This sought-after limited-edition series is so rare it can’t be purchased in stores.

Just the other day, Nissin announced it would be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Cup Noodle, the world’s first cup noodle, by teaming up with Yaokin for a special range of Umaibo snacks, and people around the nation immediately lit up with excitement.

Umaibo, which translates to “Delicious Stick“, is a crunchy rod of puffed corn that’s been tantalising the taste buds of children and adults since it first debuted on the market in 1979. Priced at 10 yen (US$0.09) for the past 42 years, these tasty snacks come in a wide variety of flavours, but this is the first time for them to feature the taste of Cup Noodles.

▼ There are eight instant noodle flavours in the new lineup.

Unlike regular Umaibo, which are sold at supermarkets and convenience stores everywhere, this special range is a lot harder to get. The only two ways you can get your hands on these is to either:

1. Visit Family Mart (from 31 August to 13 September 2021)

Every time you purchase two Cup Noodles, you’ll receive two Cup Noodle Umaibo, randomly selected by staff


2. Visit the Nissin online store (From 11:00 a.m. on 6 September until 11:59 p.m. on 12 September 2021)

Every time you purchase one regular-sized Cup Noodle, you’ll receive one Cup Noodle Umaibo, randomly selected

Either way, it’s not possible to choose the flavour you want, which makes it incredibly difficult to procure the entire collection, no matter how many times you make a purchase. And to make things even more difficult, the online store will be limited to only 3,000 Cup Noodle Umaibo.

Luckily for us, Nissin knows all about our unhealthy obsession with their products, so they sent us a box containing two of each new flavour, without us even having to ask for them. This was like a dream come true for us, so we immediately huddled together for a game of rock, paper, scissors to determine who would be the lucky one to taste-test them, and our noodle-loving reporter P.K. Sanjun came out triumphant.

P.K. grew up on a diet of Cup Noodles and Umaibo, so he was more than qualified for the task ahead, tasting each stick with care and ranking them in terms of deliciousness from 8th to first place.

▼ 8th place: Curry

Cup Noodle’s mild and sweet curry flavour has been replicated pretty well here, but seeing as chicken curry is already a standard flavour of Umaibo, there wasn’t anything that stood out to impress P.K. in the wow department.

▼ 7th place: Chilli Tomato

This is P.K.’s favourite Cup Noodle flavour, so he was expecting big things from this one, but surprisingly, it didn’t capture the flavour of of his beloved Chilli Tomato noodles at all. In fact, it tasted more like the mentai (Alaskan pollack roe) flavour of Umaibo, which is part of their standard range.

▼ 6th place: Tonkotsu (spicy pork bone broth with Chinese pepper)

Another disappointment, P.K. says this one tasted like a mentai Umaibo as well, although not as much as the Chilli Tomato. While it wasn’t to P.K.’s taste, mentai lovers would probably be pretty satisfied with these.

▼ 5th place: Sio

The Sio (salt) Cup Noodle is known for its salty and smoky olive oil flavour, and this Umaibo does a really good job of replicating the taste. However, P.K. couldn’t help but notice it tasted a bit like the standard salami-flavoured Umaibo.

▼ 4th place: Miso

This Cup Noodle contains a steaming miso with a touch of garlic and ginger, and that’s exactly what P.K. tasted here, only with a crunchy snack-like twist. This was the first one he couldn’t liken to any of the Umaibo already on the market.

▼ 3rd place: European-Style Cheese Curry

P.K. was amazed at the proper cheese and curry flavours here, and although there’s already a cheese flavour in the regular Umaibo lineup, this one tasted totally different. The flavours were amazing and P.K. highly recommends trying this one if you ever get the chance.

▼ 2nd place: Seafood

Seafood lovers will fall head over heels for this delightful variety, which perfectly replicates the rich flavours of the Seafood Cup Noodle. If you love seafood, you’ll want to catch this one!

▼ 1st place: Cup noodle (original soy sauce flavour)

The only word P.K could utter when he tried this was “amazing”. It tasted exactly like a Cup Noodle! This was the hands-down winner out of the whole collection, with no other variety coming close to it in terms of deliciousness and flavour replication.

Regardless of which one you get, though, this is a super rare collection so any one of these is sure to put a grin on your face. And if you’re a diehard fan, you’ll want to keep an eye on Nissin’s official online store, as there’s a hush-hush third option for snaring them — they’ll be releasing a special Cup Noodle 50th Anniversary Complete Set in mid-September, which will contain all eight Cup Noodle varieties and their matching Umaibos.

If you’re lucky, you may just be able to build a house out of them!

Related: Nissin Foods
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