well.

All you need is a pot of boiling water to cook the noodle for 2-3 minutes, then dump all the water and mix the sauce and powder. The flavor is positively retro, it's what ramen tasted like when I was a kid, rich flavor, chewy noodle, and an unbelievably dumb packaging to get your hands greasy when you open the the oil pack... (yes, I'm talking to you Indomie, seal the flavoring pack at a different side! So we could peel the package open without losing any flavors on our hands!)

And the amount of options that come with the brand is just immense; Curry Chicken, Onion Chicken, Special Chicken, BBQ Chicken (they're really stretching the chicken line...) Beef & Lime, Hot & Spicy, Satay, and the flavors go on...

Until next time. :D



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