If you’re or have been a student trying to live on a budget, then you’re probably familiar with ramen. But ramen isn’t just the popular student dish in the east as it is in the west. It has quite a reputation in several Asian countries. Open a Chinese Cookbook, a Japanese Cookbook, or a Thai Cookbook, and chances are that you’ll find one or two ramen recipes there. In fact, you can find ramen in an Indian Cookbook if you look long enough.
If you go to Japan in particular, you’ll find that there are many restaurants in the country that focus solely on making fancy ramen meals. It’s not just the quick solution that young westerns choose to silence their hunger. In other words, ramen isn’t just one of the College Kitchen Essentials, it’s one of any kitchen’s essentials in the west.
Here are the best instant ramen brands:
- Best Low Sodium Instant Ramen: Lotus Foods Rice Ramen Noodles
- Best Cheap Instant Ramen: Maruchan Oriental Flavor Ramen Noodles
- Best No MSG Instant Ramen: Crystal Noodle Soup Variety Pack
- Best Japanese Instant Ramen: Nissin RAOH Umami Soy Sauce Ramen Noodle
- Best Chicken Flavor Instant Ramen: Maruchan Chicken Ramen Noodle Soup
Ramen, if prepared the right way, make for a fantastic meal. It’s seen as such an important element of the eastern legacy that the Japanese population has considered it, through a poll, to be 20th-century export, followed by karaoke and walkmen.
So, with that being said, we must put aside the bland common image that we have of ramen and start thinking about it as the awesomely-delicious meal that it can be. All it takes is proper knowledge. Once you take your time with it and you cook it with care, ramen can be your new favorite food. Just be sure to get the proper broth and the right instant ramen brand.
Do you want your ramen to keep even the fanciest dishes in its shadow? Look no further than this article. We will list a number of the best ramen brands out there for you to choose from depending on your preferences. And then you’ll have the proper tools and knowledge to prepare ramen in the best version that it can be.
Instant Ramen Review Center 2020
|#1 - Maruchan Chicken Ramen Noodle Soup||99%|
|#2 - Maruchan Oriental Flavor Ramen Noodles||97%|
|#3 - Lotus Foods Rice Ramen Noodles||95%|
|#4 - Nissin RAOH Umami Soy Sauce Ramen Noodle Soup||90%|
|#5 - Crystal Noodle Soup Variety Pack||89%|
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Now that you’ve seen our top 5 recommendations, we’ll give you more detail on each of them, including why we liked them. When you’re ready, click the yellow button to get the best price on Amazon!
#1 – Maruchan Chicken Ramen Noodle Soup
If you’re looking for quality, then look no further than the Maruchan chicken ramen. It’s probably the finest instant ramen you can find on the market.
The ramen is sold packaged in 36 packs; each one of these packs weighs 3 ounces. This is not a vegetarian noodle (It chicken-flavored obviously), but that doesn’t mean that chicken flavor can’t give you a bang-up delight.
I’m not going to say that it tastes like real chicken, but it’s as close as it can get. All of this simply justifies how popular it currently is among ramen consumers. It’s one of the best out there.
What we like about it
Despite the fact that this is a non-vegetarian meal, it’s still a universally-loved ramen brand that every non-vegetarian would love, especially considering the traditional recipe and the fine flavor.
#2 – Maruchan Oriental Flavor Ramen Noodles
The Maruchan Oriental Flavor Ramen Noodle is what’s it’s all about. This brings authenticity, good taste, and quality in one package. Your options don’t just stop at the standard recipe that you get with the kit. This is the kind of ramen that you can incorporate with other numerous tasty dishes and only make them better because of it. The cherry on top is the fact that it doesn’t contain any unhealthy components like gluten, for example.
Not only are you getting a delicious dish, but also a safe one. You can eat it in a variety of ways and add multiple elements to it to spice things up. That’s something you can’t expect to work with many ramen noodle brand. Versatile, delicious, and of good quality, this ramen takes the cake.
