-･- From My Everyday Life to Japanese Culture -･- Why don't you see the real Japan, not the typical foreigners' version.
The other day in a TV show, this frozen “miso-nikomi-udon (味噌煮込みうどん)” received high praise from people who consider themselves gourmets. It’s one of products of a food company, Kinrei Corporation (株式会社キンレイ) that makes noodle for business and domestic use, and also runs restaurant chains. The company has released 28 kinds of frosted noodle for domestic use, and we can easily find them in the frozen food section of convenience stores and supermarkets.
Miso-nikomi-udon is udon noodles (a type of thick wheat-flour noodle) simmered in miso-based soup and is usually served in an earthware pot. It's a local speciality in Nagoya area in Japan.
I've had some of the company’s products before (they were OK), but hadn’t miso-nikomi-udon yet.
You know, never believe what you hear from TV naively. Especially in gourmet reports, there are some complications: forced comments along with scenarios, thoughtfulness for restaurants and a reporter’s sense of taste.
So, I tried it.
It’s prepared frozen food, and we defrost it using the stove or electric cooker, not microwave.
First, heat it over low heat for 2 – 3 minutes, and then turn the heat to medium.
Simmer it until it’s boiling. Done! (Be careful not to scorch.)
How was the taste?
It tasted quite good.
I particularly liked its miso-based soup. It was tasty hacho-miso (八丁味, red soy bean paste made in Okazaki, Nagoya) soup. Udon and topping were OK.
Obviously, it have no chance against an established restaurant in Nagoya or a prestige restaurant in Tokyo, but even if I’m served it at a noodle shop at the corner of a street, I would feel its soup delicious.
If a skilled cook prepares a meal for a customer in his or her kitchen using good cooking ingredients, it’s not surprising the meal is delicious.
Considering it’s a mass-produced frozen meal and costs less than 400yen ($ 4 .5), I’d say Kinrei’s miso-nikomi-udon is worthy of praise. I think it needed corporate efforts to develop the product under constraints.
It’s a just a frozen meal in a refrigeration case, but it tells an important thing for us. This kind of efforts have (had?) been associated with Japan's international competitiveness.