Instant Ramen Power Rankings
January 6, 2017 1:25 PM   Subscribe

Lucky Peach ranks instant ramen - "after 17 packages of ramen, I couldn’t eat anymore. My feet were swollen like they’d been on a transcontinental flight. It had to stop somewhere."
posted by needled (58 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
Shin Ramyun is clearly the superior choice but it has disappearing and reappearing beef extract in its ingredients list which has vexed my vegetarian self for years.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:27 PM on January 6, 2017 [12 favorites]


Instant ramen is proof that there is a God and that he loves us.
posted by Keith Talent at 1:33 PM on January 6, 2017 [5 favorites]


I generally prefer Shoyu based Instant Ramen for my occasional sodium binge but that Instant Tonkutsu Ramen with 138% of your daily allowance of sodium sounds amazing. Although I don't see how instant Ramen could ever replicate the OMG this is insanely hot mouth feel of actually Tonkutsu broth.
posted by vuron at 1:33 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


I can attest that the MyKuali Penang White Curry really is that good. I first got it while I had a pretty bad cold and it was just the thing to clear out my sinuses.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:34 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


A lot of my friends lived on ramen when we were in university (Ichiban is the brand I remember them buying the most of), but I could never get into it. I guess it's better if you add stuff, but on its own...the first time I tried it I thought it tasted like Lipton Cup A Soup, only even saltier somehow.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:39 PM on January 6, 2017 [3 favorites]


I used to make ramen but not use the powder. Just make the noodles and add canned green beans and soy or braggs.

It was as close to healthy as I could get at the time.
posted by sio42 at 1:42 PM on January 6, 2017


I'm almost ten years out of college and still eat the shrimp maruchan cup noodle from time to time. Those little shrimps are so tasty. Can't believe it wasn't rated.
posted by monologish at 1:43 PM on January 6, 2017 [2 favorites]


[Ctrl]+[F] "mi goreng" 0 of 0 results found

This is a grievous wrong. MeFites, please allow me to speak on the glories of Indomie Mi Goreng: 1 brick of noodles + 1 'dry' duo-pack incl. bumbu powder and fried shallots + 1 'wet' tri-pack incl. sambal manis pedas (chili sauce), kecap manis (sweet soy), and fried shallot oil = instant ramen heaven.

Ramen Rater agrees: "The flavor is stuff of legend; it's just excellent!" It's also vegan, and you can get a case of 30 delivered to your doorstep for around 15 bucks. I rest my case.
posted by amnesia and magnets at 1:44 PM on January 6, 2017 [41 favorites]


Sapporo Ichiban chow mein or bust.
posted by capricorn at 1:45 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


i have a few tins and jars of this and that that I use to make a ramen-esque broth - chicken ramen powder, better than bullion, tom kha paste, etc - and my egg game is pretty good, and I got a slicer for carrots... but the noodles vex me. I want access to authentic, pre-cooked ramen like that california company produces, but I can't find a local retailer.

The best I found so far are these attractive packages of organic noodles. About six servings bundled together into three bunches using paper bands, in a flat package.

I prefer crinkly ramen so I was suspicious about the straight. But the straight noodles are actually square, which gives them an excellent mouthfeel. The texture is spot on. And the flavor.... is very, very good.
posted by rebent at 1:47 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


This is a grievous wrong. MeFites, please allow me to speak on the glories of Indomie Mi Goreng: 1 brick of noodles + 1 'dry' duo-pack incl. bumbu powder and fried shallots + 1 'wet' tri-pack incl. sambal manis pedas (chili sauce), kecap manis (sweet soy), and fried shallot oil = instant ramen heaven.

Yes! Poach an egg while you're boiling the noodles and you got a pretty tasty meal. They're really good for instant dry noodles, but when you want soup, you gotta have soup.
posted by monologish at 1:49 PM on January 6, 2017


I used to eat the Instant Lunch ramen cup from time to time at my last job when I could barely pay my rent. Not the most appetizing.

