ABOUT ME

Since I was a small child, I have enjoyed instant noodles. I started out with what every other kid in the USA has – Top Ramen. Then, they came out with something called Roasted Ramen, noodles that already had the seasoning within them – no packet!

These were off the market soon though and that’s when everything changed in my instant noodle world. My parents took me south to Seattle and we went to a big Japanese grocery in the heart of the International District. As it turned out, the Roasted Ramen I so enjoyed actually was how they marketed Chikin ramen – Nissin’s first instant noodle in 1958, of which they had a great quantity.

What I noticed (I was about 12 years old) was that there were a ton of different varieties of instant noodles to be had there; with different colored packaging and strange foreign writing I couldn’t begin to understand.

My folks let me sample a few and it was fun – some were almost impossible to cook; what were the instructions saying?

I tried some from anywhere and everywhere. Then I got kind of bored with it and left it alone. In 1998, I started eating instant noodles again – I found Indomie’s Mi Goreng Satay and was hooked. I would get bags of the stuff and give lots of friends saying ‘you’ve got to trty this stuff.’ I had been trying my hand at webdesign for a few years and one day I thought I’d start a little website with a table of noodle varieties and a picture and a link to the company that made them and a review with one to five stars. This went on until I reached around 50 some varieties in 2003 or 2004. I then got on the Atkins diet, a diet that was certainly not ramen-friendly and decided since I enjoyed the reviewing that I should continue it. Saucerater.com was born out of this and I reviewed a total of 250+ varieties or hot sauce. The Ramen Rater was on the backburner.

Fast forward to 2010. Found the woman of my dreams, true happiness and a spark of interest in instant noodles again. I was living in a converted garage in Anacortes, Washington and bought a little single burner plug-in dealy with which I did a few reviews – here’s one of them.

My future wife and I moved to Edmonds, Washington shortly thereafter. What really made this site happen was WHERE we moved to. I live within walking distance of two rather large Asian supermarkets: a 99 Ranch and a Boo Han Market. Plenty of instant ramen noodles to kickstart this thing into overdrive. Here’s one of those early reviews.

Nowadays, I get noodles from all sorts of places – people send me them personally, online retailers and distributors have sent them, and even big instant noodle corporations have started sending me noodles. As of writing this, I’ve reviewed 715 unique varieties of instant noodles from all over the globe.

People often ask me ‘doesn’t it get boring eating the same instant noodles all the time?’ I wouldn’t know – I eat a different one every day.

- Hans Lienesch

April, 2012

54 thoughts on “ABOUT ME

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    Reply
  2. Dale Schmidt

    Ramen Rater,

    Your site is rather interesting and I admire your dedication to ramen noodles. I am working on a team marketing project for an MBA class and our topic is ramen noodles. We have begun an extensive search for anything ramen and I would like to know if you are aware of any sources that provide data that rate the different ramen noodle brands – we’re particularly interested in the brands that are most popular in the U.S. such as Nissin, Maruchan, and Sapporo Ichiban. We would also value your expert opinion on Nissin vs. Maruchan vs. Sapporo Ichiban.
    Would you agree that there is a rivalry between Nissin and Maruchan? Do you have any loyalties to a particular brand?
    We would much appreciate your feedback as it would be helpful in our research efforts.

    Thanks!

    Dale

    Reply
    1. Hans Lienesch Post author

      Ramen Rater,

      Your site is rather interesting and I admire your dedication to ramen noodles.

      Thank you – very kind!

      I am working on a team marketing project for an MBA class and our topic is ramen noodles. We have begun an extensive search for anything ramen and I would like to know if you are aware of any sources that provide data that rate the different ramen noodle brands – we’re particularly interested in the brands that are most popular in the U.S. such as Nissin, Maruchan, and Sapporo Ichiban. We would also value your expert opinion on Nissin vs. Maruchan vs. Sapporo Ichiban.

