Recently, TATTGOC has been putting a considerable amount of effort into sourcing free curry-related products. For who better to be a spicy focus group than the Curry Lovers Of The Year 2010? That's the thinking behind Tastin' With The Tramps, a taste test with a difference in that ... in that ... actually, it's pretty much what you would expect from a standard taste test. So what's on the menu this time? It's a brand-new flavour of The Nation's Noodle. Let's go tastin' with The Tramps!
The Product: The Nation's Noodle, Chip Shop Curry flavour
The Pitch: A tip of the hat to the PR company handling The Nation's Noodle account. Mere days after news broke that TATTGOC had been awarded Scottish Curry Lovers Of The Year 2010, a keen PR representative got in touch with the blog and suggested – nay, DEMANDED – that we be sent a stack of Chip Shop Curry flavour noodles. At that time (like, about six months ago) this mysterious new flavour had yet to hit supermarket and all-night garage shelves. Super!
The Packaging: At first glance, you might well mistake the black pot of the The Nation's Noodle for a Pot Noodle (specifically the black-potted Bombay Bad Boy flavour). It might also be confusing because The Nation's Noodle is produced by Golden Wonder and, hey, didn't Golden Wonder used to make Pot Noodle? So what happened? After a period of online investigation, The Tramp discovered that Golden Wonder were bought by Unilever in 1995, and then sold on to another company in 2006 (except Unilever hung on to the Pot Noodle brand). So Golden Wonder launched The Nation's Noodle (in seven different flavours) to compete directly with their former product, essentially plotting to murder its own offspring. It's like a classic Greek tragedy! Except instead of blood you have those little sachets of sauce ... although, rather disappointingly, The Nation's Noodle doesn't contain those little sachets of sauce. See? No sachets ...
The Process: So simple to prepare, even a child could do it (although you probably wouldn't want your kid to be mucking about with boiling water). The traditional "fill line" seemed a little lower than The Tramps remembered but maybe they were just proportionally bigger. So after adding the suggested amount of boiling water, The Tramps then had to wait for five minutes ...
... and one stir later, the noodles were good to go. But it was only at this late stage that Trampy realised that The Nation's Noodle included sultanas in their Curry Chip Shop recipe. He no like sultanas! Or any dried fruit! Still, the noodles seemed to rehydrate OK.
So after some initially tentative forkfuls, what did the Tramps think?
Trampy says: "Grrr, sultanas. And there are bits of apple in here too. Still, I like noodles and these ones are OK, although I had a different sort of flavour in my head ... I think chip shop curry sauce is maybe more of an English thing, like mushy peas? I could be wrong. It seems like sacrilege for a curry lover to say this but I almost wish we'd been sent one of the other flavours. [THREE MINUTES LATER] Hey, I totally ate all of it, even some of the sultanas! I guess I must have been hungry ..."
The Tramp says: "My initial reaction was shock that there was no sachet involved. In terms of taste, it's not very spicy but it does have that mild powdered curry sauce feel to it. The taste improved towards the bottom of the pot as it thickened up a bit. It's been many years since I've had a potted noodle so this was an interesting experiment. I wouldn't necessarily go out of my way to buy it ... but I am now intrigued enough to try some rival brands. It would be very easy to mistake The Nation's Noodle for a Pot Noodle on the shelf, which I assume must be deliberate."
The Verdict: As far as instant hot snacks targeted at young men aged 12-30 are concerned, The Nation's Noodle ticks a lot of boxes. And while this particular taste test might not have got the Tramps jumping up and down in excitement, it has alerted them to the many different curry-flavoured instant noodles that are currently available. Which means more analysis ahead!
Do you have a curry-related foodstuff you're launching into the crowded modern marketplace where a recommendation from appropriate enthusiasts might help? If so, drop us an introductory line at email@example.com and see YOUR product featured on ... Tastin' With The Tramps!
Mr Singh's Bangras!