One little bag of ramen could be enough to change his life forever.

You may know our Japanese-language reporter Seiji Nakazawa best as our otaku reporter, but the truth is, there’s so much more to Seiji than how much he loves anime. He also loves food, for example, and is a talented guitarist and Yngwie Malmsteen impersonator. And did you know that he has almost never eaten instant ramen out of a bag before?

Shocking, I know, for a Japanese native. In his 38 years on this earth, Seiji has eaten plenty of cup ramen, but regretfully not the kind of ramen that you have to actually take out of the bag and boil in water. Maybe once or twice…but not often enough to remember it. That’s why he’s decided to embark on a journey of exploring different bagged ramen options…starting with an Osaka-based brand that he, as a Kansai native, really should have eaten at some point in his life: House Food Group’s Umakacchan ramen.

Umakacchan is sold in packs of five for 450 yen (US$4.14), which comes to about 90 yen per package. In order to get the best eating experience possible, Seiji determined to follow the instructions to a T, including setting a timer exactly for the recommended three minutes of boiling time.

After so many years of simply seeing it packaged on a shelf, Seiji was now, for the first time, coming face to face with the cooked version of Umakacchan. It was…

Kind of unremarkable, actually. Honestly, it looked kind of sad to him. There were no vegetables or toppings, just noodles and broth. It looked the like kind of meal a starving student living in a tiny, empty studio apartment would eat.

He also thought he had a pretty good idea of what it was going to taste like. It couldn’t be that different from Nissin’s Chicken Ramen or Cup Noodle, right? Actually…now that Seiji thought about it, he realized he’d only ever eaten those two types of instant ramen, plus UFO instant yakisoba. “What’s wrong with me?!” he exclaimed.

But now was not the time for a personal crisis; if he didn’t eat the ramen now, it would get cold. So he dug into the noodles and slurped them up…

▼ “Woah…it’s good!”

It was so good he almost ate it too fast. Compared to Chicken Ramen and Cup Noodle, the firmness of the noodles was much, much better. The soup was also creamier, and almost tasted like restaurant quality tonkotsu pork bone broth (though to be fair, Seiji has really only ever eaten tonkotsu ramen at ramen chain Hakata Furyu…oh, Seiji).

And one packet only costs 90 yen! He should have eaten this when he was going through that one rough patch in life when he was jobless and eating 90-yen blocks of tofu for dinner. Why didn’t anyone tell him about Umakacchan?!

Until now, Seiji had lived his life believing that Chicken Ramen was the best instant ramen. But then he met Umakacchan. To say that it changed his life is no exaggeration.

Seriously, if you haven’t tried it yet, you simply must.

Photos © SoraNews24
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