Ramen Rater
March 2, 2012 1:01 PM   Subscribe

The Ramen Rater blog has been reviewing ramen noodles for over ten years.

The Ramen Rater Top Ten List.
How I Eat My Noodles, including The Three Rules of The Instant Noodle.
posted by zamboni (40 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

 
His dedication is admirable, but I shudder to think of how much sodium and msg is coursing through his system.
posted by crunchland at 1:09 PM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, man, in college I used to live on Nong Shim Kimchi-flavored ramen. It's got a pretty good kick to it.
posted by griphus at 1:12 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is so relevant to my interests, it's kind of sad. College diet forever!
posted by brundlefly at 1:14 PM on March 2, 2012


Apparently, according to How I Eat My Noodles, he ADDS SALT AND PEPPER. Pepper, okay fine, but salt? OTOH this is a guy that saves the wrappers in an album, so, you know, maybe that's not the craziest thing.
posted by axiom at 1:14 PM on March 2, 2012


Explain Oriental flavor...
posted by hal9k at 1:16 PM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have an entire case of the Indomie Mi Goreng (#2 on his list) in my pantry. If you've only had Maruchan you don't know what you're missing.
posted by theodolite at 1:18 PM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


My favorite webcomic Sauceome's take on visiting Japan's Ramen museum:
A Day in Kamakura
Ground Level
Lower level 1 (2) (3)
posted by jillithd at 1:19 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sapporo Ichiban is the stuff for me. My body tends to reject the more common Maruchan/Nissin brands.
posted by anazgnos at 1:20 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Number 7 – Korea – Nong Shim Shin Ramyun

SO ANGRY NO LONGER VEGETARIAN
posted by RogerB at 1:21 PM on March 2, 2012


(If you live in Chicago, you can probably get anything on this site at Tai Nam, 4925 Broadway. Last aisle on the right.)
posted by theodolite at 1:22 PM on March 2, 2012


His dedication is admirable, but I shudder to think of how much sodium and msg is coursing through his system.

Well, evidence that either of these things leads to worse health outcomes is not very compelling.
posted by smorange at 1:24 PM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, aside from hypertension, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, osteoporosis, ulcers, gastric cancer, and asthma, it's a walk in the park.
posted by crunchland at 1:32 PM on March 2, 2012


I understand that some straw bale house builders are switching to ramen bales, because straw is not entirely without value.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:33 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Indomie all the way! Happy to see Indomie brands took the top two spots on his list (though I like the Satay flavors the best). Ichiban chow mein is my next favorite, so I was pleased to see it took fourth. I'll have to try the one he ranked third....
posted by painquale at 1:35 PM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Meh, we're all gonna die eventually crunchland, nothing's surer.

Wish the site was a bit easier to navigate and search, I'm trying to find his assessment of my favourite, Indomie's Mi Goreng.
posted by Jimbob at 1:35 PM on March 2, 2012


He gave Wei Wei "A" less than four stars. Well, no accounting for taste and all that.

And, of course, these are all instant noodles; real ramen is a pretty significantly different dish.
posted by jiawen at 1:35 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well there you go, thanks painquale, my love of Indomie is justified.
posted by Jimbob at 1:36 PM on March 2, 2012


this is a guy that saves the wrappers in an album

I don't know about you, but I love ramen wrappers. They are so colorful and there's such variety that I feel like they are Pokemon and I have to have them all. I have thought of taking pictures rather than keeping them, though.
posted by Tarumba at 1:37 PM on March 2, 2012


The inventor of instant noodles, Momofuku Ando, has died in Japan, aged 96, of a heart attack.

I bet 6 January is a dark day at the Ramen blog.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:43 PM on March 2, 2012


The only way to eat the Maruchan kind is dry, like a cracker. Or you could try this surprisingly excellent chocolate bar.

I'm a snob now; if my instant ramen bowl doesn't come with at least three flavor packets, at least one of which is liquid (chile oil!) I'm just not interested.
posted by Fnarf at 1:47 PM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


When I was little, I used to eat instant ramen raw like a snack. For a long time I thought I invented this until I met some other Asian-Americans who grew up doing the same thing. They had different methods like smashing the bag so the brick of noodles would break apart, then they would open the seasoning packets and sprinkle them inside the bag and then eat the raw noodles like Doritos. My method was not so advanced. I just chewed on the uncooked block of noodles like a caveman.
posted by cazoo at 1:53 PM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm a snob now; if my instant ramen bowl doesn't come with at least three flavor packets, at least one of which is liquid (chile oil!) I'm just not interested.

Ha, me too! Whenever I open some random Vietnamese brand and find a half-dozen packets I know I'm in for a good time. I especially love the ones with the wee packs of unidentifiable fluid with bits of brown & green floating in it.

One dry flavor packet of powder, meanwhile, is an insult. I can tolerate a single packet as long as it's a fluid or some kind of paste, but just powder? Blech. Not worth the trouble of opening.
posted by aramaic at 1:57 PM on March 2, 2012


we're all gonna die eventually crunchland -- Yeah, I really didn't mean to be a buzzkill. When you're in your teens and twenties, eating a diet rich in rocket fuel like this isn't such a big deal... heck, it made David Chang a millionaire.
posted by crunchland at 2:07 PM on March 2, 2012


Yeah, aside from hypertension, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, osteoporosis, ulcers, gastric cancer, and asthma, it's a walk in the park.