      Perhaps some information gleaned from grocery store chains? Perhaps some form of data could be obtained from a major market research group like Nielsen would be useful (of course expensive to obtain). As far as my opinion, these three are very different companies. Nissin is the founding father of the instant noodle and Cup Noodle. Sapporo Ichiban is a close second, and Maruchan is third. As far as the United States goes however, it’s a tough one . Maruchan seems to come out with stuff like Chili Lime noodles – something that would appeal towards the filipino and latino markets. Cheap noodles. Nissin has done a little experimenting but has really stuck to its main brands of Top Ramen. Sapporo Ichiban I would imagine most would see slightly more unapproachable with consumer questions like ‘what’s that mean’ and ‘hmm different…’ I must admit that I find the Nissin ramen that is marketed overseas to be a million times more appealing than the domestic stuff. Curry Demae ramen, yakisoba with a little mayo/mustard squirt pack – thats some tasty fare!

      Would you agree that there is a rivalry between Nissin and Maruchan? Do you have any loyalties to a particular brand?

      I try to be impartial, and as such can’t say I am ‘loyal to any brand – If I could find some new brands I haven’t tried I would be on them immediately! Happily so! I must say though that my personal taste buds find Indomie Mi Goreng Satay when garnished with a couple fried eggs with runny yolks and a little kizami shoga to be one of life’s greatest pleasures.

      We would much appreciate your feedback as it would be helpful in our research efforts.

      No problem – ask me more please! Make sure to add The Ramen Rater to your facebook and share it with everyone you know. I’m an attention junkie I suppose and would like to have everyone everywhere enjoy the site.

      - The Ramen Rater

      Reply
  3. Meredith D

    Are you pretty dedicated to Asian-style ramen noodles? I admit I haven’t looked through your entire blog yet, but it seems to be mostly focused on that.
    Oddly enough, I lived in Poland for a while, and got addicted to trying their very interesting takes on Ramen noodles. While they market some asian-inspired flavours… lime and cilantro, chinese five-spice, thai crab etc. they also have very distinctive Polish flavours. Barszcz, zurek, various mushroom flavours, as well as very odd ideas like donner kebab and mozzarella. As I’m sure you can imagine the creativity does not always pay off, but sometimes it does and it’s very interesting at least!
    If you have access to some Polish shops, I suggest browsing around. If not and you’re genuinely interested, drop me an email and I’m sure I can post some over to you.

    Reply
    1. Hans "The Ramen Rater" Lienesch Post author

      Yeah all we really have here in the states are asian style; at least where I live. I’ve seen a few of the doner kebab and pot noodle things on other websites – looks very interesting. would love to try some of that if you really want to send some over – email me at [email protected].

      Reply
  4. Sally

    You’re missing out Vietnamese ramen ‘coz those taste the best :).
    I’ve been eating a lot of ramen in my entire life and in my opinion, korean and jap ramen are not as tasty as the vietnamese kinds.
    Check them out at those vietnamese market in china town in seattle. Really close to Uajimaya!

    Reply
  5. Auden

    This website is brilliant. It’s nice to know there are other people out there who love instant noodoes. You’re awesome!

    Reply
  6. Bethy

    Dear Ramen Eater,
    I love your blog. I am an avid ramen eater myself but will not have the dedication to post pictures and let alone write reviews on them.
    Please do take vitamins, plenty of h2o and veggies to balance your diet though.

    Renatta

    Reply
  7. R. Bethy

    Dear Ramen Eater,
    I love your blog. I am an avid ramen eater myself but will not have the dedication to post pictures and let alone write reviews on them.
    Please do take vitamins, plenty of h2o and veggies to balance your diet though.

    Renatta .B.

    Reply
  8. Summer Breeze

    Great job on this blog and all the reviews! The pictures look so tasty. I love Asian instant noodles, maybe even an obsession actually but felt bit embarrassed to admit it since they’re generally considered not very healthy foods, and I haven’t came across anyone so open about it like you :) Now I don’t feel so odd and that it’s ok to love these instant meals :)

    I went to the Uwajimaya store in Bellevue during a short trip to Seattle and love it too. So many cool Japanese foods and snacks that I wanted to try. I am from Toronto and although there are plenty of Asians here, we do not have many Japanese people and food stores here.

