Aji WOW is my series of unusual Japanese food/drink reviews. 'Aji' (味) means 'flavour', and the name's also a pun on 'ajiwau' (味わう) - 'to enjoy the taste of'.
This time: 'garlic max' yakisoba.
My parents' cooking has given me a taste for garlic. Dad used to come out of the kitchen, grinning, and hold up however many fingers. Sometimes 3, sometimes 5, sometimes more. Always the number of cloves he'd put in that night's dinner.
So it got into my blood. I love the stuff. Not enough to eat garlic capsules every day as a 'health' thing. But I enjoy garlicky food.
Other people don't. And this box of 'garlic max' instant yakisoba wanted me to remember that.
"You'll cause problems for the people around you. Make sure you eat this when you're alone. Let's protect etiquette." - okay then?
I tried this yakisoba out on a weekday evening. Left myself the opportunity to brush my teeth and shower/bathe at least twice before going to work. Nobody wants a repeat of the last 'we can smell you from here!' office disaster.
The dry topping packet was full of garlic chips. Insta-yum.
As the hot water sank into the box, a VERY strong garlic smell rose up. It's only just spring here, so opening the window was meant to be a last resort. I opened it as soon as the water went in.
The noodles only take 3 minutes, so I didn't have to shiver for long.
When I started to stir in the yakisoba sauce, it quickly became obvious there wouldn't be enough. Had to use my own supplies of sauce to stop the noodles tasting too plain. Sprinkled on some black sesame seeds for a little extra flavour, and it was ready to go.
I wasn't worried that too much sauce might mask the garlic. There was no chance of that.
I'd spotted slices of red chili pepper in the topping, but I wasn't tasting spice. Or anything else, for that matter. The strength of the garlic is a pure burn, like it's trying to raze your tastebuds off.
And I loved it!
The best part wasn't eating the noodles. It was the complete lack of aftertaste.
When I went into work the next morning, nobody mentioned it. Not so much as a wrinkled nose. I doubt that 'overenthusiastic in regards to protection against vampires' is a fireable offense, but I wouldn't want to risk it.