It’s not something you want to make a habit of, but it’ll satisfy in a pinch.

Yeah, even the description sounds like the job too. *chills*
posted by strelitzia at 1:51 PM on January 6, 2017


Shin Ramyun is clearly the superior choice but it has disappearing and reappearing beef extract in its ingredients list which has vexed my vegetarian self for years.

Yeah, I've noticed that (I was a vegetarian for many years).

Shin Black (or regular Shin Ramyun) with crushed garlic and toasted sesame oil added along with the spice packets. Chopped green onions and another chopped green like broccoli, gai lan or bok choy in the bowl that you're going to dump the hot mixture into, with a few chunks of silken tofu thrown in. When I can find it, I like to add some Y&Y Vegetarian Oyster Sauce (made from mushrooms), because, hey, it needs that extra extra hit of sodium, right?

only even saltier somehow

I think this is exactly why I keep it around as a lazy at-home-alone meal. Mmmm. Salty.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:53 PM on January 6, 2017 [3 favorites]


Shin Ramyun +1.

I was in my local Chinese food shop re-upping last month when I saw that the price of each packet had increased to 99p from 89p. What gives? I asked. Brexit, he sadly replied.
posted by adrianhon at 1:58 PM on January 6, 2017


No Nong Shim? Not even a review, then.

There was a time — a time I'm not proud of, but a time I won't deny — that I was doing pretty well if ¼ of the noodles made it into soup. Such tasty knitted crunchy noodle toupees craunch craunch
posted by scruss at 2:10 PM on January 6, 2017 [2 favorites]


Shin Ramyun is definitely the best, since it is the only one available where I live. Even so, unless you're doing a carefully controlled taste test there's not much point making it without adding anything. I usually put in a leaf of kale and an egg.
posted by sfenders at 2:14 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


Maybe it doesn't count cause it's technically Yakisoba, but I'm bummed not to see UFO instant yakisoba, which I will argue tooth and nail for as The Best instant noodle out there.
posted by Itaxpica at 2:15 PM on January 6, 2017 [3 favorites]


I've never gotten into the habit of adding extra ingredients to my ramen. Frozen udon noodles, dashi, and soy are not much more work than dried ramen noodles and spice packets.

Ramen's for breaking up into pieces and eating like chips. Or for taking with me someplace.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 2:17 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


The Manethralls are the best Ramen but they couldn't function without the Winhomes so props to them too
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:21 PM on January 6, 2017 [4 favorites]


prize bull octorok: I love you.
posted by hippybear at 2:32 PM on January 6, 2017 [2 favorites]


20 comments in and nobody has linked the Ramen Rater? This man is, without a doubt, the definitive source for instant ramen rating. He has reviewed and documented in excess of 2,200 unique instant ramens.
posted by pravit at 2:48 PM on January 6, 2017 [5 favorites]


No Nong Shim?

Oh yes indeed...

Nong Shim makes Shin Ramyun and Shin Black!

I also recently got into their Zha Wang.

Every time I go into T&T there's some end aisle display of one Nong Shim product on sale in four or six packs, so I've been picking up ones I haven't tried before. Because why not:

Chewy vegetable soup flake makes the taste better

• Big soup flake will trigger your appetite
(Onions, Cabbage, Pea)

How to eat Zha Wang deliciously

• Put fried egg and cucumber on top of finished Zha Wang.

It will taste much better

• Put soft-boiled egg that is cut in half on top of finished Zha Wang!


Not ramen, but kinda related...I've been enjoying Hime Green Tea Soba Noodles lately. They're awesome with a bit of soy sauce and mirin and not much else.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:54 PM on January 6, 2017


the Ramen Rater

Whoa. Awesome.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:02 PM on January 6, 2017


Instant ramen is proof that there is a God and that he loves us.

Ramen farts are proof that love has costs.
posted by srboisvert at 3:23 PM on January 6, 2017 [3 favorites]


Sapporo Ichiban chow mein or bust.

