I haven't eaten Top Ramen in years. I was raised on it. But sometime during high school I ramened out and never returned. Only today did these microwavable pleasures hurtle back into my sphere of awareness. It
went like this. I heard my roommate say to her friend, "Hey, so beef-flavored or Oriental-flavored ramen?"
"Whoa," I turned, "Oriental ramen?"
She looked at me funny, "Um, yeah...?"
Yeah, I'd forgotten. Apparently, there is a beef flavor, a shrimp flavor, some other flavors, and ta-da! Oriental flavor. Because we Orientals have a particular flavor? Because a clearly demarcated Orient even exists to be tasted? I don't know though. I think my favorite part is still that "Oriental flavor" exists in a spectrum with "Beef flavor" and "Shrimp flavor." It's as if Nissin Top Ramen is saying: As beef
and shrimp have these essential characteristics, so too do Orientals.
Mmm, delicious Asian peoples...
The back of a packet of Nissin Top Ramen reads, "Nissin Top Ramen is America's Original Ramen Noodle Soup and a family favorite since 1970." This is interesting. First, because fresh ramen noodle providers would never claim to have an Oriental-flavored broth. But a company actively making such a claim is "America's Original Ramen Noodle Soup." Then because it was around 1968 that the Yellow Power movement first coined the term Asian American and rejected the term Oriental. And yet, while Nissin has been around since exactly that time, this flavor of ramen remains... delicious?
I guess taste can redefine a word. We should make a T-shirt. On the front: Oriental-flavored! On the back: Salt Soy Sauce Powder (Wheat Soybeans Maltodextrin Salt) Monosodium Glutamate Spices Hydrolyzed Soy
Corn and Wheat Protein Garlic Powder Caramel Color Onion Powder Rice Oil Citric Acid Disodium Succinate Dehydrated Leek Calcium Silicate (Anticaking Agent) Disodium Guanylate Disodium Inosinate.