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You didn’t ask for it, but Cup Noodles now has s’more-flavored ramen

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A new flavor of Cup Noodles ramen is stirring up mixed reactions as it goes on sale in the United States ahead of the July Fourth holiday: “Campfire S’mores.”

The Nissin Foods brand announced the limited-edition snack Monday, intriguing and horrifying customers simultaneously.

“Our campiest flavor yet,” Original Cup Noodles said in a social media post. “With no campfire necessary, consumers can satisfy that need for more s’mores anytime,” Nissin Foods, the company behind Cup Noodles, said in a statement.

our campiest flavor yet

Cup Noodles Campfire S’mores is available exclusively online and in-stores at Walmart nationwide. pic.twitter.com/G5tJnukyHT

— Original Cup Noodles (@OrigCupNoodles) July 1, 2024

“Whaaaaaaat ???” one user tweeted. “We went there …” the company replied.

Another user panned the new snack as “an abomination,” while one person declared that they would “have to give these a try.”

“Best believe this will be in my cart when I see it,” one person wrote on Facebook.

The product, which is selling for $1.18 at Walmart, mixes ramen with chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallow flavors, the Walmart website states, adding that the snack features “a touch of smokiness to capture that campfire s’mores experience.”

Sara Aiko, founder of travel consultancy Curated Kyoto, told The Washington Post on Wednesday that while Japanese people might find the new dish “intriguing and amusing,” the products is “unlikely to win many fans” in the country.

The Japanese are “no strangers to creative food fusions,” said Aiko, referring to a culinary landscape that has witnessed “innovations like sushi tacos, tempura Snickers bars and cream cheese-filled rice balls.”

Japan, Aiko noted, has “a history of embracing and reinterpreting international foods — such as ramen, which originated in China, and tempura, which came from Portugal.” The Japanese are “accustomed to culinary adaptation and innovation,” she said.

But Aiko said that some Japanese people “will likely regard this as a novelty rather than a serious culinary contender,” considering the Cup Noodles fusion “not Japanese.”

Outside of Japan, food trends — including unconventional flavors — have long sparked debate around the world, from pumpkin spice Oreos to candy corn variations.

In 2018, Heinz promoted “mayochup,” a blend of mayonnaise and ketchup, sparking an international dispute. Last month, Denmark recalled several varieties of South Korean brand Buldak’s viral “fire chicken noodles,” pushing them further into the spotlight.

Some past creations have led to fierce debate about cultural appropriation in the culinary world.

“The world has evolved so much with ‘fusion’ food that we have to let go of being precious as then everyone gets offended,” Suzie Lee, a chef and cooking presenter in Northern Ireland, where her family runs a Chinese takeaway, said Wednesday.

She will not be in a hurry to try the new Cup Noodle flavor, however. “I veer away from anything like this,” she said. “Nontraditional flavors play too much with my sensory brain.”

Lee said she came from a generation that “grew up eating Cup Noodles” and that she still “loves them as a treat.” Lee, however, will not be in a hurry to try the new Cup Noodles flavor. “Give me an original or seafood Cup Noodle any day,” she added.

Lee stressed that she is “not the gatekeeper of Chinese cuisine” and that she likes to focus on her own path in the industry without judging others.

“I just know I would not be making a sweet marshmallow chocolate noodle dish,” she said.

Lee speculated that creators of the new Cup Noodles may be trying to “entice” the younger demographic with such a sweet flavor, while Japanese chef Akemi Yokoyama said in an email Wednesday that while it was “difficult” for her to weigh in because she has not tasted the product, “it sounds like a desperate attempt to find a new market.”

Yokoyama said that while she welcomes “renovation and creativity,” there is a boundary “that Japanese people are not keen to cross: mixing traditional savory dishes with sweets.”

Despite some skepticism, Yokoyama did not completely write off the new s’mores ramen fusion.

“You never know, it might be tasty, so good luck to them,” she said.

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