If you visit the Midwest, I challenge you to find a single potluck, family reunion, church picnic, or holiday meal that doesn’t involve some version of today’s crunchy Asian Ramen Salad. It is ubiquitous. It is my childhood. It is perhaps the best, most-addictive side dish ever created.
How do I explain this oriental ramen noodle salad to those of you who didn’t grow up in the Midwest?
If you’ve never eaten crunchy Ramen Salad, my hunch is that you might be skeptical of crumbling an uncooked ramen noodle packet (yes, I do mean the same ramen noodle packet that helped you survive college) over a bowl of bagged cabbage coleslaw.
You might not believe me when I tell you that canned mandarin oranges are mandatory.
Make Ramen Salad for your next potluck and you’ll see I speak truth.
I can’t specifically pinpoint the one single item that makes this salad so enduringly popular and outrageously addictive.
I suspect it lies somewhere between the crispness of the coleslaw, the toastiness of the almonds, the sweetness of the dressing, and the fact that crumbling uncooked ramen noodles over a dish and then declaring it a salad feels like a bit of a win.
I do know that as soon as I spy the Asian Ramen Salad on the buffet line, I barrel down upon it. This is the moment: seize it before it’s gone. (more…)