Samyang Samgyetang Myeon Instant Noodles Review
An honest attempt at replicating the intricacies found in a bowl of traditional Korean Samgyetang. While Samyang did their best, no doubt, these noodles still failed to meet the excellence set forth by the old school chicken masters of old. Clearly they still have some poultry wisdom to lay down on the likes of us lowly modern fowl, who think we know everything there is to know about cooking our succulent feathered friends. It’s also seriously unlikely that Samyang’s instant version of Samgyetang will do anything to extend your brief human existence either. While traditional Korean chicken soup with rice is brewed with ginseng, jujube, and plenty of garlic, Samyang’s Samgyetang Myeon is frustratingly missing all of these vital medicinal components, as well as their warm, healing flavor. Old School Chicken Masters — One. Samyang — Zero…
I have to offer some praise for these noodles created by Samyang. They are seriously delicious and reminiscent of grandma’s chicken noodle soup. They just don’t taste anything like classic Samgyetang. The key flavors that are missing are: garlic, ginseng, and jujube, which to me are the most important flavors that give Samgyetang its unique flavor and health boosting qualities. The broth is legitimately made from chicken stock, which tastes fantastic with its salty flavor. This is satisfying, but these noodles might still come off a bit bland to some. It tastes strongly of salty chicken broth, but that’s about it. There aren’t many flakes either. I found some spring onion, but had to go searching for the minute pieces of chicken. Even when compared to Campbell’s Chicken Soup, Samyang’s Samgyetang Myeon doesn’t hold a flame to the amount of chicken found in that classic can of soup.
This doesn’t happen too often with Samyang, but these noodles are not spicy at all. Can you believe it? I sure can’t! Looks like they kept with the traditional theme the best they could, because traditional Samgyetang isn’t spicy either. This makes these noodles some of the easier ones to eat within the Samyang brand. If you need to spice things up with this instant Samgyetang, you could add some black pepper or maybe some gochugalu (red pepper powder) to stay in line with the more traditional flavor profile.
Chicken stock lies at the heart of this cup of noodles. This delicious aroma snuffed out pretty much every other ingredient in these noodles. I couldn’t really smell anything else, not even the noodles.
These are definitely not your basic ramen noodles. The noodles in Samyang’s Samgyetang Myeon are made from mung bean. Mung bean is a type of legume that has been around for a while. It’s commonly used in Chinese cuisine, as well as Korean cuisine in the thick batter of bindae-ddeok (a type of Korean “pancake”). It’s interesting to me that Samyang decided to use this bean to make their instant noodles for Samgyetang Myeon. Maybe they were searching hard for other traditional flavors to incorporate into this product? We may never know. Anyways, the noodles tasted great and went together extremely well with the flavor of the broth. These noodles are shiny, slick, and a bit thicker than typical ramen noodles. The consistency helped to pick up the broth. On the whole, this addition reminded me more of the noodles found in classic chicken noodle soup found in the West or even a little of Korean Kalguksu.
These noodles are absolutely delicious and easy on stomach, which is something Samyang isn’t known for at all. If I wasn’t feeling well and needed something to soothe my stomach, I might actually consider these noodles and their satisfyingly salty chicken stock infused broth.
Samyang’s Samgyetang Myeon isn’t without problems though. First of all, where the heck is the chicken? I could barely find any particles of chicken at all! Even more importantly, it’s a bit of a stretch to call these instant noodles Samgyetang. They are just way too simple for deserving that title. Samgyetang Myeon is more akin to Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup than it is to traditional Korean Samgyetang. There wasn’t any ginseng, garlic, or other herbs, which was disappointing. I guess the complexity of Samgyetang is too much to capture the essence of in a humble cup of instant noodles.
What’s the best bowl of Samgyetang you’ve ever had? Where did you have it? Any restaurant recommendations? Let me know down in the comments below!
If you’re interested in hearing more about instant ramen, check out my on-going series, Noodle Story: An Exploration of Korean Instant Noodles, here on Medium.