Oh my god you just reminded me of a thing that I loved in my 20s but forgot completely as demographic changes ravaged me and the city I live in

This must be what that guy in England who can't form new long term memories feels like when his wife visits
posted by danny the boy at 3:27 PM on January 6, 2017 [2 favorites]


Lots of ramens here I haven't tried and frankly I was just expecting this to be a ranking of all ramen flavors, but I can't get behind any ranking that rates Maruchan Chili ramen so low on the delicious scale (behind roasted chicken flavor? wtf?!?). seriously it is the best flavor. random people in the ramen aisle of grocery stores across america agree with me.
posted by likeatoaster at 3:43 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


I used to always go for Nong Shim. But since becoming a vegetarian (Nong Shim is unclear about its status), I go for Paldo Hwa Noodle, which is just as good (but different).
posted by miyabo at 3:46 PM on January 6, 2017


> 20 comments in and nobody has linked the Ramen Rater?

He's the subject of the first sentence in TFA, so people who read the article probably thought it was redundant.
posted by at by at 4:00 PM on January 6, 2017


I prefer the MyKuali Tom Yum to the White Curry but both are very good. They also make a shrimp ramen which is super shrimpy. The only way I can eat it is if I don't drink the soup (well usually I'll eat the noodles only first and then take small sips of the soup at the end because my mouth is used to the shrimpiness by then). There is a brand in Japan (Allied Thai) which makes great Tom Yum and Green Curry ramen. Actually they make great ramen soup, the noodles are decidedly average, but the soup puts them over the top. In my mind I think theirs is better but I would have to try them side-by-side to know for sure.

In the summer the Nong Shim Bibim Naeng Myeon and Myojo Chukazanmai Hiyashi Chuka instant noodles are my favorites. They both have cold noodles. The one downside of the Hiyashi Chuka noodles is that you need to add at least some sliced cucumber to make it proper which is a bit more effort that you should have to make for an instant ramen.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 4:21 PM on January 6, 2017


Shopping for ramen is just depressing if you're a vegetarian. You can be facing a whole wall of ramen and it's all like "Roast Ox Flavor" or whatever. Even the "vegetable" flavors have beef or chicken in them.
posted by jabah at 4:37 PM on January 6, 2017 [3 favorites]


My local international market of colossal size has a full aisle of ramen covering a number of country's imports. There are vast tracts of product that reduce me to illiteracy, nearly entirely in Korean except sometimes something like "mild!" or "spacy!" which is WTF but helpful. Usually a big cartoon chili is a good indicator of what's inside but some of those, man. Like in the seaweed aisle I let the specials dictate my purchase because I can't figure it out except NOMNOM. Too much great junk food there :(
posted by Ogre Lawless at 4:46 PM on January 6, 2017


People, blend the flavor packets, e.g. Sriracha and beef. Use about a third of each packet, plus like a little dribble of sesame oil.
posted by Caxton1476 at 4:47 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


But a question: why do they say to add the flavor packet at theend of the cooking time? That seems wrong and I add it just as boiling starts, about 10 seconds before the noodles.
posted by Caxton1476 at 4:50 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


20 comments in and nobody has linked the Ramen Rater?

Yeah, and amnesia and magnets mentioned Ramen Rater in the eighth comment, so.
posted by but no cigar at 4:53 PM on January 6, 2017


But a question: why do they say to add the flavor packet at theend of the cooking time? That seems wrong and I add it just as boiling starts, about 10 seconds before the noodles.

Wow, I was just going to ask that. I always empty the seasoning packets/oils/dried vegetables into my pot right after I add the water.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 4:56 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


Oh hey, what are some good vegetarian ramens with no peppers or mushrooms in them?
posted by sebastienbailard at 5:25 PM on January 6, 2017


For vegetarian ramen, I suggest looking for instant noodles at Indian grocery stores - the noodles are ramen-like, although they won't be in broth if you follow cooking instructions, more like a thin sauce.

