We try it to find out!

Have you heard the word?! Cup Noodle Mystery Meat now comes in a box. That’s right, the mysterious meat-like substance of unknown composition that comes in Cup Noodle instant ramen cups is now sold separately in a box of its own. It sells for 650 yen (US$4.58) and contains 200 grams (about 7 ounces) of Mystery Meat, which is about 47 Cup Noodle cups’ worth.

What do you do with so much Mystery Meat? Besides adding copious amounts to your Cup Noodles, you mean? The back of the box actually has several suggestions, including such dishes as fried rice and stuffed peppers. Even hamburgers are an option!

These inspired us to devise an original Mystery Meat dish, so after brainstorming we came up with the idea of making takikomi gohan, or mixed rice, with Cup Noodle Mystery Meat instead of the usual chicken. It would be simple, it would be quick, and it seemed like it would be the best way to unlock the Mystery Meat’s potential. For whatever reason, we did not even consider whether it would taste good. Would we reap the consequences of that neglect? Read on to find out.

To make our Mystery Meat Takikomi Gohan, we first put the rice in the rice cooker and washed it, before pouring over a suitable amount of water.

Next, we added a healthy serving of Mystery Meat (or unhealthy, depending on your perspective).

All that was left was to add a bit of shiro dashi (a broth made from kelp and seafood), close the lid, and turn it on.

Then, 45 minutes later…Our Mystery Meat Takikomi Gohan, whose flavor was completely unfathomable to us, was ready to eat! It did smell pretty good, but the finished product was…

…not especially surprising!

It had the look of something that could only be called “Mystery Meat Takikomi Gohan.” Actually, we couldn’t even really call it “takikomi gohan” because it just looked like rice with Mystery Meat on top. Of course, we hadn’t done the mixing part yet, but the initial result was hardly inspiring.

So what did it taste like? Within a Cup Noodle package, the flavor of the Mystery Meat is really quite strong and salty, but what about in takikomi gohan? Our Japanese-language reporter and the genius chef who invented this idea, P.K. Sanjun, was the first to give it a try.

“Hmm. Not bad.”

Since it was cooked with the rice, the salty flavor of the Mystery Meat had become somewhat diluted. In fact, P.K. said the flavor of the shiro dashi came through much stronger than the Mystery Meat. If you fed just the rice to someone who was blindfolded, they probably wouldn’t realize that they were eating takikomi gohan made with Cup Noodle Mystery Meat.

On the other hand, however, there’s no mistaking that the Mystery Meat is anything but Mystery Meat. It still had that same strong flavor, and honestly, one bowl was enough for P.K. “It was surprisingly good, but I still wouldn’t go back for seconds,” he said.

Our other reporters felt the same way. At first they complimented it, saying, “It’s good!” and “It actually works!” but the more they ate, the more they realized that a second bowl would be too much.

But in P.K.’s estimation, that simply means that he managed to create a recipe that really drew out the true potential of the Mystery Meat. After all, that was the goal, wasn’t it? All in all, we’d say this experiment was a success. A much better use of Mystery Meat than simply adding it to a giant Cup Noodle!

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[ Read in Japanese ]