Snack Breaker is a bi-weekly series to highlight new and limited time treats in Japan. We’re here to check out the what’s fresh on the shelves of your local “conbini” and let you know what’s worth spending your hard earned yen on.
Yakisoba “Gekikara MAX END”
Where To Buy: Convenience stores across Japan
¥¥¥: 181 yen
On September 6, the Hokkaido region of Japan suffered a substantial earthquake that also led to landslides and power outages. Supermarkets and convenience stores were entirely bought out of their food by panicking citizens. Well, almost entirely bought out. One thing seemed to stay even in the face of a large natural disaster: Peyoung Yakisoba’s Gekikara (extremely spicy) MAX END instant noodles. In fact, Japanese social media quickly picked up on the trend and many pictures of the phenomenon began to circulate on Twitter.
— 長田直樹 (@Naoki_Osada) September 6, 2018
The warning at the bottom reads, “The spiciness is extremely strong, children and people adverse to spicy foods are advised to eat at their own risk.”
It was the perfect snack to try for our readers. Taking off the ominous black wrapper reveals a regular and plain looking instant yakisoba box. Once that is opened, you find the magic inside: special sauce that you don’t want to squirt anywhere near your eyes. There’s also freeze dried cabbage and meat-like bits that will reach their full culinary potential when hot water is added.
After adding the water, you have three minutes to contemplate whether or not you’re really ready to face something that’s called MAX END. The package of hot sauce smells very vinegary when opened and it wasn’t immediately reminiscent of any American varieties. Slathering it over the noodles gave them a distinctly darker appearance, but it wasn’t nearly as dark as the original packaging inferred. The first bite was doable, but the flavor really hit a few seconds after. Hiccups followed almost immediately, brought on by the spiciness of the noodles. They are pretty damn spicy.
Shoveling in the yakisoba seemed to be the best method for consuming them. Taking any time would give the sting a chance to set in around the mouth and make the next bite all the more painful. The trial concluded with about 20% of the noodles remaining—sometimes you just have to know your limits. With significant burning pain around my lips and mouth, I found the best way to recover from this snack was ice cream. It is recommended you have it on hand should you try this spicy instant meal yourself.