the Sweet Smell of Burning Fur (plonq) wrote,
the Sweet Smell of Burning Fur
plonq

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Better living through Chemistry

I bought a 6-pack of this soup while I was out this morning because it was cheap enough that I figured it was readily expendable if it turned out to be disgusting. While I would not normally bother with un-boxing photographs of packaged soup, I made an exception for this one because I was intrigued by a product that billed itself as coming from the "NAN HUI INDUSTRIAL PARK" in Shanghai. This called up mental images of a post-modern, Simpsonesque factory sandwiched between a refinery and a pig-iron smelter.

Opening the package revealed a suspiciously light foil package and a very sturdy folding spoon. The foil bag had preparation instructions written in English and Mandarin (or perhaps Cantonese - I am not really up on my Chinese dialects). The English instructions were thoughtfully written in the part of the bag that had been creased by the sealing iron, rendering them almost entirely unreadable. Fortunately from what I could see, they mirrored the instructions written on the cup.

Also, I am not a complete moron, so I have a good idea how to make instant soup - especially when there is a "fill to here" line clearly marked on the container.
Post Modern Soup Goodness

I don't know what I was expecting to find inside the foil bag - concentrated soup paste or powder. I confess that I was not expecting a little wafer of freeze-dried miso soup. It took all of my willpower to not pop this little soup wafer into my mouth to see how long it would take to dissolve on my tongue. It will be a true test of my resolve to go through the next five packages of this soup without doing that at least once - scratch that, at most once I suspect.

In any event, the soup did not even remotely resemble the picture on the package, and I was dubious if it would even after it was reconstituted.
20120530

The wafer dissolved so quickly in the water, I had to double-check that I had not accidentally opened the nitric acid spigot instead. By the time I had filled it to the line and grabbed the spoon to give it a stir, the little dessicated cubes had already soaked up enough water to nearly resemble tofu. Some kind of strange chemical (or alchemical) process was also taking place below the turbid surface of the soup, because as I stirred, nori began to magically appear and multiply.

Even though it still only passingly resembled the picture on the cup, the soup actually smelled reasonably palatable. I steeled my nerves and dipped the spoon in for my first taste. It was a touch on the salty side - a staple of most miso soups - but it was not bad at all. The nori continued to multiply and expand while I ate the soup, and it had a disturbingly... normal texture. The same could not be said of the "tofu". I would have preferred to let the soup steep for a bit longer before eating it, but I was begging to worry that the tofu would disintegrate under the brutal barrage of Brownian motion in the soup. The tofu had about the weight and consistency of the cream filling in a Twinkie. Those little floating bricks shared a closer kinship with aerogel than bean curd IMO.
Almost exactly as pictured.

Texture aside, the soup was pretty good, but I think that when I make the next one I will bring the water up past the fill-to line. I know that I risk disrupting the delicate chemical balance by doing so, but it could have done with a bit more dilution for my taste.
Tags: 2012yip
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