This ready-made, microwavable ramen comes close to something you can get in a restaurant!

If you’ve ever been to Japan, you’ll know that convenience store food is actually pretty good. In fact, here at SoraNews24, we regularly hold taste rallies to find out which one makes the best of each kind of food. For example, we recently learned, after extensive taste testing, that 7-Eleven’s curry bread is the best.

7-Eleven, to their credit, makes a point of improving the recipes of their food fairly regularly, which might be why they seem to maintain a high level of quality for all of their prepackaged and fresh meals. In fact, they’ve just revitalized their ready-made microwave pork ramen. Being ramen aficionados, among many things, meant that we had to try it, and man…it’s really good.

The Third-Generation Pork Ramen, which is inspired by the recipes of the Chiba-based ramen shop Chuka Soba Tomita, is actually, as you might guess from its name, the third iteration of 7-Eleven’s pork ramen. As avid ramen fans and lovers of conbini food, we remember well the first two versions. The original had noodles with a consistency that was a bit too much like udon to satisfy our ramen cravings. The second iteration was like a combination of Chinese-style noodles and udon, and was a bit better in terms of texture, but still not quite up to par.

The third version, however, is much more to our liking! The noodles in Pork Ramen 3.0 are closer to proper ramen noodles. According to 7-Eleven, they’ve increased the quantity of high gluten flour in the recipe, making them much firmer and chewier.

Of course, you can’t have good ramen without good broth, and we were greatly looking forward to testing the flavor of Pork Ramen III. Apparently, for this recipe they’d used a lot more fatty pork back meat, making the soup more oily and, by default, delicious. They also added chunks of fatty pork back as a topping, much to our delight.

One taste of the thick, emulsified soup was enough to have us hooked. The garlic hit us like a punch to the mouth, and together with the thick, oily pork back soy sauce base, it provided the perfect balance for a delicious broth. We don’t know whether we should be impressed with 7-Eleven or with Chuka Soba Tomita, but either way, we’re impressed.

This ramen didn’t even feel like a junky comfort food to us, as some ramen does. It had a potent flavor, but the aftertaste was surprisingly mild. This might differ depending on your personal preferences, but this ramen broth didn’t feel like it was made of MSG and oil, like you’d find at some of the restaurants that “inspire” instant recipes. It felt almost homemade, and hade a really high degree of perfection.

One can’t deny that a common problem with microwave ramen is that the vegetables and chashu pork strips can get dry when heated up. However, with this particular bowl all we had to do to fix that was give the bowl a good stir, to immerse them in the broth and let them moisten up again. It also helped the pork get nice and tender, too, so we highly recommend you do so if you choose to eat this ramen.

So as you can see, we really had no complaints about 7-Eleven’s newly re-released pork ramen. If we  had to nitpick and choose one thing to complain about, it might be the price. This bowl of microwave ramen is 594 yen (US$5.68), and to be honest, that’s close to the price of a bowl of ramen at a restaurant. You could pay 100 yen more and get something fresh and hot, so if value is what you’re looking for, you may not find it here.

But for the convenience…you can’t get better than this. This superior microwavable ramen is consistently available 24 hour a day…and there are 7-Elevens everywhere. For the privilege of being able to eat delicious ramen whenever we want without traveling too far from home or work, we’re happy to pay 594 yen.

The Third-Generation Pork Ramen is currently available throughout the country, except, for some reason, in Niigata, Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui, and Okinawa Prefectures. But those places all have their own delicious ramen, so if you happen to live in one of those prefectures, don’t feel too bad!

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