Instant rice from the inventors of Cup Noodles06 March, 2012 by Chad
A couple years ago, Nissin, the company which founded both Instant and Cup Noodles introduced this new item to their lineup. Nissin’s Cup Noodle Gohan (Cup Noodle Rice) is instant rice flavored after the company’s staple cup noodle flavors in Japan. Instant noodles is not something one would opt to eat given a choice but cup noodle flavored rice?
It turns out that instant rice isn’t something particularly new, others have done it before and had probably marketed it in a more appetizing way too. But I stumbled upon the Cup Noodle Gohan for sale at Donki and for the sake of appeasing curiosity decided to grab one to try. The Cup Noodle Rice comes in Seafood and “Cup Noodle” (an actual flavor for Nissin Cup Noodles in Japan) flavors.
Opening up the contents, there are three sachets inside: one containing the rice, another for ingredients and a final oily sauce to be added later. I was told horror stories from a friend about instant rice and how it resembles mush. But the one here contained actual rice, just dehydrated and packed under the Nissin branding.
To prepare the rice, you just fill up the cup to the marked water level then toss both the rice and ingredients into the cup, mixing it up for good measure. Truth is, I had bought this with the intention of trying it out over when I was in Japan. But in a moment of folly, hadn’t realized that it required cooking after all. I had presumed it was mush but as it wasn’t, the Cup Noodle Rice requires about 5 minutes of cooking in a microwave, which our hotel room did not have.
I wasn’t expecting much but the rice turned out to be pretty good. And this coming from an Asian is the highest compliment possible. Naturally, plump short grained Japanese rice is used here which means that it’s already tastier than most, even when re-hydrated. And the seafood flavoring seeps surprisingly really well into the rice too. The result is that this cup of instant rice is actually more enjoyable than some of the paella I’ve had in Singapore.
Perhaps my only complain is how underwhelming the serving is, especially when considering the price. The suggested retail price for each pack of Nissin Cup Noodle Rice is 250 yen, but it is sold in stores for slightly less at about 200 yen. This still works out to about $3 to $4 a cup. In comparison, Nissin’s cup noodles cost between 120 yen (for the regular cups) to 160 yen (for their BIG cups).
I would think that for most, if you’ve already resorted to cup noodles then taste would come secondary to satisfying one’s hunger, something that the Cup Noodle Rice doesn’t do very well. From the pictures above, you can see that the rice hardly exceeds the water level, even when cooked.
Yet surely, there is a market for Cup Noodle Rice. In fact, yesterday Nissin released a new lineup of instant rice called GoFan. GoFan introduces three new flavors of instant rice, named after more appetizing international cuisine. They are Gomoku Chahan (Mixed Fried Rice/五目チャーハン), Spicy Jambalaya (スパイシージャンバラヤ) and Seafood Paella (シーフードパエリア). More information at the Official Nissin website.
Supermerlion's Webmaster and Editor-in-Chief. Singaporean Nikkeijin with over 12 years of experience in the media industry. Producer at a Japanese entertainment company. Former Web Developer, Graphic Designer, Multimedia Programmer, Manager and Consultant. Shoots with a Canon 5Dmk2 and Sony RX100-2.