Best Ramen Instant Noodles In Japan – You’re stuck at home ordering food online and all you need is a 24-pack of shelf-stable nostalgia, but the instant ramen that got you through college sold out days ago.
There’s a crazy wild world of instant noodles out there, and most of them are better than Maruchan and Top Ramen. Some are so good that even a picky restaurant critic can’t resist keeping a couple in their pantry.
Best Ramen Instant Noodles In Japan
Even Amazon’s large selection is dwarfed by sites specializing in instant noodles, including Ramen Place, 24/7 Japanese Candy and Asian Food Grocer. Availability can be quite difficult while everyone is stocking up, and there are literally hundreds of styles out there. Most of Amazon’s inventory is bulk boxes, and retail sites even let you order individual packages, most of which cost anywhere from $0.50-$3, except for the best ones.
Easy Mushroom Ramen
In this yellow bag, Shaanxi’s culinary pride, biangbiangmian—has been reduced to a pile of sticky, gelatinous noodles with the taste of a petroleum product and the texture of toadstool. Producer’s Tip: Yes, we all know where most of the “flavor” in instant noodles comes from. But maybe mix all the spices instead of dividing them into individual packages? No one wants to rip open a plastic bag of clear viscous liquid so they can dress their noodles in a drizzle of MSG-rich brine.
You know those old, puffy rice cakes that we touted as health foods in the days before carbs were bad? Like beige, lumpy hockey pucks, but with less flavor? Imagine one of them slowly soaking wet, melting into a mushy noodle and flat broth.
This soup contains clams, crabs, squid, pollock, clams, oysters, sand lance, sea squirt, shrimp and tuna. You know what it doesn’t contain? Lobster – or taste, for that matter.
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I can’t tell you how many times over the years I’ve grabbed this off the shelf as I walked by. What’s cooler than kung-fu noodles? And look at that brave little chicken! Unfortunately, this turned out to be the sad trombone of my instant noodle. For all the strength and power the name suggests, it tastes like water with a hint of MSG. What a bloody disappointment.
The name might conjure up dreams of those sour, spicy, bubbly little fermented vegetable dishes, but the reality is more like standard-issue cup o’ noodles with a chili heat. It’s ineffective, but if you like Korean food, you can’t even find this itch, let alone scratch it.
Excuse me, like Mao, amirite? (Rhyme shot.) A package of dry instant noodles that includes draining before adding seasoning, this tastes like a kid made with a full run of the spice cabinet. There’s actually some flavor here, which is more than I can say for some of the bowls further down this list, but it pains me to think these fluffy noodles will be associated with someone’s mother. You deserve better, Mom.
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The packaging is sexy, the script shows a lack of MSG and non-GMO ingredients, and the artwork on the cup evokes fresh aromatics. But in terms of taste, this is a step above the bottom tier – a powdery soup base with a bit more sweetness and depth than most, and spinach noodles without much texture. A small packet of clove oil gives a good boost.
I’m not sure you’ll think of a lobster as soon as you taste this. Or after a few minutes. Or ever. But as cheap ramen gets, it’s got a nice round of spice and seafood funk to it. The seaweed is a nice addition, and the Lilliputian kamaboko flakes – tiny pieces of fishcake smaller than a dime and no thicker than a postage stamp – are absolutely ridiculous.
For the cheaper end of the spectrum, the noodles are standard issue, and its mix of Thai aromatics is messy and vague. Still, this has some appeal as a spicy sour bomb, even if it’s definitely one note. Not enough tamarind? best wishes! You have found your soup.
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I don’t need to say Lucky Me! My faith in broth has been restored, but they throw out powdered broth better than I thought. No one will mistake this for a Filipino bone marrow stew, as it looks (or any good soup). But this smooth, beefy meat is rounder and richer than most, and lacks the pungent, artificial saltiness that usually accompanies powdered broth. Bonus: I got mine for two bucks, which is stupid cheap. Almost suspicious.
Those dreaming of thick, rich Japanese curry roux should temper their expectations. Pre-cooked shelf-stable udon is a little rubbery and the dry spice packet turns it into a light curry broth rather than a hearty curry stew. Still, taken on its own terms, this is a bowl of spicy, aromatic soup with delicious noodles.
It’s not fancy, but I love the sheer simplicity of this. It’s a dry noodle like mama pad kee mao, but this one is modeled on Japanese yakusoba – a tangle of thin noodles with a sweet dollop of soy, Worcestershire and oyster sauce, and a small sprinkling of powdered seaweed.
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It starts out as nothing special—standard noodles in a broth that doesn’t embody the porky depth of tonkotsu as it vaguely suggests. But then you add the black garlic oil packet, the yeasty pus swirling around the bowl, and a few bites, and it’s hard not to dig into this one.
These dry noodles are a powerful snack in Indonesia. The noodles are nothing special, but have a complex and well-balanced mix of spices. A sweet soy base features cloves, star anise, ginger, galangal, lime leaves, lemongrass and bay leaves. More surprisingly, all the flavors come pre-packaged, rather than turning into a bland mess.
Do you know I had the worst miso ramen at some of the local ramen shops. A comment about the related shops rather than about these noodles. But this is a completely different beast than the Japanese instant ramen of yesteryear. The noodles have little texture and flavor; There is little depth to the broth; There are even glistening little globs of fat dotting the surface of the soup.
Instant]soba Noodles Ramen From 7 11 Japan
Although the Samyang fans may be hollering, Prima Taste is the king of instant noodles in my opinion. So when the Singapore-based manufacturer introduced its new Chilli Crab flavor, it was probably the first time I was excited to try a packet of instant noodles. This isn’t their best effort, but even that is better than most. It confidently hits the sweet/spicy/salty balance of its namesake and tastes more like real seafood than any other instant noodles I’ve tried.
These are bananas. Priced at $7-8 more than the others, it weighs as much as a newborn and punches well above its weight class. Smaller than a bowl of instant noodles (though it does have noodles), it combines spice packets and leftover canned vegetables into a self-heating Sichuan stew. Load all the ingredients into the upper chamber; Put the “hot bag” and some water in the lower chamber; And cover the nesting boxes. In minutes you have a fiery, bubbly concoction of noodles, sliced potatoes and sliced lotus root ma la goodness.
The no-nonsense approach may be key, but it certainly doesn’t hurt that jjajangmen adapt well to an instant format. Better than most noodles, the noodles are boiled, drained, and tossed in a hearty packet of thick, black sauce with a nice depth of yeast, a light ginger note, and hearty chunks of black bean and wheat gluten. It’s hard not to like this one.
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Unpopularity: Cult Samyang 2x Spicy Chicken Ramen, which rules the middle pipes, is a silly heat level better suited for braving than a hearty lunch. (That’s why it seems to be YouTube’s favorite noodle.) That said, I prefer Samyang’s “kabo” flavor, a dry noodle riff on that spicy base with cream and cheese and—don’t worry—still wickedly hot. This is my guilty 2am snack and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
This may cost a dollar or two more per pack, but it’s a hearty bowl worth every penny. Prima Taste’s laksa is the undisputed instant noodle champion, and it’s not even close. It turns out that powdered coconut milk reconstitutes well. The noodles are air-dried rather than fried, giving them a light, fresh texture. Imagine my shock when I opened a packet of moist condiments to find that it contained turmeric, shrimp paste, lemongrass, galangal, scallions and the aroma and taste.
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