I started reviewing instant noodles on www.theramenrater.com in 2002. It was just a way to be able to see what I'd tried as a whim. 13 years later, I've tried over 1,600 different varieties of instant noodles and have visited instant noodle factories and received worldwide notoriety for my top ten lists.


Comments: 295 • Responses: 65  • Date: 

Ewest3971 karma

Well someone's got to ask it. What is the best instant noodles you've had and how can we get it?

theramenrater57 karma

I just released my new Top Ten Instant Noodles Of All Time 2015 Edition in late April. This year's pick is MyKuali Penang Red Tom Yum Goong - here's a link to it - http://www.theramenrater.com/top-ten-lists/all-time-packs/top-ten-instant-noodles-of-all-time-2015/

BeardMilk31 karma

It looks like you have added a bunch of ingredients to the ramen on your list. Whats the best ramen using only the ingredients in the packet?

theramenrater26 karma

I do. But I review based on the base pack of noodles. I only add in things after I've sampled the base product. See my top ten list.

optoomistic8 karma

I was really expecting you to be a bit of a basement dweller with these Ramen reviews and now after realizing those pictures are of your creations you have quite good taste!!! kudos

theramenrater6 karma

Haha! I used to live in my parents basement... That was a long time ago now.

Milkshakes005 karma

Holy Jesus, $15 for a four pack? I'll stick with my Nongshim black.

theramenrater11 karma

The good stuff is spendy yo.

SatanTheBodhisattva25 karma

Would you call yourself a Pastafarian?

theramenrater65 karma

Since pasta is more an Italian thing, I'd have to say no. I don't align myself with any of the noodle religions; I'm a free slurper.

azunaloetam27 karma

I think it's Ramenian.

theramenrater20 karma

The thing is not all instant noodles are ramen; in South Korea, it's ramyun - thicker noodles, different flavors. In southeast Asia, it's commonly referred to as mee.

Fawful24 karma

Thoughts on IndoMie? I love it.

theramenrater23 karma

Indomie Satay was the second instant noodle I went crazy over when I was younger. We'd go to the Uwajimaya in Seattle and I'd load up on that shit. Fried egg on top and you're set.

Leveroneh14 karma

That's my boy, a fried egg can make your ramen game strong.

theramenrater11 karma

Damn straight.

te615 karma

Ever try tossing out the seasoning packet and making your own broth?

theramenrater41 karma

Heh I did that once using shiitake and Korean beer and it was a trainwreck. Embrace the silver packet of freedom!

CoolCoach20156 karma

Do you always add the whole packet of seasoning? I have tended to hold back a little bit when pouring it in if I'm not feeling the flavor blast.

theramenrater8 karma

Always - I review each variety exactly the same, using everything included and the direction supplied.

GregthePolak12 karma

So what's the worst raven you've ever had and what was your reaction?

theramenrater24 karma

I really dislike this one from China - Single Noble Black Bone Chicken flavor - tasted like hate. I disliked it as much as humanly possible.

GregthePolak3 karma

So when I move away to college I'll definitely avoid that one. What's a delicious, cheap ramen for college students that won't kill my kidneys? (also, thanks for doing this AMA)

theramenrater9 karma

No problem! Low sodium instant noodles is a tough one, simply because soup requires flavor. Get a carton of Indomie Mi Goreng - can't go wrong with that and you can add anything to it.

oliverwauters10 karma

Do you make a living out of this?

theramenrater21 karma

I scrape by with it - it's doing better and better so I'm looking forward to the day when it's really profitable.

SpiritualEndeavor10 karma

Yup, what does your doctor say about your diet?

theramenrater16 karma

As far as the instant noodles, they're really not that bad. The get a really bad rap, but if you think about the amount of sodium in everything around, its not that big a deal, especially when you add vegetables and protein. It's kind of ridiculous how crazy people get about the instant noodle.

WhammyKing1218 karma

Have you tried authentic ramen in Japan? If so, what styles and have you found any instant ramen that comes anywhere close to it?

theramenrater12 karma

Nope - haven't hit Japan yet - hoping to soon though!

