When the suits at Nissin said, “You can’t put that much wasabi and mayo in your noodles,” UFO replied, “like hell we can’t!”
Anyone in Japan has undoubtedly come across the popular brand of instant yakisoba known as UFO (Unidentified Frying Object). Although not quite the mega star as Nissin’s other product Cup Noodle, UFO has long served the cooking-impaired and time-strapped communities since 1976.
Along the way, they created various special edition flavors like squid ink, Brazilian style, or for the first time in 1997, Wasa Mayo. Combining the great tastes of wasabi and mayonnaise for the first time in a mass-produced product, it was a big hit and came back three times afterward.
However, on 29 May, the makers of UFO are raising the stakes, and a little hell, with UFO Big Wasa Mayo Hell. Although I’m sure there’s an allusion to the punishing burn of the wasabi in there, the name “hell” has more to do with the portions.
▼ The package graphics show the wasabi-mayo demons toiling away in Wasa Mayo Hell.
Each pack contains 25.9 grams (0.9 ounces) of wasabi-mayo to slather on your pseudo-fried noodles. Not only will this will be the most sauce ever included in a pack of UFO in the history of the product, but the numbers can also be playfully read as “jigoku“, the Japanese word for hell.
Nissin promises a deeply rich taste unlike any other UFO. However, for many people the big question is how much wasabi is in this blend of wasabi and mayo. They also had this to say:
“That sounds like a terrible product.”
“I’m not in the mood for that.”
“I think that would mess up my nose.”
“Seriously, that doesn’t sound delicious. I like wasabi but…”
“I hope they aren’t doing this because they think that’s how foreigners like it.”
“Shouldn’t jigoku be 45.9 grams? Lol”
“I wish they brought back the Curry Mayo flavor instead. That was awesome.”
Okay, so public reaction to the news doesn’t look too good. But the Wasa Mayo line of UFO have sold extremely well in the past, so I guess we can assume there is a silent majority out there looking forward to the wasabolypse.
▼ As someone who eats a wasabi-mayo and cheese sandwich every day, count me among that group.
On the other hand, covering soba noodles in an extra-large glob of it is potentially risky and requires just the right balance. Whether Nissin strikes that balance or not will have to wait until the end of May when hell comes to Earth for a suggested retail price of 205 yen (US$1.81).