Parsley Sprig in Ramen Noodles

I eat a lot of ramen noodles and I am constantly amazed at how they manage to get exactly one teeny-tiny bit of dehydrated parsley into each flavor packet (or pepper seed shard in hot & spicy flavor). Never two, never none.

What marvel of modern technology does it take to make sure that exactly one practically microscopic bit of parsley goes into each packet? I have trouble visualizing the machine that could do such an incredibly delicate task.

I saw one of those “How They Make It” type shows that ran a segment on ramen but they failed to cover this all-important detail!

Usually it’s just another step in the manufacturing process. I would guess (and yes, I’m totally pulling this guess out of my ass) that the flavor packets are filled with the spice and seasoning mix in one step, in the next step the little bit of parsley or pepper is added, and then it’s sealed. I know that in canned pork’n’beans, the cans are filled with the beans in one step, and then the single bit of pork fat is dropped into the can in the next step (to fulfill the legal requirement of SOME bit of pork) before the can is sealed. I have seen several “How It’s Made” type shows, too, and this is always how they do it.

I find those shows totally addicting, by the way. I guess other people do too. Or possibly they’re very cheap and easy to make.

I find multiple pieces of parsley in my Ramen Noodles all the time.

Though I usually only eat the Beef flavored Maruchan brand…

You need to stop eating the cheap ramen.

I call them ‘How To Build A Helicopter In Five Easy Steps’ shows.

I’ve always been amazed that a can of Pork & Beans is probably the most honest product labeling ever. It is never porks. It is always one, single, white, glob of pork. And lots and lots of beans.

I figure that if it must be insanely cost effective for them to be THAT efficient over a piece of parsley, or a glob of pork, which terrifies me actually. :slight_smile:

Yeah, but …

I can easily visualize a machine that can manipulate a hunk of pork fat. I imagine it just lops off that hunk from a gigantic slab o’ fat, one that just keeps getting fed into a cutter, right into the can.

But that teeny-tiny bit of parsley? Horse of a different color I say. I mean we’re practically talking an Intel clean room sort of precision here!

But . . . but . . . cheap ramen is delicious!

Why yes, I am a college student, how did you know?

Well, yeah, but the .30 packs actually have multiple parsely leaves in them. Those .15 packs are shit.

A quick google search shows parsley selling for around $4 for a quarter ounce.

If I were a manager at a ramen plant trying to maximize profits for ramen, which sells for 10-25 cents per 3-4 ounce package, that’d probably be one of the ingredients I’d be trying to strictly control too. :slight_smile:

I’m not sure the exact machine used in that the parsley application but you can probably find one on a site such as this. You would need a metering system to control the flow of product and then some type of a pick-up to remove the parley sprig from the product stream. Introducing it into the finished product would be the easy part, a vacuum tube timed to release when the container is in position maybe. I would imagine a centrifugal type system for metering the parsley but there are a wide variety of innovative packaging solutions out there. The site linked above is just the tip of the iceberg. There are all sorts of interesting machines at packaging or automation trade shows.

And why is there always one French fry in my Burger King onion rings? Do they have a policy?

You mean the one curly fry in my box of regular fries. Yeah, I’m pretty sure they’ve got some kind of policy; their hope is that you go, “Oh, a curly fry? This tastes pretty good, I think I’ll order them next time.”

15 cents? Well, ain’t you fancy! The 10 cent packs do me just fine.

<chef hat>
As a professional chef, I would like to point out that a quarter ounce of dried parsley is a whole lot of parsley. In restaurants we get our dried herbs and spices, including dried parsley, in ~gallon-sized jars. That gallon-sized jar of dried parsley holds maybe 4 ounces of the herb. (Not at work today so can’t check to make sure).
</chef hat>

I meandered around the site a bit, didn’t easily find any definitive specs on just how small their metering systems could go. However, I did notice that they do drug assembly lines, too, where ultra-precise metering would be absolutely necessary. I’m guessing we may have the answer right there.

That leaves me with two questions:

  1. Why in the name of the Galloping Gourmet go to all the bother? It’s not like you can actually taste the parsley.

  2. Where are you guys finding 10 cent ramen? Little did I know I was living large paying a quarter apiece!

I’ve definitely seen sales where ramen was 10/$1, if not even cheaper. Given, it was a while ago. I haven’t actually bought or eaten ramen in at least five years. (It’s apparently not good for me and I have someone watching that kind of thing now…)

Before you get too impressed with the precision ramen packaging, last night I found a ramen package that had two entire seasoning packs in it.

And if you haven’t bought ramen in five years, you might get a bit of sticker shock the next time you see it. Nowadays, 4/$1 is the sale price (though admittedly it seems to always be on sale)


Or, rather … Salty!!!

So Chronos, did you accept the challenge and put both packets in the soup? Best Ramen Ever?

No, I saved it in case I find one without any. Or failing that, to use to season something else.