KRoadKid2 karma

What about American Ramen adaptations? Momofuku? Or big NY establishments Ippudo, Mu, Ivan, Toto...?

theramenrater7 karma

I do instant noodles.

ismellliketuna8 karma

What's the best thing to add in when cooking instant noodles in your opinion ?

theramenrater17 karma

That's tough - it really depents on what variety you're looking at. A Japanese variety would go better with hard boiled egg and spring onion while a Thai one might work better with coriander and prawns. I generally look at the serving suggestion to see what's going on there.

Triseult7 karma

I love ramen. I like to add fresh ingredients to it to turn them into something special, such as dumplings, shrimp, canned tuna, seaweed, an egg...

Do you have fresh ingredients to recommend to "spice up" a bowl of instant noodles?

theramenrater8 karma

Mung bean sprouts, coriander, white or sweet onion and of course spring onion are good. I really like fish ball and tau pok.

temporaryescape7 karma

What's the best uncommon addition to ramen that you've tried?

theramenrater19 karma

Peanut butter.

laukkanen6 karma

Have you ever come across an instant tonkotsu ramen that holds a candle to what you find in a good ramen restaurant?

I would say I have a healthy obsession with tonkotsu ramen but can't come close to making it well at home.

theramenrater13 karma

I really liked Sun Noodles' one as well as Yamachan.

tonyaustin65 karma

Are your parents proud?

theramenrater12 karma

Yes they are!

zhicago5 karma

What came first, noodles or pasta? Are they in any way related?

theramenrater5 karma

La men is a Chinese thing - I'm guessing that's the direction you'd want to research.

MahimSalam5 karma

What do you think of Koka noodles?

theramenrater4 karma

They're not bad.

rockleet4 karma

I think your website is dope. Keep up the good work. I haven't read it yet so sorry if this is answered on your site but do you ever double cook your noodles? I will cook the noodles 80% then dump out the water and rinse the noodles and then reboil again. Is that something you do?

theramenrater10 karma

Hey thanks - I know a lot of people do that but no, I always do exactly what is recommended on the package - keeps it fair.

devilwu4 karma

Do you only taste instant noodles? What tips can you give us to "improve" our instant noodles?

theramenrater7 karma

Yup only instants. I have a lot of additions I add and mention them with the text at the end of each review.

devilwu4 karma

additions I add and mention them with the text at the end of each review.

will check this out. thanks fellow noodler

theramenrater4 karma

No problem!

temporaryescape3 karma

How do you achieve perfectly al dente ramen?

theramenrater6 karma

Practice I suppose. Maybe a little less than the directed time on the package.

JustJayForNow3 karma

Specifically, I must know, where is the best tan-tan ramen??

theramenrater2 karma

You got me - I review instant noodles.

flipn0tic2 karma

Aren't there any instant versions of tantanmen/ Dan Dan noodles?

theramenrater3 karma

shokod3 karma

While it entirely defeats the purpose, I've always wanted to get a big jug of the broth powder for Shin Ramyun (cuz their noodles ain't all that great). I've seen the serious-eat's blog about making it yourself but have you any idea if it would be possible to purchase this umami deliciousness?

theramenrater3 karma

The only thing I would recommend is buying a ton of Shin Ramyun and taking out the sachets and putting the contents in a jug.

_not_found3 karma

I don't eat this kind of things regularly but while in a trip in Holland I found Kimchi noodle soup and decided to give it a try. I loved it. Have you reviewed it? Where could I read this review and what similar products would you recomend my trying?

theramenrater11 karma

I'm guessing that would probably be Samyang Kimchi? They sell a lot in that area. I've not reviewed that exact one, but here's their South Korean one - http://www.theramenrater.com/2013/04/09/meet-the-manufacturer-1019-samyang-foods-kimchi-ramyun/

flipn0tic3 karma

What is the best miso ramen out there? I can't find a good one that is instant aside from yamachan brand, but I'm looking for something in the dry noodle variety, especially since the yamachan noodles have a ridiculous amount of sodium per serving.

theramenrater2 karma

Hmmm not a huge fan of miso.

superwario2 karma

Is there a website I can order these ramen at a decent price to try? Maybe you could sell packs of your top 10! Like in a bundle.

