PCT Food Review: Dinner Pt. 2

Are we still working our way through dinner? Geez! Only one thing to do: power on.

Next up, ramen.

Shoyu Ramen/ Spice Miso Ramen:

Justification: I feel like we liked ramen (good amazing homemade noodle ramen) before it was cool. I mean now there are ramen houses all over Seattle. But our favorite restaurant in Seattle before we left for the trail was a little ramen joint in Wallingford and we wanted to try to take our ramen game to the next level on the PCT in honor of their amazing broths and noodles. That wast the goal at least.

Description: Top Ramen is a very popular meal for thru hikers, mostly because it is super cheap and super light and super salty. It is also super devoid of any sort of nutrition (sorry hiker trash). We wanted to take things to a new level with two different flavors of ramen, a shoyu ramen seasoned with soy sauce and a spicy miso ramen flavored with mellow yellow miso and sambal oelek. We used a bullion cube as the base, soy sauce packets for the shoyu ramen and a miso/chili paste leather for the spicy miso ramen. Remember that leathers are just dehydrated sauces or pastes. Then we dehydrated a bevy of toppings including: bamboo shoots, cilantro, green onion, and corn. Instead of using crappy Top Ramen noodle we bought organic dehydrated ramen noodles from Whole Foods.

On Trail Preparation: Basically throw everything but the noodles in a pot until its a soup, then add the noodles until they are cooked. This one doesn’t really use the pot cozy, it cooks really fast.

Pros: It is super duper light.

Cons: It never tasted as good as we wanted it too. First of all, I hated the organic noodles. I would rather eat the shitty Top Ramen noodles. There is no bite to them or chewy texture. Second of all, the flavors were always a little off. Ramen is understandably hard, at home it takes hours to get a good broth, so emulating that on trail in a couple of minutes is nigh impossible.

Verdict: I am determined to make this happen on our next thru hike. Just you wait, I am going to be making the most bomb trail ramen you have ever seen. This time I’m going to test it at home first though…

Wonderful campsite for our second night in the Sierras.

Pasta with Red Sauce:

Justification: Okay, I am just going to clump all the pastas with red sauces into one category. What is there to justify, pasta is high in carbs, sauces are high in veggies. It’s a win win and usually there is a ton of food to be had.

Description: We utilized a wide variety of noodle types throughout our hike. From Trader Joe’s we bought dried ravioli and tortellini, then we grabbed some gnocchi from QFC and angle hair pasta from Whole Foods. We also bought a wide array of different flavored red sauces from Whole Foods. We dehydrated the red sauces into leathers and dehydrated some extra veggies to throw into the mix like mushrooms and zucchini. In order to get Kyle to let me dehydrate mushrooms I had to chop them up reeeeeeeally small.

On Trail Preparation: Rehydrating anything with noodles and sauce can be tricky on trail. You have the get the sauce rehydrated but leave enough water to also rehydrate the noodles. This took practice and became somewhat of an art. Typically I would start by getting the water boiling and then tearing the leather up into very small pieces. The noodles would go in first and then the leather would follow. After everything had gotten good and hot I would stick it all in the cozy to encourage rehydrating. Usually after a couple of minutes a good stir would break up the sauce and make it nice and smooth.

Pros: These pasta meals were typically pretty awesome sauce although the awesomeness level varied based on noodle type. The angle hair pasta noodles were by far the best and I wish we had made more meals using them. They cook super fast and are delicious. Also you can snack on them before you cook them. The tortellini and the ravioli were okay, but no matter how well you cooked them they always felt a little al dente. The gnocchi was never enough food and it was the heaviest out of all of them, so probably not worth it.

Cons: Really no cons to this meal except the varying pasta types.

Verdict: We will definitely do more of these in the future. They are also super easy to prep, making they perfect candidates for weekend backpacking trips.

Curries with Grains:

Justification: Once you figure out how powerful a leather is and how well it rehydrates it’s hard not to want to turn everything into one. That is basically what happened here.

Description:  Every time we went to the store we would pick out a curry or a simmer sauce to dehydrate and then we would also buy a grain to pair with it. We ended up with all sorts of interesting combos, like Madras Curry with Forbidden Rice or Butter Masala with Butahn Red Rice. We also tried to dehydrate veggies to go with each bunch like cilantro, asparagus, potatoes, and green beans. To some of the meals we added freeze dried chicken!

On Trail Preparation: Similarly to the pasta the challenge with this meal was mostly figuring out how much water it was going to take. Too much water and it’s soupy. Too little water and everything doesn’t rehydrate properly. I’m sure there is a science to it, I just don’t know what it is.

Pros: These meals were yummy, light and typically pretty filling. Often we wished for more, but not because the original serving had been lacking, because we were just insatiably hungry.

Cons: No cons.

Verdict: I highly recommend these kinds of dinner. They are easy to make and require almost no front end prep.

Our first dinner while night hiking. This photo was probably taken around 2am.

Goodness we ate so many things on trail! Some amazing, some disastrous. For more posts (that we actually wrote from the trail) about our food check out these two:

Lindsey’s Hiker Kitchen

Lindsey’s Hiker Kitchen Part 2

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As Edward Abbey said, "An indoor life is the next best thing to a premature burial."

2 thoughts on “PCT Food Review: Dinner Pt. 2

  1. Whenever I make dehydrated sauce, I always dry them to the flakey point and then give them a whirl in a food processor, resulting in sauce powder (best to add the vegetables after doing this). It hydrates in a minute or two, if not seconds. I just store the pasta and the sauce in the same ziploc and hydrate them at the same time.

    As for the RAMEN… Shitty cheap noodles are best for texture, but I always add a fistful of dried veggies. My favorite combo is mushrooms, cabbage, ginger, green onion, and jalapeno, with yellow curry paste dried and powdered and coconut milk powder. Add a bit of olive oil and lime crystals in the end… YUM!!! <3 <3 <3

    1. I just discovered these amazing fresh ramen noodles at whole foods… i am wondering if I can dehydrate them… that is my new mission!

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