Tastin' With The Tramps: The Pot Noodle GTi!

The distinguished members of TATTGOC sure do love their curry, as evidenced by their current title of Curry Lovers Of The Year. But their ongoing quest for spicy satisfaction isn't merely limited to TATTGOC's regular excursions to some of Glasgow's hidden-gem curryhouses. If they happen across almost any curry-related foodstuff or product, Trampy and The Tramp feel compelled to take it for a spin – and thus was born the irregular feature Tastin' With The Tramps, where TATTGOC's burly founders crack open the Kingfisher and get their laughing gear round something fiery. What curry-related foodstuff or product is in the hot seat this time? It's the latest incarnation/mutation of a national treasure/guilty pleasure. But are the Tramps really qualified to take the Pot Noodle GTi for a ... wait for it ... taste drive?

(Click here to start those engines ...)

The Product: Previously on Tastin' With The Tramps, our stocky heroes tangled with The Nation's Noodle, a Golden Wonder-branded instant hot snack that came in a rather insipid Chip Shop Curry flavour. In the interests of balance and fairness, they later took a trip down memory lane by sampling two curry-flavoured variants of Pot Noodle, with fairly unimpressive results. But what they really wanted to get their hands on was the the upgraded, microwave-ready Pot Noodle GTi Tikka Masala, as featured in this compelling advertisement, which mashes together the dimbulb Max Power-magazine hot rodding of The Fast And The Furious with the needlessly overclocked CGI of Transformers to create a promo clip which persuasively suggests that the best way to use the featured product is to throw it out the window to create an opponent-foiling oilslick. Skiddy!

With such a high-profile advertising campaign all over TV and cinemas, you'd think it would be easy enough to pick up a GTi pot anywhere. But when the Tramps eventually set their hive mind to tracking down a couple, they were somehow foiled at every turn. Various supermarkets and local grocers had the usual loadout of Pot Noodles but of this new, tubbier cousin there was nary a whiff. Trampy had a close call in a Sauchiehall Street Londis when he spotted the Chilli Con Carne and Spaghetti Bolognese variants but for some reason the desired Tikka Masala flavour was conspiciously absent. Perhaps it was so tasty that it had already flown off the shelves? After advertising their plight over social media, the Tramps ended up relying on a mysterious Southside tipster, who gleefully snitched that Morrisson's were offloading these pots at less than half price ...

To the Partick Travel Interchange, and don't spare the horses!

The Pitch: While mysteriously absent from the proper Pot Noodle website, the gist of the GTi range appears to be: we realise most workplace kitchens have evolved beyond the humble kettle to now include a microwave, so here's a saucier, zappable version of Pot Noodle for you to snaffle. There is also a heavy emphasis on the "CONTAINS REAL MEAT!" angle, and while it may well make a nice change from the freeze-dried peas within those Pot Noodles Of Christmas Past, the GTi's Best Before dates still stretch beyond most estimates of when Earth's fossil fuels will run out, so it's probably advisable not to read too much into them. And while the term "GTi" has mostly fallen out of modern usage, it does still suggest speed ... and microwaves have got to be faster than boiling water, right? Zoom-zoom!

The Packaging: Of the three varieties of GTi, the Tikka Masala is the most eye-popping in its bright purple cardboard sleeve, which chimes nicely with the garish, pearlescent colour schemes beloved of boy racers. The white microwaveable pot has a slightly institutional bearing, with the wide lip suggesting a not-entirely-welcome bedpan vibe. With the product necessarily hydrated in advance, the GTi feels conspicuously heavier than your standard Pot Noodle, with a heft akin to an improvised missile at a volatile student fees protest.

The Process: If it felt slightly unintuitive to prepare a Pot Noodle without switching on a kettle at any point, The Tramp took it in his stride. After peeling back the lid halfway, the pot was blasted with microwaves for two minutes, then left to stand for a further sixty seconds. While hot, it didn't exactly seem boiling after this process, and both Tramps remarked that it could perhaps have done with a bit more time under the lamp. No matter ... to the tastin'! Just fake blow on it if you must!

Trampy says: "This is so different from a normal Pot Noodle – and I've had quite a few of those recently – that it seems like an entirely different foodstuff. The sauce is just so much thicker and to be honest I don't really like the way that it interacts with the noodles ... it's like Heinz Spaghetti with a hint of curry, and while I can see there are wee bits of meat in there I don't feel compelled to seek them out. What I liked about the old Pot Noodle is that there was a handy excuse to wolf it ... there wuz only a kettle, I didnae have an oven! If you've got access to a microwave, you should probably be eating something a bit better than this. A shame. A sickly shame."

The Tramp says: "The GTi advertising campaign was up to the usual daft Pot Noodle standards, and I found the ads highly entertaining. The pot seems sturdy and the packaging is fairly attention-grabbing too ... you can’t really mistake the Pot Noodle brand on the shelf. It’s also bigger than I expected and seems quite heavy. This is a real beast. Unlike some of the other curry potted noodles we've tasted, it's got a definite taste, but that taste is really like a ready-meal curry. It's also a bit of a weird concept: it's plenty saucy and stodgy but I don't think that the curry flavour really works with the noodles. According to the ingredients, it technically has proper spices in there – cumin, ginger, turmeric – but five minutes later and it's leaving a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. I'm a loyal supporter of the Shish Mahal and have always supported their claim to be the creators of what we now know as Tikka Masala. I really don’t think this is helping ..."

The Verdict: Between the two of them, the Tramps completely finished one pot so the GTi clearly isn't a total disaster. But the other pot that was initially purchased in Morrisson's is sitting in Trampy's store cupboard next to that Ainsley Harriott instant Mediterranean cous-cous that was on offer months ago, and looks likely to remain there for a while (no matter, it's Best Before April 2012). After sludging down the GTi, the Tramps promptly vowed that these would be the last commercial noodles they consumed as part of Tastin' With The Tramps. They've done their due diligence, and are now ready for the good stuff ...

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 trampyandthetramp@trampyandthetramp.com and see YOUR product featured on ... Tastin' With The Tramps!

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