Wei-Chuan's Microwavable Stewed Beef Noodle Soup
Now there's a third option: nuke it from frozen. Wei-Chuan, the Taiwan-based manufacturer of oyster sauces, pickles, and frozen dumplings has started selling these babies: frozen beef noodle soup, a.k.a. niu rou man, the dish served in more restaurants in Irvine than burgers, tacos, or pho.
Wei-Chuan is actually not the only producer of microwavable noodle soups; it just seems to be the only one that's making this specific kind. And it is delicious. The noodles, a shade thinner than udon, are a pleasure to chew. The soup is fragrant of anise, rich, dark, with a meaty richness, sweetness, and tang. And although there isn't as much meat in the bowl as it shows on the box, it's real stewed beef, with, you know, beefy fibers and stuff. And there's actual spinach, you know, with spinach-y fibers and stuff.
In fact, if you served me this noodle soup at a restaurant, I probably wouldn't be able to tell it was microwaved. Honest!
Each box retails for about $4. I found mine at H-Mart. And though the instructions--involving tearing out a perforated circle from the cardboard to make a sort of cradle for the bowl and pouring a measured amount of water in two separate steps--are slightly more complicated than for a Nissin Cup Noodle, the rewards are worth the effort. Besides, what else are you going to do? It's pouring outside.
So buy it now and then save it for a rainy day...literally.
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