Authentic or a knock off? Let’s find out.
One of our Japanese-language writers spotted this in a supermarket in France: a box of instant soup packets with a “Japonaise” flavor. We decided to give it a taste and find out whether or not it really tastes Japanese.
Let’s start with the package. We see a woman in a traditional Japanese outfit and makeup, some cherry blossom-like flowers, and the famous torii gate found on beautiful Miyajima Island. Seems good so far, right?
Then we get to the picture of the actual soup. When talking about Japanese “soup,” one of the first things that springs to mind is miso soup, made with miso and dashi (fish stock). Spices are minimal in miso soup, with more focus being devoted to soup stock itself. On the other hand, the broth in ramen, arguably a kind of soup, which originally came from China, Japan is a little more willing to experiment (blue broth, anyone?), and it looks like the Japonaise soup is inspired more by ramen than miso soup.
Let’s see how the Japonaise soup matches up. Beside the glass bowl are mushrooms, macaroni, onions, a big pile of mystery spice, and…coriander? Maybe they got Japan and Thailand mixed up?
With dread in our hearts, we decided to actually taste it. We removed one of the four packets included in the box and tore it open.
When we emptied the contents into a bowl, it looked like your typical instant soup powder. Except this is supposed to be more like instant noodles. And it’s not. It also has a distinct curry smell.
When you add water, it looks like this: a savory-looking soup. At least it has small green onions, which are included in many traditional Japanese dishes.
And the verdict is…it tastes like a salty version of chicken-flavored instant noodles. While we can’t say it’s entirely off the mark, it’s definitely one of the paler imitations of flavor we’ve experienced, and not particularly Japanese-tasting.
Well, we gave it a shot. It seems the company who developed this “Japanese” soup took more of a pan-Asian route, but if that sounds appealing, give it a try (and taste) for yourself.
▼ Oh, and there’s a Chinese flavor, too.
[ Read in Japanese ]