    I came across this blog while looking up the Sau Tao brand noodles. I think I’m starting to prefer this brand as they sell ‘healthy’ and ‘non-fried’ noodles, which I can feel better consuming :)

    Reply
    1. Hans "The Ramen Rater" Lienesch Post author

      Right on – you know though I would highly recommend trying the Wu-Mu stuff – its awesome with flavors like BBQ pork and sesame oil – really excellent stuff!
      Glad you like the blog and thanks for the kind words,
      The Ramen Rater

      Reply
  9. Heather Gervasi of Radiant Life Consulting

    Hello, Raman Eater!
    Sorry for the delay in writing to you to tell you: YOU HAVE THE BEST-TASTING, HEALTHY NOODLES I HAVE EVER EATEN!
    I sampled your product (and perhaps met YOU!) at a Natural Products Show in Anaheim 1 or 2 years ago. I kept your brochure to remind me to purchase it because you had not launched in stores yet:(. My entire family is excited to try it…now that we have seen your beautiful photos and compelling posts. Where can I find your GreeNoodle with Moroheiya? I live in Encinitas California.
    SO happy to finally contact you with praises:)
    Blessings to you and your supportive staff!
    Heather Gervasi

    Reply
    1. Hans "The Ramen Rater" Lienesch Post author

      Well, I hate to break it to you, but I am not the person you are looking for, nor did I find the GreeNoodles that I have sampled thus far to be very palatable at all. I would recommend searching elsewhere as I do not sell anything. They should have them at 99 Ranch Market I would think.l

      The Ramen Rater

      Reply
  10. Patricia

    Hello Ramen Rater!
    Every ramen review post I read from my feed reader feels like I’ve eaten the ramen myself. I’m a huge noodle fan, and this gives me the “kick” without having to eat/buy them myself. You, sir, are a genius.

    One question I have is, how are you getting all these noodles? I’m amazed that you have a huge selection of instant noodles from the Philippines. I looked for my personal favorites, and you did not disappoint (Payless Xtra Big Chilimansi and Lucky Me Pancit Canton Chilimansi). More power to you and your site!

    Reply
    1. Hans "The Ramen Rater" Lienesch Post author

      Hey thanks for the nice words! So as to where I get all my noodles. Locally! I am in a very fortunate position here in the northwest. I live about 20 minutes north of Seattle . In the town I live, there are quite a few Asian groceries, primarily Korean, that have nice lnog noodle aisles. Further south there are Japanese and Filipino groceries abounding as well as a Vietnamese one that plays loud techno! It’s pretty safe to say that I’ll be doing this reviewing for quite a while. And now people have started to send me stuff they’d like me to review, so that’s a new source too.

      - The Ramen Rater

      Reply
  11. Hayashi

    Wow you’re amazing! I’m asian and I haven’t even ate as much varieties of instant noodles as compared to you. I’m gonna try some new flavours after reading your blog! :D

    P.S: Shouldn’t have read this at night,it makes me hungry! xD

    Reply
  12. KIHyuck

    hello,did you try korea’s “SamYang” company’s new product “Nagasaki Jamppong?” This became popular in Korea.
    Also, there is Paldo’s new product “KoKomeon”. It would be great if u try these products and write reviews!
    http://www.amazon.com/NEW-Nagasaki-jjamppong-10pcs-noodles/dp/B006H1BEV0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329770271&sr=8-1

    http://www.amazon.com/Myun-Myeon-10pcs-Chicken-Noodle/dp/B005Z3E5WG/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1329770271&sr=8-3

    Reply
  13. shanttsc

    Dear Ramen Eater,
    This blog is simply brilliant! I am ramen enthusiast in search for ramen heaven and you have just become one of my idols! Back home we only had like two or three brands of noodles in most supermarkets but now that I live in the US there’s a whole new variety for me to try :D the possibilities are endless!(kind of :p). Your pictures are awesome too, everything looks so delicious. I look forward to reading your reviews, please never stop doing them.

    Best,
    Shantts

    Reply
  14. chellspecker

    Hello Ramen Rater,
    I just found your site tonight via Serious Eats. Great site, you’ve done a very comprehensive survey of Ramen-land. I’ve loved ramen since I tried Nissin Cup-O-Noodles at a friend’s house in the late ‘seventies. My mom never bought instant noodles until I started asking her to buy Ichiban packets, still a favorite of mine, especially the Original (used to be called “Oriental” !) flavor. I’m lucky to live in Vancouver and over the years have sampled some great ramen. We have some incredible fresh noodle restaurants here which have somewhat supplanted my instant noodle consumption. I have a couple questions:

    1. Do you think MSG is addictive? I find it kind of relaxes me and I feel a bit hung over the day after eating instant noodles. But when I eat them I feel almost high. Does this sound familiar? I don’t get a headache or anything, but I think the MSG has some effect on brain chemistry.