The Korean ramyun invariably have seafood or meat mixed in for flavoring. Hot red pepper will be difficult to avoid, unless the ramyun labeled as being 'Mild' or it's obvious from the picture in the package that the sauce or broth does not have a red color. Mushrooms if present will usually be in the dried vegetable packet.
posted by needled at 5:50 PM on January 6, 2017


Choung Soo Mul Naengmyeon agagag*Homer drooling noises*
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:15 PM on January 6, 2017


To be fair, I doubt beef ramen has much, if any actual cow in it.
posted by Dmenet at 7:28 PM on January 6, 2017 [2 favorites]


It is my belief, as a frequent consumer and connoisseur of noodles, that the instructions to add the flavor packet at the end of the cooking process is to prevent the denaturation of proteins within the powdered soup packet.

You may notice that with many instant noodles, the final product has a punchier soup when the packet is added at the end versus the beginning. However, there's something to be said about some instant noodles tasting better with the addition of the soup flavoring packet's contents in the beginning of the cooking cycle: flavors get absorbed into the noodle itself.

I encourage you to try cooking your noodles both ways, and seeing which you like better. I certainly love the taste of Neoguri with the soup base added early, compared to, say, Sapporo Ichiban, which I like better when the powdered soup is added at the end.

You may want to keep a spreadsheet of how you like each type of instant noodle: apart from adding soup packet early/late in the process, how does the addition, say, of egg or rice cakes add to or detract from the flavor? Does starting with less water compensate for the loss of flavor when the soup has been boiling for a long time?

Or don't, and just enjoy it however it's made. You can avoid the dilution of flavor by eating it raw, as detailed here.

Now, let us pour out a token 10cc of soup as lamentation for the disappearance of the seawood square from Neoguri. Anyway, if anyone's looking for great instant noodle recipes, feel free to hit me up.
posted by herrdoktor at 7:36 PM on January 6, 2017 [7 favorites]


I don't know who the hell all you people are who add things like fresh vegetables to your instant ramen, but I hiss at you from behind my sodium-inflated cheeks.

Flour. Oil. Salt. Hot water. How dare you mess with the holy quaternity.
posted by ZaphodB at 7:36 PM on January 6, 2017 [2 favorites]


I'm a bad consumer, I still eat the 25 cent ramen at least once a month and I can well afford not to. Sometimes, you just crave that salt hit though. It's the fettuccine of ...something.
posted by taterpie at 7:53 PM on January 6, 2017 [5 favorites]


I remember a college friend opening my eyes to deliciousness with Nong Shim many years ago, was pleased as hell to find it again in the aisles of Uwajimaya.

I try to keep a couple of the Nong Shim Black cups in my desk for emergencies when I'm busy working but need nutrition. Well, salt and calories is like nutrition, I keep telling myself.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 8:38 PM on January 6, 2017


Nong Shim is too spicy for me, I like MAMA and Nissin Demae.
posted by rhizome at 8:53 PM on January 6, 2017


likeatoaster: "Lots of ramens here I haven't tried and frankly I was just expecting this to be a ranking of all ramen flavors, but I can't get behind any ranking that rates Maruchan Chili ramen so low on the delicious scale (behind roasted chicken flavor? wtf?!?). seriously it is the best flavor. random people in the ramen aisle of grocery stores across america agree with me."

I never thought I would be backing an something resembling but entirely unlike an appliance, but he/she/it IS correct. Also, given an option between Maruchan and Nissin, only a fool chooses Nissin.

fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit: "I remember a college friend opening my eyes to deliciousness with Nong Shim many years ago, was pleased as hell to find it again in the aisles of Uwajimaya.

I try to keep a couple of the Nong Shim Black cups in my desk for emergencies when I'm busy working but need nutrition. Well, salt and calories is like nutrition, I keep telling myself.
"

And this coming from someone who can only eat fifteen schnitzengruben! What do you know of nutrition??
posted by Samizdata at 9:33 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


Also, no Nong Shim where I live. There is only Nissin and Maruchan.
posted by Samizdata at 9:33 PM on January 6, 2017


I crave instant ramen more often than I care to admit, and it makes me really happy to find vegetarian varieties!