theramenrater1 karma

I include links on posts of where to get them on Amazon.

flame2point02 karma

I can't be the only one with an unconditional love for Maruchan Hot and Spicy Beef (or chicken, for that matter). Can you confirm?

theramenrater2 karma

It's not bad - I like their cremy chicken best. I did a little thing about how I kept seeing beef noodles paired with flaming hot cheetos on instagram. oh yeah - and beer. http://www.theramenrater.com/2014/11/05/top-ramen-flamin-hot-cheetos/

esquisitussomnium2 karma

i love ramen! do you have any recommendations for vegetarian noodles? (as in, no chicken/beef broth - completely vegetarian). halal chicken/beef works as well. i have one flavor from an Indian store that i really like (can't remember the name but it's a Chinese veg chowmein) but i really want others to try. i also really love spicy noodles. do you have a favorite?

theramenrater5 karma

Okay here's a good tip - most everything you'll find that's not made in the USA that's chicken or beef is artificially flavored aka no meat. It may contain fish though. The Dept of Agriculture doesn't let chicken or beef in from Asia.

RushDefuse2 karma

How did you turn being a college student in to a full time job?

theramenrater2 karma


Zeusingy982 karma

Have you tried any brands of ramen that were too much (spicy, disgusting, tasteless, etc.) for you to handle?

theramenrater2 karma

I have a top ten spicy list and a bottom ten spicy list - they're both at www.theramenrater.com under my 'other lists'

alec252 karma

What do you think of the Simply Asia noodle brand? How does Nissin's Cup Noodles compare to other brands? How do instant noodles in general compare to genuine restaurant quality noodles?

theramenrater3 karma

Haven't done enough Simply Asia to form an opinion, however I'm going to lean towards meh. Nissin's US Cup Noodle variants are alright, although the ones they have in the Japanese market are far superior. I don't really do restaurant ramen, however what I've had was way salty.

ArmandTanzarianMusic2 karma

Native Malaysian here, did you manage to try any local Malaysian/Penang food when you were in Malaysia?

theramenrater3 karma

Selamat datang! Oh yeah - they toured us all over - all I did was try food! Also got to try food in Langkawi as well - here's my travelog - http://www.theramenrater.com/2014/10/06/penang-malaysia-day-1/

Other_Vader2 karma

How's your hair?

My mum hates that I eat so much instant noodles cause she's worried my hair will fall out. A common answer as to why men are bald is because they eat too much ramen.

theramenrater3 karma

That's complete BS. There are tons of weird urban myths about instant noodles, like that they are coated in wax so that they won't stick together or that boiling MSG will make it toxic and give you cancer. It's BS.

PandaTanner1 karma

About how much Ramen do you eat per week? Has it ever gotten old, or do you still enjoy each bowl the same as you did before?

theramenrater2 karma

I do up to 4 reviews a day - keeping ahead of my reviewing allows me to take a break from it. I don't eat the whole bowl or anything - I try the noodles and soup a couple times and then eat the garnish.

cloudwalking1 karma

Have you tried Mi Goreng? How liquidy do you prefer your ramen?

theramenrater6 karma

I like my mi goreng liquid free. Mi rebus is mi goreng with a sauce.

daedric_hooker1 karma

So, what are your thoughts on the ramen that everyone in the U.S. knows and loves? The readily available Kikkoman instant noodles?

theramenrater3 karma

AFAIK Kikkoman doesn't make instant noodles. The main producers here are Nissin, Maruchan, Nongshim and Sapporo Ichiban.

lucasgorski991 karma

What, in all your extensive traveling, adventuring, and blogging, is the worst noodle?

theramenrater2 karma

First off my travelling isn't very extensive. I am going to Thailand next week though! Baijia has been the tough one for me. Sichuan - although I think I'm slowly acquiring a like for it.

Pee_Earl_Grey_Hot1 karma

I cook my ramen noodles in the microwave in a tupperware container, drain the water in the sink, and add spaghetti sauce instead of the MSG packet.

Am I a heathen?

theramenrater2 karma

No - in fact there are lots of spaghetti instant noodles out there.

