You know upscale ramen has become mainstream when Walmart gets in on the game.
I grew up eating the inexpensive packaged ramen noodles that you can buy everywhere, but I was surprised to recently find a $9.48 bag of frozen fancy ramen at the country’s largest grocer.
Although Kroger is the largest dedicated supermarket chain, Walmart easily sells the most groceries in the country. About 25 percent of Americans buy their groceries at Walmart, so it’s relevant to overall grocery trends when a product like this hits their shelves.
In fact, I haven’t seen a ramen product like this on the market.
Retailing at just a few cents shy of $10 for two servings, it’s a meal kit with a bag of frozen broth concentrate, a small bag of frozen cooked chicken and four “nests” of noodles. After thawing the broth, you add it to a pot with 2 1/2 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Add the chicken and the noodles and heat again until everything is warm, which took a little longer than the two minutes described on the package.
I ended up making some soft-boiled eggs in my multi-cooker while the ramen finished on the stove, and I was surprised by how intensely flavored the broth is and how many noodles came in the package. Some reviewers online have said that the broth is too salty, but you can always add more liquid to thin it out. With a few dumplings on the side, you could easily feed four people with this kit.
My ramen-loving son wasn’t a huge fan of the flavors, but he tends to like the everyday ramen seasoning. But I loved seeing onions and herbs floating around the dark, thick soup. The noodles had just the right bite to them, and the chicken didn’t have any “off” tastes. In fact, the ramen was so good that I’m having the leftovers for lunch today and livestreaming a few more thoughts on why a product like this caught my eye.
Join me for the livestream at noon at facebook.com/austin360.