Ippudo’s new “pollack roe-flavored pickled mustard greens cup rice” recently landed on shelves at 7-Eleven Japan.

On December 20, 7-Eleven stores across Japan began selling Ippudo’s mentai (pollack roe) flavored takana (Japanese pickled mustard greens; a common addition to fried rice) instant cup rice. Ippudo is a famous chain of Hakata-style tonkotsu ramen with restaurant locations around the world, so it seems like an unusual move for them to release cup rice. We were beyond curious as to what it would taste like and had to try it for ourselves.

▼ 278 yen (US$2.09) each

At 74 grams (2.61 ounces), each cup may not be quite big enough to fill up all stomachs, which is why a graphic on the front recommends eating it together with something else…namely, Ippudo’s cup ramen, also sold at 7-Eleven for 300 yen. Well played, Ippudo, well played. Of course we had to go along with that recommendation, so we walked home with two cups in our bag.

When preparing your food, make sure to adjust your timer accordingly because the cup rice should sit in hot water for five minutes while the cup ramen should sit for only three minutes.

After that, just empty the contents of the attached oil and seasoning packet into the cup rice and mix well.

We followed the instructions carefully and soon enough they were both ready to eat. We decided to sample the rice first since it’s a new product.

The cooked cup rice was reminiscent of nekomanma, which is a simple bowl of cooked rice with bonito flakes or other toppings. But this Ippudo version wasn’t quite that simple. It had a unique sweet-saltiness to it as a result of the soy-based sauce which paired well with its overall spiciness.

A single bite also held the right amount of zing–enough to make you feel just on the verge of sweating, but still suitable for all palates. The grilled pork pieces and pollack roe added lovely accents to the overall taste.

So how was Ippudo’s recommendation to pair it with the ramen? To be honest, we were skeptical that anything other than white rice would go well with tonkotsu ramen. But it turned out that eating them side by side was only the first part. A closer inspection of the packaging also revealed one further step:

▼ “Add some Ippudo cup noodle soup to the rice and it’s two times as delicious! (Please add it after it’s cooked)”

We couldn’t leave a provocative statement like that alone without testing it for ourselves, so we cautiously began ladling in small spoonfuls of the cup noodle broth into the cup rice.

Mixing different foods seems like an almost childlike thing to do, but it turned out to be delicious. Even though the grains of rice became looser in the extra liquid, the soup added an extra kick to the spiciness of the rice.

All in all, eating the two cup foods together was a win in our book. It left us feeling full and fully satisfied. Those who are light eaters would probably be fine with just the cup rice alone, but otherwise we recommend buying the two of them at your local 7-Eleven. Think of it like being able to eat an Ippudo set meal conveniently whenever you want in the cold winter.

By the way, here’s a pro tip: if you need more Ippudo broth to mix into your cup rice, it’s a good thing that it’s only one of the hottest vending machine drinks of the past year.

Reference: 7-Eleven Japan
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