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: Peyang's (Peyoung's) GIGAMAX instant yakisoba noodles.
Who cares how you write the brand name in English compared to the katakana? Peyangu schmeyangu - and that's coming from a writer. To be fair, we're talking about a noodle pack that packs more calories than an average adult woman should eat in a day.
This special edition yakisoba was originally released in Japan during summer 2018, but I've only just gotten around to buying and eating one. And this is actually the updated box launched for summer 2019: a campaign with QUO Pay to win a QUO card.
(Looks like I didn't win anything this time... it's that or I threw the prize card away with the wrapping by accident, but I think I would've noticed.)
Why the wait? I wasn't sure if I wanted to attempt this much instant noodle at once.
It's not that I don't like noodles, or the sauce. Plus there's a mayo yakisoba version and a 'gekikara' spicy version at similar sizes, both also clocking in at over 2k calories. So it's not like I didn't have options to switch up the flavour, either.
To be completely honest, what makes me hesitate about trying this one is... seeing the full calorie count written loud and proud on the front.
When I go to an 'all you can eat' buffet, I go with the intention of getting my money's worth. And that's genuinely all I think about. Calories are the last thing on my mind, behind food allergies... and whether I remembered to wear something with an elasticated waist...
Knowing the total amount of calories in this noodle box before I've even picked it off the shelf is offputting, to me. It might be a key part of the competitive eating challenge for someone else. But I don't want to know.
The Japanese small print underneath that? "Do not eat more than one of these per day. There is a concern that you will exceed your maximum calorie intake." NO DUH.
The bigger kanji above GIGAMAX says 'super super super huge portion'. It's true - this is 4 times the size of the standard yakisoba, weighing in at 330 grams of noodles.
Prep is the same as usual: take all the packets out, put only the dried veggies back in, add hot water, wait 3 minutes, drain the water, mix in the sauce and sprinkles, stuff your face.
A quick peek inside... oh boy, that's a lot of noodles. The standard sauce yakisoba is 544 calories, so the website says. This GIGAMAX serving works out at just under 4x that amount.
The sauce and other toppings packets are pretty hefty, too. Here's the generous amount of yakisoba sauce, for example:
Time to get cooking. This mammoth amount of noodles took a full kettle of boiled water to cover. The instructions say it needs 1,300ml. Yes folks, 1.3 litres of water. To cook with. This is going to be fun...
I started the taste test by portioning some noodles out into a small bowl. That way, you can see how much of it I actually get through, bit by bit.
Okay, I think I've taken a reasonable chunk here for a first sitting. You can see that from the bowl. The noodle tub still looks like I haven't made a dent in it.
It's cooked well enough (well done, me), tastes like I mixed the sauce and toppings in properly (well done, me!), and feels manageable. So far, so good. Finished up and went back for seconds.
Using a small bowl to be on the safe side means I'm maybe 1/3 of the way through this at best.
A lot of sauce had pooled at the bottom of the tub, so I tried to mix and scoop at the same time. It still doesn't look like any less than last time, though, does it?
Once you reach a certain point with this, you start feeling like the noodles really need more accompaniment. That's how I felt, anyway. The amount of noodle outweighs the other stuff that's been stirred in, and by a long long way.
4-5 spoonfuls into this bowl, and I was seriously flagging. In fact, 7 or 8 spoonfuls into this bowl was when I gave up. And by my best estimate, that wasn't even halfway.
No chance in hell.
I don't know if this can be reheated, or if I'll want to take it on again. The leftovers nearly stretched to 2 freezer bags. Maybe it would've been better to split it up like that...
I am utterly defeated. But on the upside, I've got no idea how many calories it came to.
Verdict: 6/10. Way more noodle than one person can reasonably expect to stomach.