Is Sapporo Ichiban Tonkotsu Ramen More Like Instant Pork or Chicken Ramen

During this funny happy pandemic time, I thought I would try Sapporo Ichiban Tonkotsu (pork) ramen, but after only a week in, I am now fantasizing about snow crab and pitchers of beer (with bikini models, but I always fantasized about that).

Working from home, I thought quick and easy lunches where I did not have to do any elaborate cooking would be great, but I’m realizing this is where I draw the line on food and life.

TON=Pork and KOTSU=Bone(Pork Bone Stock)

Photo Description: behold, the packaging of Sapporo Ichiban. The package looks like a traditional Chinese ramen bowl, except with a yellow border. The text says "Sapporo Ichiban Tonkotsu Ramen Japanese noodles," "Traditional quality of sapporo Ichiban" and 0g of trans fat.
0g of trans fat, well there you have it, the healthiest food you will ever eat.

1 Guy, 1 Bowl, 3 Packets

Unfortunately, after downing this bowl, I realized how I love elaborate which is why I’m going to break it down as to why this bowl came up short. 

  • The package contains noodles and 3 packets which are soup, garnish, and liquid seasoning.
  • I did not include every single ingredient below, but I sorted everything into 3 categories to get a better idea of what Sanyo foods was attempting to do in terms of flavor.
Photo Description: a white Styrofoam bowl with a round hockey puck instant noodle.
That is the traditional quality of Sapporo Ichiban.

The Typical Instant Noodle Spongey Feel

Ingredients: Enriched wheat flour, palm oil , tapioca starch, salt, guar gum, sodium carbonate, tocopherols, and potassium carbonate.

Photo Description: if you are visually impaired I hope my descriptions don't suck, but this one is a silver packet with the word "SOUP" in green on the packaging. In a green oval, the logo "Sapporo Ichiban."
As a poor person, the flavor packet was the highlight of my meals.

What is in the Sapporo Ichiban Soup Packet

Ingredients: Salt, sugar, monosodium glutamate, non-dairy creamer, sodium caseinate, natural and artificial seasoning, maltodextrin, modified food starch, natural and artificial flavors, lactose, chicken broth powder, maltodextrin, chicken broth flavor (contains chicken broth, salt, flavor), garlic powder, yeast extract, spices, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, caramel color, and tricalcium phosphate.

Photo Description: a red foil packet with the same graphical motif except it has the word "garnish" on it.
Who eats the parsley when it comes to steak, but for presentation sake, you got to have the garnish.

The Garnish

Ingredients: sesame seeds and dried leeks.

Photo Description: the final silver foil packet which is the liquid seasoning and this one has a large blue stripe on it with the text "Liquid Seasoning."
If you’re living the good life, you get the liquid seasoning packet.

“Liquid Seasoning”

Ingredients: sesame oil, canola oil, pork fat flavor (modified food starch, rendered bacon fat, natural flavor), coconut oil, corn syrup solids, and corn oil.

Photo Description: the same hockey puck of instant noodles but with dehydrated bits of spring onions.
They call it “leeks” on the ingredients packet.

Spongy Artificialness Ready in 3 Minutes

Deep-fried noodles just don’t cut it with me, and I highly suggest you buy the Morimoto (Momosan) style ramen that Sanyo Foods also sells because it is a lot better product, and you can see my full review here.

Photo Description: a mound of of the seasoning packet atop the garnish of leeks. It's a very whitish color with tinges of brown.
The mount Fuji of seasoning and the world is yours.

That looks porky, but like anybody who has done cocaine knows that looks can be deceiving, and I bet there’s a lot of cut in there (chicken filler).

Photo Description: the water being poured into the bowl of noodles, garnish, and spice packet.
If you can boil water, you can make instant ramen.

That’s not a microwave safe bowl, or a souvenir bowl, so don’t think about using it in a microwave or after you’re done with it, putting it up on your mantle next to your 4th place bowling trophy.

Photo Description: now finally the final part which is the liquid seasoning.
The 3rd and final packet, the oil/fat.

You Call that Pork

Pork flavor must be really hard to synthesize because it is very hard to come across an instant noodle product that tastes like pork.

Chicken and beef always taste somewhat like chicken or beef, but pork is just too elusive (like the chance I’ll be able to eat crab and drink beer with super hot bikini models).

Photo Description: I'm using my fancy schmancy ramen spoon. I dipped it into the broth to ladle up some of the broth.
Ladle up that spice packet, garnish, and liquid seasoning all in one spoonful.

Tastes Like Chicken

Even by their own product description they say it tastes like chicken:

DESCRIPTION: Wavy instant noodles in a light but rich broth with essence of chicken, vegetables, and spices.”

– Sanyo Foods
Photo Description: yup, those are the noodles, aka ramen noodles.

Just look at the description Wal-Mart uses for the product description:

“Sapporo Ichiban White Chicken Broth Japanese Tonkotsu Ramen, 3.7 oz, 5 pack”

– Walmart

You heard it here folks, even Walmart is like “naaaawww foo, that’s chicken, it’s not even pork…. oh, and can you file for Medicaid because we don’t offer health insurance.”

Photo Description: the ramen looks more on the whitish end of the color spectrum. They are not too yellow, and and they are you only slightly crinkly.

Conclusion of Sapporo Ichiban Tonkotsu Ramen

“The man” knows that tonkotsu (pork) ramen is popular, so I think this is their half-hearted or full-hearted attempt? I say that, but I have no clue what goes into the decisions/product development because this product seems like a straight out chicken ramen. The only apparent “tonkotsu” ingredients would be the use of pork fat and milk-like additives and creamers to give it a slight creaminess which makes it a “nanchatte tonkotsu” ramen, a style made popular in LA, at an old school place called Foo-Foo Tei over in Hacienda Heights.

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