    2. Have you ever come across a small packaged noodle called “Instant Beehoon”? I can’t remember anything else but I know that was the name. I used to eat it all the time. A rather small block of transparent rice or bean noodles with a very spicy, oily broth. They were delicious, and even at T&T here in Vancouver I haven’t been able to find them. I can’t remember where they are from.

    Keep up the good work. You rock.
    Cheers,
    Jonathan

    Reply
    1. Hans "The Ramen Rater" Lienesch Post author

      Jonathan -

      Glad you’re enjoying the site! Nothin like some good instant noodles – let me answer your questions:

      1. I don’t know if MSG is addictive per se, but I would lean towards the no side of it. I haven’t had a pack of instant noodles since last Tuesday. I’m not feeling anytihng but guilt that I’m not doing my ramen a day reviews – no withdrawals, etc. I suppose it’s as addictive as any flavor is like chocolate or pizza. MSG is a flavor enhancer like table salt except it has a bit less sodium and more gluten. It gets a pretty bad rap but as long as you don’t overdo it shouldn’t be a problem. Also if you take potassium pills it counteracts the effects of higher sodium foods! I’ve not experienced the headaches the day after – only heartburn after instant noodles and bad stomach upset if I eat instant noodles and immediately eat something like a Reese’s peanut butter cup – ugh that can be ugly!

      2. Gotcha covered – http://www.theramenrater.com/2011/04/07/343-super-bihun-goreng-instant-fried-rice-noodles/ That the stuff?

      Hope you can find it!

      Thanks,

      - The Ramen Rater

      Reply
      1. chellspecker

        Thanks for the reply! I’ll have to start taking potassium tablets!
        As for the noodles I was talking about, I think that’s basically them. I think the one I had might have been meant to be eaten as a soup, but I can’t remember exactly. That’s how I ate it, anyway. They translated it as “beehoon” but it would just be a phonetic version of an Indonesian word. Angel hair sounds right, as in very fine noodles. Goreng means fried. I lived in the Netherlands for a time, and there is a large post-colonial Indonesian community there. Nasi goreng (fried rice) was one of the only things I could find while I was there to satisfy my craving for anything remotely Asian. Thanks for the tip. I will continue the search for the elusive bihun, or beehoon. I’m sure it’s just as delicious whatever you call it.

        Reply
        1. Hans "The Ramen Rater" Lienesch Post author

          Right on – glad I could help! By the way – you’re in Canada? Any chance you’d like to hit up a Walmart and get some Mr Noodles to donate? For some reason, nobody’s ever sent that one and from what it sounds like, Mr. Noodles is one of the most common instant noodles up there. Would send ya some stickers as thanks!

          - TRR

          Reply
  15. chellspecker

    RR,
    Have you ever come across an instant noodle called “Instant Beehoon”? I used to eat it all the time here in Vancouver, and I never see it anymore. I can’t remember who made it but I know that was the name. It was a small block of very fine transparent rice or bean noodles with a very spicy oily broth. Simple but delicious! Keep up the good work!
    Cheers,
    Jonathan

    Reply
  16. chellspecker

    Yeah, Mr. Noodles. They’re one of the less expensive brands here, not a personal favorite, but I could definitely send you some. I’m not sure if you can contact me via email through my wordpress account. It should be linked to my email address somehow. Or let me know your email address, and we can communicate that way. I was thinking I could even take some pictures of the noodle aisle at T&T here in Vancouver (HUGE Asian supermarket) and maybe send you some noodles you’d like to review if you’re interested. If you ever make it up to Vancouver, you’ll have to check out Motomachi Shokaido on Denman, best ramen restaurant ever. Kintaro is pretty good too, just up the street. Big Japanese population here, so lots to choose from.
    Cheers,
    Jonathan

    Reply
  17. Kim

    Bravo, this is amazing! After years of avoiding instant noodles I am back on the bandwagon, and enjoying every second of it. Your site has inspired me. Thank you!
    On another note, I am happy to see that ramen is breaking through the food scene here in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Shops are slowly opening up and seem to be building their customer base! Yayyy!