What we like about it
What we dig about the Maruchan Oriental Flavor Ramen is its versatility as you can serve it on your Dinnerware Set with a variety of other dishes. Add that to the excellent taste, and you’ve got yourself a winner.
#3 – Lotus Foods & Brown Rice Ramen Noodles
This ramen is made from a unique combo of brown rice and millet which characterizes good old traditional Japanese noodles.
The brown rice and millet are great for several reasons. One of them being mainly is that they’re very nutritional and easy to digest. Besides that, the taste itself is kind of particular since it resembles that of nuts, in a good way.
The ramen is gluten-free, by the way, and it’s a great provider of protein and fibers if you’ve been wondering about that.
All it takes is less than 5 minutes of preparation time, and you’re good to go.
What we like about it
The Lotus Foods Rice Ramen is gluten-free, rich-flavored, and easy to prepare. What else could you ask for?
#4 – Nissin RAOH Umami Soy Sauce Ramen Noodle Soup
Have you always been eager to one day try all those fantastic looking restaurant dishes you see on TV from time to time? Well, Nissin RAHO is giving you the opportunity with its restaurant-grade ramen and its qualities.
While it may not come with a flavor of chicken, shrimp or beef like many of the usual ramens that you’ll find in the store, it chooses to bring the taste of the real traditional Japanese ramen with its light taste and clear look. This is ramen that won’t affect the broth you have nor disturb your palette. Besides, you can always add an extra flavor using Canned Chicken, Canned Chili, Canned Tuna, or Canned Sardines, right? Just get your Can Opener, and you’re good to go!
What we like about it
What we adore about Nissin RAOH Umami Soy Sauce Ramen Noodle Soup is its simple, traditional recipe that’s both delicious and healthy for a great Japanese-themed dinner.
#5 – Crystal Noodle Soup Variety Pack
The Crystal Noodle Soup packs a bunch of features. It’s gluten-free, yet it is loaded with vegetables, spice sesame paste, Shoyu, six mushroom types, and even a spicy flavor of tofu. The product is sure fast to prepare as it can be cooked in less than 5 minutes.
Besides that, the noodles don’t have any additives like trans-fats, which makes them a healthy choice. With all of that, it’s no surprise that it’s been ranked as one of the best fast lunch foods for work or school.
What we like about it
Mainly it’s rich flavor and healthy ingredients, making it one of the best foods that you can prepare with your Gluten Free Appliances.
Ultimate Instant Ramen Guide
When it comes to instant ramen, the most important thing to know regarding instant ramen noodles is the fact that there isn’t a general rule that all brands stick to. The brands are as different as they can get. If you go to the market and check out the different options you have, you’ll find thousands of different brands, each providing different flavors and their own unique palette to choose from. And it’s all to accommodate the different preferences of the different consumers.
Some look for a quick meal to silence their hunger, without worrying too much about the extravagance of the dish. Others wish to further their meal in its complexity by incorporating the ramen in different and unique ways into the food they’re preparing. All of that is thanks to how versatile instant ramen brands can get. Just add a Beer Glass, a Champagne Glass, or one of your Wine Glass Sets, and off you go!
It allows you to mix and shake up your standard understanding of what it can do. And that’s why you need to look further into the nature of instant ramen noodles.
Ramen, What Is It?
It all goes back to the lands of the east, particularly, China. It was made first as a soup of simple noodles accompanied by broth and any source of protein they had back then. But the ramen journey to how we know it today didn’t end there. It then moved to Japan where it was adopted and had undergone a number of changes to get more of a flavor and a refined nature. And then we reach today, where ramen is associated with a variety of soups, broths, different toppings, meats and a sea of endless flavors.
Ramen is now so much of a global phenomenon that you can find entire restaurants dedicated solely to serving a variety of ramen dishes. Although they may be located mainly in Asia, this trend is slowly spreading to other regions of the world.
What Are the Different Flavors?
In truth, ramen is intended to work as part of a bigger picture. Not as a dish on its own, but as a component of a more complex meal. It lends itself to being an element of versatility, thanks to the multiple ways you can prepare it in. That’s why we have a broad range of broths and flavors. But when it comes down to it, ramen flavors can be categorized mainly into four depending on the soup and the broth used in each case.
