If there’s one rule I live by, it’s: when in doubt, soup it out. Noodle soup is a classic that never disappoints, but there’s an ingredient you’ve probably never tried that is sure to take your soups from great to super great. It’s called menma, and it’s a Japanese condiment that’s made from fermented bamboo shoots, and if you want to know more about why menma makes for the perfect topping to your ramen dishes, keep reading on.
To understand what menma brings to the table (pun intended), we first need to discuss bamboo shoots, and shoots in general. The shoot of a plant is the productive center of the plant – the stem, the leaves, the flowers, and so on – and shoots are created from new growths after the seed has germinated. Some plants generate edible shoots, like bamboo. Bamboo shoots are often harvested from young sprouts, and can be boiled, cooked, soaked, or pickled. So yes, you’re really eating part of a bamboo plant, but there’s no need to worry about growing a bamboo tree in your stomach.
Before you go running to your local Japanese grocery store for some menma, you probably want to know how it tastes. Menma contains a sweet yet earthy flavor, and adds an added bit of crisp to your noodle soup. What makes menma so unique is that even after it’s been cooked, the condiment manages to maintain its crunchiness, so you can always expect a good crunch when you munch. Menma even comes with some health benefits; with a good amount of fiber, copper, vitamin B6, vitamin E, and vitamin K per serving, you can feel good about putting this one-of-a-kind topping in your cup noodles.
As mentioned, bamboo shoots are most commonly used in noodle dishes like soup and ramen. To get inspired for your next helping of menma, here are some savory soup options available on Bokksu Grocery that are definitely worth checking out.
There’s nothing better than winding down with a bowl of miso at the end of the day, except maybe a bowl of miso and menma. The Myojo Chukazanmai Miso and Soy Bean Ramen from Myojo combines the classic taste of miso with the speedy prep time of instant ramen. Plus, the flavorless soybean broth will give the menma its moment to shine!
Speaking of instant ramen, the Nissin Cup Noodle: Curry is another menma favorite. If you didn’t know, Japanese curry features a milder, sweeter, and thicker flavor profile than other curries, so even if you’re not a big spice person, you’re bound to enjoy these savory cup noodles. Plus, the earthiness of the menma will balance perfectly with the other flavors!
Lastly, if you really want to lean into the crunchiness of your menma, the Lucky Me Instant Cup Noodles: Le Paz Batchoy Beef Garlic has got you covered. The al dente noodles and cracking pork crunchies are sure to pair nicely with the crispy bamboo shoots, and you can never go wrong with a tasty beef broth base!
Take a trip to your favorite Asian grocery store without ever leaving your couch! Bokksu Grocery carries all your favorite Japanese brands, snacks, and beverages, so now you can order groceries online all from the same place.