I'm not convinced. Koreans and Japanese consume far more salt, with far higher government recommendations, and have better health outcomes. Now, you can attribute this to other factors, and that's fine, but the fact is, of all the actually existing human diets, high salt diets don't fare badly. Maybe Koreans and Japanese would be even healthier if they cut the salt. But the real question is: would cutting the salt cause them to eat badly in other ways? In other words, is the salt content what allows these diets to be sustainable over the long term?

Likewise, we're told that butter is terrible for us, yet the French are overall fairly healthy. Maybe it's because of butter that French people eat the way they do. Maybe butter is what allows them to maintain their overall healthy diets. So too with salt.

The point is, you can't judge the health of a diet without looking at the whole thing, rather than one isolated variable.
posted by smorange at 2:10 PM on March 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


MSG is not an ingredient in all ramen. But, he addresses MSG in his blog and doesn't seem too worried about it.

Most pre-made soup is pretty damn salty if you haven't noticed. One of the nice things about instant ramen is that you don't have it all pre-mixed in; you can use 1/2 the packet if you like, which is something I often do.
posted by jabberjaw at 2:20 PM on March 2, 2012


My favorite instant ramen noodle trick:in the water as it's boiling before the noodles are put in, about a tablespoon's worth of Tabasco sauce. After the noodles are done, drain before eating. It warms them a little but it's subtle.
posted by JHarris at 2:33 PM on March 2, 2012


The largest meta-analysis of salt vs. cardiovascular disease risk studies concluded that there was insufficient evidence to advise people to cut down on salt to reduce cardiovascular disease risk.
posted by peacheater at 2:59 PM on March 2, 2012


I used to get whole boxes of the Indomie goreng in high school, which I would split with my Indonesian exchange student pal. After college I went absolutely nuts trying out the bazillion different instant noodles (lamb-flavor rice noodles in a yurt-shaped microwaveable bowl? YES PLEASE.) available in Beijing, but these days my love for extruded starch threads has diminished somewhat. This video comparing the digestion of processed ramen (and other processed foods) with that of handmade ramen illustrates one reason why I'm so squeamish about ramen these days.
posted by endermunkee at 3:02 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


My favourite are the Japanese ones with a gazillion different dried things and pretty white flowers with pink rings and stuff :)

Otoh, I am eternally grateful Indomie has made it to deepest Africa.
posted by infini at 3:27 PM on March 2, 2012


For any other Ramen fans out there, my AskMe about pimping Ramen had a lot of great answers.
posted by Think_Long at 3:32 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Real ramen in Japan > instant ramen.

Best English-language ramen blog: goramen.com
posted by gen at 3:47 PM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fried egg on ramen? Blasphemy!

Eggs in ramen must be soft-boiled, preferably salted in soy sauce.
posted by gen at 3:53 PM on March 2, 2012


It seems pretty odd that the top 5 of the "Ramen Rater Top 10" are not ramen at all.
posted by mek at 4:18 PM on March 2, 2012


I love going to United Noodles over in the Twin Cities and getting a wide variety of ramen and udon that i photograph for future reference. Yeah, the three packet or more ones have spoiled me, so much better and more enjoyable. When i have to make do with the cheap stuff i love to put dried veggies from Just Tomatoes in there and put some sriracha on top. Yum!

Real ramen in Japan > instant ramen.

Little hard to get that ramen without going there, hence, instant ones.

Speaking of Japanese ramen, i watched an episode of Cool Japan, and they showed all manner of ramen, some that blew my mind, like tomato ramen... O_o
posted by usagizero at 4:42 PM on March 2, 2012


The photos are making me hungry for instant noodles.

I am ambivalent on the MSG question. I'm sure it's both naturally occurring and hidden under other names in all kinds of foods, as he points out in that piece, but I also think that sometimes ramen-like foods have incredibly high doses of MSG, and that tends to make me feel not great.
posted by Forktine at 4:54 PM on March 2, 2012


When you're in your teens and twenties, eating a diet rich in rocket fuel like this isn't such a big deal...

I ate like this throughout my 20's. A friend and I once spent an entire summer trying every single instant ramen available at the local Asian grocery.

At 40 I was in the hospital with kidney failure and congestive heart failure directly related to severe hypertension. Death may come for us all, but if I had the choice between a gun to my head and undiagnosed kidney failure again, I'd take the bullet.

Coincidentally, I had just come home from a year in Japan. After a year on a strict low-sodium diet, you would never know that I was literally hours away from dialysis and a defibrillator 12 months earlier.

Not that I would specifically blame any one type of food. What I've learned now that I monitor my sodium intake is that pretty much all processed food has WAY too much sodium. Also, according to my doctors, while they can't pinpoint diet as a cause of my illness, they said that I was probably sick long before I realized it (they call hypertension the silent killer for a reason), and that amount of sodium I was taking in was like pouring gasoline on a fire.

I do miss ramen though.
posted by billyfleetwood at 7:21 PM on March 2, 2012


I love ramen. I love ramen for breakfast, with eggs cracked into the boiling pot. I love the crab curry ramen at Kumako Ramen in japantown San Jose. I love that instant ramen flavor packets contain sand. I love ramen.
posted by eddydamascene at 7:47 PM on March 2, 2012


If it's Korean, it's ramyeon, not ramen.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:48 PM on March 2, 2012


Not real food.
posted by stbalbach at 11:08 PM on March 2, 2012


This makes me hungry and a little hurky at the same time. I used to make "kitchen ramen", with an egg as well as anything else that had been kicking around the fridge, but my stomach (also my tastebuds) just won't handle that weird fried-noodle taste any longer.

MSG is my friend. I add tamari to everything, mmmm.
posted by zinful at 1:36 AM on March 3, 2012


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