Could Nissin’s new instant ramen ever match the black-as-night colour of our souls?

A couple of weeks ago, we brought you the announcement that there would be a new addition to the Cup Noodle Big line: the Squid Ink Black Seafood Cup Noodle. Finally, after a long wait with camera and taste buds at the ready, it has arrived.

We managed to get our hands on a cup from the manufacturer, Nissin, to try out. They promised us “The deliciousness and pitch-black colour of squid ink with your Seafood Cup Noodle”. While promotional photographs always look appetising, would the real thing be quite that black, and would it even taste good?

Upon opening the foil lid, it appeared much like the standard Seafood Cup Noodle, and while that’s no bad thing, it would take more to impress us instant-snack connoisseurs.

The squid ink paste comes in a separate sachet so you can add to taste, or colour, preference?

We proceeded with caution, adding just a few drops of the thick, viscous black liquid.

Give it a quick mix, and… Waaagh, black as black can be!

We have to admit, the colour lives up to the hype. The effect of looking at a seafood-smelling black hole in Cup Noodle-form was slightly off-putting, but the real question was, how would it taste?

While the restaurant-made black ramen we tried in Kyoto had a clean, refreshing taste, how much would the seafood flavour Cup Noodle fans, like us, know and love be altered by the ink paste?

The answer: very little. In a blind taste test, we’re not sure we’d be able to tell it apart from the usual Seafood Cup Noodle variety. But why would you blindfold yourself? The enjoyment of the snack is to rebel against your body’s instincts that tell you black is not a colour you should be eating, and revel in the darkness.

The Squid Ink Black Seafood Cup Noodle went on sale yesterday July 31, and is available at supermarkets and convenience stores for 205 yen (US$1.85). Between this and the release of the instant-ramenification of Michelin-star winning Dandan noodles earlier this year, its good to know that previously oft-derided instant ramen is getting the gourmet treatment, providing us with a touch of class in just the time it takes to boil a kettle.

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