One of the more traditional dishes of ramen. It’s salty, and it’s a very common flavor. It’s bathed in a clear and light-colored soup. The look of the ramen remains as you might expect it even with the presence of the extra amount of salt. But keep in mind that it is relatively salty, and that lends it to be more suitable for broths with more of a consistency. You should know that this one is more of a Chinese based ramen style as it has most of the Chinese ramen characteristics.
Having soy sauce as the main component, the Shoyu flavor is one of the old ones, in fact, it’s the oldest. The flavor doesn’t come from salt, as one might expect, but it comes, along with the color, from the dark soya. It’s considered sweeter if you compare it to the Shio and it has more of a clear yet a darker color. In usual circumstances, Shoyu is served with either seafood or chicken, and it’s also used with broths based on pork and beef.
This one is relatively new compared to the others. When Miso paste was discovered, it was utilized to give the ramen broth an extra flavor. The taste is much stronger and more complicated, and it’s coupled with a darker soup appearance. In most cases, this type of flavor is incorporated with seafood broths or salty bone broths. Sometimes, you will even encounter restaurants serving Miso with pork belly or sweet corn toppings.
Tonkotsu, unlike the others, is prepared through boiling bones of pork for almost 15 hours. Seeing how it’s made, it contains dissolved collagen, while the soup itself is clear white. But it has this unique and strong taste that’s kind of unusual and might need getting used to. Because of that, you can understand why it wasn’t positively received by people at first. But that has been changing with time. More and more people have come to like the Tonkotsu because of its unique flavor.
Different Ramen Noodle Types
You’ll find this type in fancy restaurants more often than anywhere else. It can vary in size and shape. You’ll have thin and light ones coupled with Tonkotsu, and then you’ll find the wavy type being used with Miso. All in all, fresh noodles are easier on the stomach and smoother than the rest of the bunch.
Take those fresh noodles, dry them up, and you’ll get yourself dried noodles. It’s the ideal type for in-house cooking, seeing how easy it is to store and cook. They’re just as thin as fresh noodles, but you’ll find them in the cheap ramen shelf in the market. Cheap ramen utilizes dried noodles because of its practicality and longevity in different conditions.
The way to prepare it is to fry and dehydrate the noodles. If you’re purchasing this type, you can read the label to know exactly how it was made and what kind of nutrients it contains. The expensive type would be made through-air-drying. This means that they’ll be tastier even if they cost more.
Different Ramen Topping Types
The toppings are as versatile as the noodle flavors themselves. You have a number of elements that you can use to enrich the flavor are countless. The instant noodles you can buy from the store come with their own toppings in one single quickly-prepared package. But you could be thinking about preparing the ramen at home, and that’s why you need to know what you can use to spice things up.
- Bacon: You can use it fired or sliced, a delicious addition that can be used to flavor up the broth or as a topping to the ramen.
- Mushrooms: Slice them up and add them to your meal. Black mushrooms can be found on dead branches in nature.
- Pickled Ginger: They can be pickled in salt or vinegar and used to add an amazing flavor to the noodles
- Seaweed: Both healthy, containing many minerals, and delicious, seaweed is a worthy addition to a number of ramen types.
- Corn: A very popular topping option, sweet corn can be found used mostly with Miso and Shio.
- Butter: Also mainly used with Miso and Shio, butter can just be the cherry on top as you’re about to serve the ramen to provide an extra flavor.
- Bean Sprouts: They’re a good option because of they’re thick and crunchy but also very rich in vitamin C.
- Boiled Eggs: They can be delicious on their own, but when dipped in different sauce types, they can even take the flavor the extra mile.
- Onions: Onions can make almost anything taste better. That’s why they’re a very popular choice for topping.
- Char Siu: They’re basically sliced pork pieces, either roasted or boiled, and added with soya sauce to the meal.
- Bamboo Shoots: The main goal behind them would be to add a bit of texture and crunchiness to your ramen.