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Instant Noodles: Paldo Hot & Spicy Yukejang Noodles

Paldo Noodles

Today for lunch I tried something different. Oh, I’m still working through my new collection of instant noodles! I had never, ever tried Korean instant noodles before, though. One of the bowls I grabbed on my recent run through the MT Supermarket was Paldo’s Hot & Spicy Noodle, Yukejang style.

Yukejang has many alternative spellings: Yukkaejang, yukgaejang, and so on. (I’m not an expert on phonetic transliteration of Korean, but you can find these quickly using Google.) However you spell it, it’s good stuff. Very popular in Korea, and also enjoyed by other cultures in our global community these days. There are restaurants that serve yukejang soups of all levels of heat, some here in the States. There are some interesting recipes on the Web as well.

Back to the instant noodles! Paldo makes several varieties in bowls, and also makes ramen in the usual rectangular packets. I only saw the one variety in my market, though; maybe the others aren’t so popular hereabouts.

I got the water heating and opened the bowl cover a bit. The package is a lightweight styrofoam bowl with a paper top, all brightly colored. The bowl seemed sturdy enough, but I’d be careful not to crush it while handling. There were two packets inside: Dry powder, and dried herbs and veggies. No oil packet as found in many other instant noodle preps. Also no plastic fork or spoon; some bowls come with that too. I don’t use them, I have access to a full kitchen for these tests. However, if you’re enjoying these Paldo noodles “remotely,” take along sticks and a spoon.

After a few minutes of steeping I stirred the noodles and dug in. They had rehydrated nicely and consumed nearly all the water I’d added, so I put in a couple ounces of hot water and stirred again. (I like my noodles with lots of broth; your mileage may vary.) The noodles and broth were tasty, but not as spicy as I expected. I’ve enjoyed lots of Korean food over the years, and some of the hottest stuff I ever put in my mouth was Korean.

Not to fear, hot sauce is here! I added a squirt of soy sauce and a couple pinches chicken bouillon, then got out the sriracha and the Bufalo salsa. I tasted with each hot sauce, in increasing amounts. The sriracha was clearly better, and not a lot was needed; in fact, the noodles and broth could easily get overpowered by too much hot sauce. I tried a taste with sweet chili sauce, and that wasn’t so good (for me).

I cleaned out the bowl and slurped all the broth. A very satisfying snack (or light meal) for well under a buck! Next time I’ll add cilantro and some chile pepper slices for more flavor. I’d give these a solid B grade, and for sure I’ll be back to MT Market for more…

Enjoy the (Korean Instant Noodle) Heat!

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