01/14/13 12:19pm

Nongshim Black: Ramyun Gangnam Style

If he of the horsey dance approves it's got to be good. Or does it?

If he of the horsey dance approves it’s got to be good. Or does it?

Recently while doing a food tour of downtown Flushing I did a double-take outside Good Fortune Supermarket. Staring down from a billboard was Korean pop sensation Psy, lending his celebrity to Shin Ramyun Black Premium Noodle Soup. I made a mental note of this  decidedly odd product, after all who ever heard of premium instant soup? A few days later I was back in Flushing with a head cold and bought a family pack of four for $5.99. Not such a bad deal for a product that bears the designation “black label.” When I got home I plunked down the bale of Psy-approved ramyun, took some cold medicine, and went to sleep.

The next morning I awoke still groggy from the cold medicine and decided to cook up some of the fancy-pants instant ramen, or ramyun as the Koreans call it. Inside the package was a block of dried noodles that looked no different than any other I’ve seen. There were also three packets: sul-long tang soup base, a spicy soup base, and one labeled “beef & vegetable mix.”  I was particularly intrigued by the sul-long-tang packet, which had a picture of beef marrow bones and garlic cloves.

After about five minutes the soup was ready. The first thing I noticed was a more complex aroma wafting from the steam than usually emanates from instant ramen.  Slightly fishy and beefy, it smelled like something that might have come from a Korean restaurant. The noodles themselves were springy and slurpworthy. Best of all, the broth was surprisingly tasty and full of all sorts of freeze-dried goodies, including chili pepper, garlic, mushroom, even tiny bits of beef. Speaking of beef, beef bone extract, beef extract, and beef fat figure in the ingredients.

While not as enthusiastic as Psy about this ramen, it did certainly help clear my head. And, no it did not make me want to dance around like a Korean cowboy. Want to try it and can’t get to Flushing? Just head to an Asian supermarket; most carry a full line of Nongshim noodles.

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