IamA reviewer of instant noodles from all over the world called The Ramen Rater - AMA!
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.
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/
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?
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.
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
Haha! I used to live in my parents basement... That was a long time ago now.
Holy Jesus, $15 for a four pack? I'll stick with my Nongshim black.
The good stuff is spendy yo.
Would you call yourself a Pastafarian?
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.
I think it's Ramenian.
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.
Thoughts on IndoMie? I love it.
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.
That's my boy, a fried egg can make your ramen game strong.
Ever try tossing out the seasoning packet and making your own broth?
Heh I did that once using shiitake and Korean beer and it was a trainwreck. Embrace the silver packet of freedom!
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.
Always - I review each variety exactly the same, using everything included and the direction supplied.
So what's the worst raven you've ever had and what was your reaction?
I really dislike this one from China - Single Noble Black Bone Chicken flavor - tasted like hate. I disliked it as much as humanly possible.
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)
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.
Do you make a living out of this?
I scrape by with it - it's doing better and better so I'm looking forward to the day when it's really profitable.
Yup, what does your doctor say about your diet?
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.
Have you tried authentic ramen in Japan? If so, what styles and have you found any instant ramen that comes anywhere close to it?
Nope - haven't hit Japan yet - hoping to soon though!
What about American Ramen adaptations? Momofuku? Or big NY establishments Ippudo, Mu, Ivan, Toto...?
I do instant noodles.
What's the best thing to add in when cooking instant noodles in your opinion ?
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.
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?
Mung bean sprouts, coriander, white or sweet onion and of course spring onion are good. I really like fish ball and tau pok.
What's the best uncommon addition to ramen that you've tried?
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.
I really liked Sun Noodles' one as well as Yamachan.
Are your parents proud?
Yes they are!
What came first, noodles or pasta? Are they in any way related?
La men is a Chinese thing - I'm guessing that's the direction you'd want to research.
What do you think of Koka noodles?
They're not bad.
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?
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.
Do you only taste instant noodles? What tips can you give us to "improve" our instant noodles?
Yup only instants. I have a lot of additions I add and mention them with the text at the end of each review.
additions I add and mention them with the text at the end of each review.
will check this out. thanks fellow noodler
How do you achieve perfectly al dente ramen?
Practice I suppose. Maybe a little less than the directed time on the package.
Specifically, I must know, where is the best tan-tan ramen??
You got me - I review instant noodles.
Aren't there any instant versions of tantanmen/ Dan Dan noodles?
Oh yeah totally - http://www.theramenrater.com/?s=dandan
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?
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.
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?
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/
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.
Hmmm not a huge fan of miso.
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.
I include links on posts of where to get them on Amazon.
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?
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/
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?
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.
How did you turn being a college student in to a full time job?
Have you tried any brands of ramen that were too much (spicy, disgusting, tasteless, etc.) for you to handle?
I have a top ten spicy list and a bottom ten spicy list - they're both at www.theramenrater.com under my 'other lists'
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?
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.
Native Malaysian here, did you manage to try any local Malaysian/Penang food when you were in Malaysia?
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/
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.
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.
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?
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.
Have you tried Mi Goreng? How liquidy do you prefer your ramen?
I like my mi goreng liquid free. Mi rebus is mi goreng with a sauce.
So, what are your thoughts on the ramen that everyone in the U.S. knows and loves? The readily available Kikkoman instant noodles?
AFAIK Kikkoman doesn't make instant noodles. The main producers here are Nissin, Maruchan, Nongshim and Sapporo Ichiban.
What, in all your extensive traveling, adventuring, and blogging, is the worst noodle?
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.
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?
No - in fact there are lots of spaghetti instant noodles out there.
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?
Not in the slightest.
Thoughts on maruchan noodles?
They're a decent domestic. I would like to see more varieties though. Maybe more gourmet types of things.
How are your sodium levels? 1,600 bags of noodles and salts gotta do a number!
Is there a test for sodium? I don't know; my blood pressure is borderline.
If you could be a tester for another kind of food what would it be?
Silican gel/dessicant/'do not eat' sachets.
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?
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.
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?
Cook it, drain it, slap an egg on top of it. Maybe some cabbage with it - fry it all up.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
What was the best noodles that you made yourself? As in flavourings.
My favorite additions you mean?
Shin Ramyun, any thoughts?
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.
What kind of microwave do you have/have you had and how do microwave noodles compare to noodles that require more effort?
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.
No I'm happily married.
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.
Try Malaysian White Curry - unlike anything else out there, although now there are 20 of them since I reviewed them.
Well someone's got to ask it. What is the best instant noodles you've had and how can we get it?
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