Vegan Soon Ramen is pretty much the only ramen I eat now... it's a little on the spicy side, but satisfies that soup/sodium fix.
posted by estherbester at 9:58 PM on January 6, 2017 [2 favorites]


Shin Ramyun + diced hot pepper + queso fresco = heaven
posted by clorox at 5:25 AM on January 7, 2017


When I was pregnant, I went through an instant ramen phase. I'd crave ramen twice a day for several months.
Also, something like ten pickled garlic stuffed olives for breakfast.
It was insane.

No idea why Baby Nom required that much salt, but she turned out all right.

And I still love ramen (MAMA brand).
posted by Omnomnom at 5:43 AM on January 7, 2017 [3 favorites]


> To be fair, I doubt beef ramen has much, if any actual cow in it.

The fancier varieties of Korean ramen very much have animal in the broth, if not also in the packet of dehydrated sprinkles.

It's mostly the Japanese-branded ramen sold in the U.S. that rely almost exclusively on artificial flavorings.
posted by ardgedee at 7:39 AM on January 7, 2017 [1 favorite]


On Top Ramen "Oriental Flavor":

It’s actually one of the better flavors of Top Ramen. By way of comparison, I licked my own arm to see if the tastes were similar. Disappointingly, they were not.

One wonders in which direction this disappointment went...
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:51 AM on January 7, 2017 [1 favorite]


Following up on the thread winner, amnesia and magnets, i will say that the best way to eat it (Mi Goreng) is to follow the serving suggestion on the front of the package, and top it off with a fried, sunny-side up OR over-easy egg (OR TWO~!?). When you break the yolk and it seeps into the ramen beneath, hooo boy... truly BEST RAMEN!!
posted by some loser at 10:51 AM on January 7, 2017 [1 favorite]


My absolute favorite used to be Yeo's Hot Curry Ramen. Shrimp or Beef. Of course it was FAR too hot for my kids to eat. They preferred Nissan. I always threw in a handful or two of mixed frozen vegetables, or dried vegetables if we were traveling.
Sadly I haven't seen Yeo's since we left San Francisco. There was a halal Malaysian brand called weirdly enough 'Mexi-Noodles' which disappeared from the local IGA I used to shop at. They were decent. Yes WAY too much salt with ramen. So I don't eat them. Mr. Roquette can't have them ever. When we're being bad now, it's fried turkey pepperoni with fried eggs.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 10:59 AM on January 7, 2017


I found frozen ramen recently and had my mind blown.

For instant , I prefer kimchi flavored nongshim for my quick fix.

I generally add green onion , mushroom, an egg and a few pieces of kimchi , but I'll eat it as is too.
posted by AlexiaSky at 2:34 PM on January 7, 2017


No need to use a pan. If you have a hot water kettle then just open up the ramen pack into a bowl, dump your boiling hot water and then cover the bowl with a plate. If you want to be fancy then crack an egg with the ramen and have the egg poach with the broth. This works even with multi sauce pack ramen.
posted by jadepearl at 5:42 PM on January 7, 2017 [1 favorite]


I love that equation! It encompasses everything wonderful about science and math: reductive, inscrutable, misleading, and pointless.
posted by Chitownfats at 1:43 AM on January 8, 2017


Also: I have trouble working up an appetite for instant ramen ever since reading about that ex-convict writing a ramen cookbook in which he reveals one of the classic prison recipes: toilet water in the container, then cooked on a radiator for 5 or 6 hours. Something like that. Yum!
posted by Chitownfats at 1:52 AM on January 8, 2017


I have just discovered Mamee Monster Noodle Snacks - aka tiny ramen pucks designed for snacking. Yes!
posted by scruss at 3:46 PM on February 4, 2017


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