Posted in The Flavors of Asia, The Grocery Shop-a-holic

In Which Black Garlic Oil Makes Instant Ramen More Interesting…

This looks interesting...
This looks interesting…

Black garlic has been touted as the new superfood, causing the fitness fanatics to eschew last year’s acai berry smoothies and moringa-leaf brews in favor of slivers of black garlic on just about everything from soups to salads, mains, and for the extreme of palate even desserts.

It is, essentially, a bulb of regular garlic that has been specially fermented so that it looks like a standard-issue bulb on the outside but the cloves within are jet black.  The flavor is much milder than that of regular garlic, as much of the pungency has been mellowed out during the fermentation process.

The product hasn’t gained sway here in the Philippines, mostly because it’s a bit rare and hard to find.  In fact, most of the local aficionados have to mail-order the stuff from abroad or wait patiently for it at specialty markets – and even that is a once-in-a-blue-moon thing.

The Japanese and Taiwanese, however, seem to like it and have incorporated it as an ingredient in instant noodle packets.  Case in point, Nissin Demae Tonkotsu Ramen with black garlic oil.

Not at all pretty to look at, but it was pretty tasty
Not at all pretty to look at, but it was pretty tasty

It’s essentially an instant riff on tonkotsu (collagen-rich pork bone broth) with the addition of black garlic oil.  While it doesn’t make for a pretty dish, it’s actually rather tasty.  The aroma is porky with the funky scent of garlic, albeit in a milder form.  The broth is almost creamy and you can actually taste the garlic.  The noodles are pretty standard.

It’s pretty passable for instant noodles.  I’m glad I tried it, but I can’t say I’d have it again.  For that matter, it hasn’t exactly inspired me to try black garlic in other forms, either.



Midge started her career in PR writing at seventeen when she began drafting documentaries for a government-run television station in the Philippines. Since then, she made a career in advertising and public relations which ended in June 2016 These days, she works full time at Philippine Tatler as a features writer under the nom de guerre Marga Manlapig. Aside from what she does for a living and her poetry, she has turned her home kitchen into a personal culinary lab and is currently working on another novel. Follow her on Instagram at @midgekmanlapig.

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