Two companies from two nations team up to create Nomu Fururu Reimen.

A heat wave recently descended on Tokyo, sending our crack reporter Mr. Sato in search of thirst-quenching refreshment. Thankfully, this is Japan, where you’re never too far away from a vending machine stocked with all sorts of chilled drinks, and sure enough, there was one waiting for Mr. Sato on the platform of Ogikubo Station on the Marunouchi subway line.

Whenever you come across a vending machine in Japan, it’s a good idea to scan the selection to see if anything new has come out, since Japanese beverage makers are always shuffling in new products. Most of this machine’s stock was pretty standard stuff, Oi Oicha green tea, Pocari Sweat sports drinks, peach-flavored soda, drinkable cold ramen…

Hold on, drinkable cold ramen?!?!?

Yep! Mixed in with the more pedestrian options was a can of Nomu Fururu Reimen. Nomu here translates as “drinkable,” fururu as “slurp [noodles],” and reimen is a type of cold ramen popular in the summer months.

For 150 yen (US$1.10), this was an innovation Mr. Sato couldn’t pass up, so he quickly tossed his coins into the machine, hit the button, and retrieved his crisply chilled can.

You’re meant to pop the can’s top and drink directly from it, but Mr. Sato didn’t just want to know how Nomu Fururu Reimen tastes, he wanted to know how it looks too. To satisfy his curiosity, he brought the can to SoraNews24 HQ and grabbed a glass from the cupboard.

We should note (and the can does too), that Nomu Fururu Reimen contains no actual noodles or toppings. Instead, it’s classified as a soup, basically a can of broth to be drunk on its own. Because of that, once it’s poured into a glass it looks a lot like a glass of opaque orange or pineapple juice. Mr, Sato briefly considered offering the glass to one of his coworkers without telling them what was inside just to see their shocked reaction,

But that would mean he wouldn’t get to drink the Nomu Fururu Reimen himself, so he quickly discarded that plan. Before the taste test, though, he decided to give the drink a smell test, and found the bouquet to consist of faint sour notes and a noticeable aroma of kimchi.

That’s because Nomu Fururu Reimen is a joint project between Japanese beverage company Ito En and Korean noodle producer Nongshim, which bills itself as “Korea’s number-one spicy ramen maker.”

So how does Nomu Fururu Reimen taste?

Just like it smells! While it takes a second for the flavor to fully kick in, the major players from the ingredient list are the kimchi extract and “liquid kimchi.” Before long, the spice from them felt like here was a little boxer inside Mr. Sato’s mouth, peppering his tongue with sharp jabs.

Ultimately, though, this is meant to be a refreshing drink, and so instead of staying on your tongue long-term, the spice comes to a surprisingly quick finish, all the better to set your taste receptors up for the next round on your next sip. Not being the biggest spice lover, it was all a bit too intense for Mr. Sato, but if you’re someone whose palate always feels like spice is nice, the cold fire of Nomu Fururu Reimen might be just what you’re looking for.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]