I love tonjiru and usually make mine with pork, carrots, potatoes, onions, gobou, konnyaku, and shiitake. Throw in some udon and tonjiru is also an awesome meal on its own!
|homemade tonjiru udon|
So when I saw instant tonjiru udon available at the grocery store, I knew I had to try it! There were two brands available, so I bought both and did a taste test.
Left: Maruchan "Atsu Atsu Tonjiru Udon"
Net Wt.: ~109g
Toppings: pork, aburaage, gobou, potatoes, carrots, leeks
425kcal; 6.1g sodium
Right: Nissin "Donbei Tonjiru Udon"
Net Wt.: ~99g
Toppings: pork, aburaage, gobou, carrots, leeks
416kcal; 5.1g sodium
Inside both packages, there were pieces of aburaage (a type of fried tofu), a package of toppings (kayaku かやく) and soup (ekitai soup 液体スープ), but the Nissin one also had a package of shichimi spices (七味).
The preparation instructions were also pretty much the same for both:
1. open up the lid halfway and remove the topping/soup/spice packages
2. add the toppings to the noodles
3. fill with hot water up to the line inside the bowl (~350mL for Maruchan, and ~370mL for Nissin)
4. close the lid, place the soup package on top of the lid (to warm up the soup), and let sit for 5min
5. remove the lid, add the soup (and spices for Nissin), mix and enjoy!
|just add water!|
|Maruchan Atsu Atsu Tonjiru Udon|
|Nissin Donbei Tonjiru Udon|
The Nissin soup was a bit lighter so you could appreciate the addition of the shichimi spices. Since I tend to use a lighter hand with the miso when making my own tonjiru, the Nissin soup was closer to the taste of my tonjiru than the Maruchan soup. I also preferred the Nissin noodles since the texture was a bit...softer? They tasted/felt closer to regular udon than the Maruchan noodles, which were more rubbery/firm and obviously instant noodles.
So, here are my picks for the better brand based on various criteria:
Soup: Tie (really a matter of preference, both were equally good)
As you can see, each is good in its own way, but if I had to pick, I would choose the Maruchan Atsu Atsu Tonjiru Udon for the value and the very clear "tonjiru!" taste from the stronger miso taste and size and variety of the toppings.