Our reporter experiments…and learns the importance of not throwing your ramen broth down the sink

What do you do with your leftover ramen broth? If you’re not someone who always finishes it off–and you probably shouldn’t, what with the outrageous levels of sodium in it–then you probably just dump it, right? In Japan, most people dispose of their broth simply by dumping it down the sink or flushing it down the toilet.

That’s why Nissin’s newly released Cup Noodle Broth Hardening Powder became such a hot topic recently. Meant to solidify the broth that’s left over after you finish eating your cup noodles, this specially made powder had Japanese netizens abuzz, but mostly because many wondered, what’s the point?

Our Japanese-language reporter P.K. Sanjun was definitely someone who thought it was a gimmick product from Nissin. He couldn’t tell why anyone would bother with this product, when there were already two perfectly good ways to dispose of your ramen broth. In the office recently, as P.K. was examining a newly obtained package of Broth Hardening Powder, which he intended to try for journalism’s sake, he mumbled, “Who needs this?”

That’s when fellow reporter Ikuna Kamezawa chimed in.

“Is there anything more sad than seeing cup noodle dredges lying discarded on the side of the road? Even knowing it’s not recommended, I always quietly flush mine down the toilet, or try really hard to drink it all…I always feel bad…

But if a product like this became available for everyone, we would be able to eat cup noodles anywhere. I want to be the kind of person who quietly takes a packet out and sprinkles it in when I finish eating cup noodles in a park. I seriously hope they make this a regular product.”

Ikuna made a good point. The Tokyo Bureau of Sewerage, in fact, sincerely wants people to stop flushing their leftover broth down the drain, because ramen broth has a good deal of oil in it. While you may know not to pour oil that you’ve used for cooking into the sink, since it has the potential to harden and clog the pipes, did you know that even the small amounts of oil in ramen broth could add up to a clog if everyone is throwing their leftover broth down the drain?

While P.K. may not quite be as conscientious as Ikuna, her words made him recognize that there are people who worry about what their ramen broth could be doing to the plumbing, and it gave him pause to think that maybe he, too, should be considering the effects of his own leftover broth.

With a renewed interest and purpose, P.K. set out to try the powder himself. The instructions say to pour the powder into the broth, and stir for 10 seconds. But is it really that quick, and does it really work? He began conducting a very scientific experiment.

The first step was to eat some cup noodles.

▼ Easily the most enjoyable step in the process.

Once the noodles were safely ensconced in P.K.’s belly, it was time for step two: pour in the powder.

Next was step three, the final step: mix.

(It should be noted that in this experiment, the temperature of P.K.’s leftover broth at the time of powder application was recorded at the very specific temperature of “decently hot.” It’s unclear whether temperature makes a difference or not to the effectiveness of the powder, but let the record show that the following are the results of mixing the powder with “decently hot” broth. )

It immediately started to become lumpy

And before long, it had solidified!

In just seven seconds, which is shorter than the suggested time on the packaging, the liquid had completely disappeared. Amazing! It was so much easier than using, for example, oil hardening solutions, which often need to be simmered at a low temperature and slowly stirred. This powder does it in almost an instant!

▼ Catch the powder in action (and watch P.K.’s candid reaction) in this video:

The resulting solidified solution, by the way, had a grainy, soft texture similar to that of soy pulp, and it smelled slightly floral and of chemicals. Even so, it’s safe to throw away in burnable trash together with the cup.

▼ The powder is designed for food disposal and is not fit for human consumption

P.K. was inspired. When he hadn’t thought it was a worthwhile product before, now he felt moved to help protect the plumbing of the good city of Tokyo, especially since he now had such an easy, guilt-free way to throw away the broth. “It’s great!” he said with a confident thumbs up. He resolved to use the powder with every cup if it becomes regularly available.

Nissin is currently holding a promotion in which they are providing one free package of Cup Noodle Broth Hardening Powder with every serving of Cup Noodle purchased on their online shop. If demand for them grows, maybe they’ll start including them with all individual Cup Noodle bowls in the future! But if you can’t get your hands on the powder or you have ramen broth from another brand left over, fear not; you can also repurpose your leftover ramen broth to cook rice or make chawanmushi. P.K. only asks that you try not to throw it down the drain!

Photos © SoraNews24
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