Arknell1 karma

There has been talk about glutamate being dangerous for the heart (even though new research at the same time says sodium fears may have been exaggerated). Are you worried your occupation will give you lifestyle diseases?

theramenrater2 karma

Not in the slightest.

bananabee1 karma

Thoughts on maruchan noodles?

theramenrater2 karma

They're a decent domestic. I would like to see more varieties though. Maybe more gourmet types of things.

AgitatedAvocado1 karma

How are your sodium levels? 1,600 bags of noodles and salts gotta do a number!

theramenrater4 karma

Is there a test for sodium? I don't know; my blood pressure is borderline.

A_HumblePotato1 karma

If you could be a tester for another kind of food what would it be?

theramenrater5 karma

Silican gel/dessicant/'do not eat' sachets.

Shaftus1 karma

How often do you encounter trading rules and import restrictions etc? Like in the EU i know that there are (supposedly) no barriers to trade, but there are plenty of countries outside of the eu that simply won't trade with others. Are there any countries (companies based in certain countries) that don't trade with others and are they missing out on worthwhile noodles?

theramenrater1 karma

It's a real pain in the ass to be honest. I would really like to review more Japanese and Chinese varieties, but chicken, beef and pork are very hard to get through.

Manwith3boobs1 karma

I have a ton of that maruchan instant ramen stuff and im getting sick of it, what can I do to make it taste different/better?

theramenrater1 karma

Cook it, drain it, slap an egg on top of it. Maybe some cabbage with it - fry it all up.

EvilAshKetchum1 karma

Where are good places to look for high quality instant noodles? I'm in the U.S. and I pretty much only see maru-chan or top ramen, neither of which are superb.

Also, do you like to add things to your ramen (eggs, chicken, tofu, veggies, etc) or eat just what comes with it?

theramenrater2 karma

Asian grocery stores are your friend should they occur in your geographic area. I add lots of stuff - vegetables and meats. I really like fishballs and tau pok.

DJ_SchrutesFatBeetz1 karma

Hope I'm not too late, I just have 2 questions. How do you get into this type of business? And, most importantly, can I order some of those noodles from your top ten somewhere online?

theramenrater2 karma

It's not a business. I just started trying lots of noodles and just kept going and going. There are links within the original posts on that top ten to where to get them on Amazon.

emk22031 karma

Is there a correlation between the number of sachets and the Ramen quality? I always thought the more sachets, the better the Ramen. If you have to mix everything in one sachet, the quality should be worse than having one vegetable, one oil, one spices and one broth sachet, or am I wrong?

theramenrater2 karma

Never been asked that one before - good question! It really depends. I've had some Vietnamese varieties that are really lame that have quite a few sachets and some Malaysian ones that rocked and only had one of them. Indomie has a ton of them and is always really good, except I didn't like their Taste of Asia line.

Zulfiqaar1 karma

What was the best noodles that you made yourself? As in flavourings.

theramenrater2 karma

My favorite additions you mean?

Ariosoto1 karma

Shin Ramyun, any thoughts?

theramenrater2 karma

It's great stuff although kind of pedestrian; it's everywhere you go, even in Walmart. I like it a lot, although I try to find stuff that's difficult to get.

alec251 karma

What kind of microwave do you have/have you had and how do microwave noodles compare to noodles that require more effort?

theramenrater2 karma

I've got an 1100w carousel. I rarely microwave noodles unless that's the only direction or the main one. I've tested the Rapid Ramen Cooker - that's really a decent thing. Especially for mi goreng - use a little less water and the noodles will suck it dry.

Jux_0 karma


theramenrater2 karma

No I'm happily married.

Whydidideletemyaccou-1 karma

I just want to make sure you realize the health risk. Instant noodles have a FUCK TON of sodium in them. You're putting yourself at a very high risk by intaking that much sodium. I recommend seeing a doctor and explaining your situation to make sure they can do some tests and give you advice;

Now, I'm currently in Korea! They're known for awesome Ramen. Have you tried their super dooper spicy ramen? What do you think of it?

What type of Ramen do you think i should try? I just started eating it and it's fucking awesome.

theramenrater6 karma

Try Malaysian White Curry - unlike anything else out there, although now there are 20 of them since I reviewed them.