    Reply
  18. Tim

    Dude. Just had some Indomie Mie Mi Gorengs for the first time. Jesus. Changed my life. When I pulled out 5 different spice packets I knew I was in for a treat. I am now going to order a 30 pack of the “Special Fried Curly Noodles” from Amazon as it seems our taste buds agree. I am fortunate to have a sizable Vietnamese grocery store not far from me in White Plains, NY that has hundreds of varieties. I picked up about 20 different variations today based on your top ten list. I emailed your site to all of my friends and told them to stop messing around! First time I cracked an egg into the simmering water as well. Delicious! You are the man. I will be getting crazy with the pickled ginger and bock choy as well. Life is good!

    Reply
  19. rin9272

    wow great! Based on your reviewing, the top #1 instant noodle is from indonesia. Even my self (i’m from indonesia), didn’t recognize how delicious it is. I prefer eat instant noodle from korea (shin ramyun) to indomie. But, seems like i have to start to like everything my country produce such as indomie. Besides, indomie is the top branded in indonesia. It’s awesome that you have tasted many different various flavor of instant noodle! That’s achievement!! :D

    Reply
  20. thedrunkenpig

    Wow! I am blown away by your blog. I like ramen too and your concept is really fresh and unique. I live in the Philippines and we also have a wide variety of noodles in here. I hope you will be able to try it out. I am glad I found your blog! Cheers!

    Reply
    1. Hans "The Ramen Rater" Lienesch Post author

      Hey glad you like the blog! Yeah I’ve tried a lot of instants from the Philippines – I like the Payless Xtra big ones a lot… hoping to find more Pinoy grocery stores here as I haven’t reviewed much from there in a while….

      - TRR

      Reply
  21. Carmel Debreuil

    just stumbled on your site after eating a new ramen flavour and was trying to figure out the ingredients and flavour! We have Indomie brand all the time here and it’s also one of the cheapest. You can get it in five packs at all the grocery stores. I live fairly rural so we are a bit limited on variety though. A few weeks ago we went to Sydney and went to a grocery store in china town and half of the shop was dedicated to Asian food and they had a WHOLE AISLE of noodles! My son, who is a huge noodle fan, went mad. We got a few different kinds. One of our faves was KimChee flavoured ramen. Today I had one called Mie Sedaap and the flavour was Rasa Soto which was translated as Java Spicy Chicken flavour. I added some Bok Choy, coriander, sping onions, and roast chicken. It was divine. I hope you get a chance to try it. It has four flavour packs – the bumbu, chili, the oily stuf like in Indomie, and one more. The serving suggestion also included egg and tomato, fresh chillies and a slice of lime. I had lime so I did that. MMMM. Fragrant, spicy, and light. I really enjoyed the flavour of the soup base. The noodles were a bit smashed up and maybe not so great, but I think i will recreate that soup using the plain Ayam noodles – as soon as I can find a recipe! Anyway, great site. Cool idea. And yes, I called my noodle fan son up and he immediately made himself of Indomie with a fried egg. hehe
    cheers
    carm

    Reply
    1. Hans "The Ramen Rater" Lienesch Post author

      You know if I were in Australia and found a grocery store such as the one you describe, I would look for anything by Koka/Tat Hui. They make some tasty stuff! Plus there are a lot of IndSedaap varieties available here that aren’t found here, so if I was in an Australian grocery aisle I would be probably buying everything IO could get my hands on!
      Glad you enjoy the site and hope you continue to check it out – always something new!

      - TRR

      Reply
  22. weird

    it would be nice to get an native asians perspective. Granted you have tons of years of experience, but for what it’s worth, I’m not totally convinced simply because you weren’t raised to eat asian flavors. please dont take offense. As im’ sure this will start a huge response from your fans.

    Reply
    1. Hans "The Ramen Rater" Lienesch

      Heh well I can’t do much about the fact that I’m not Asian. One thing is that since instant noodles come from all over Asia, I think Indonesian instant vs Vietnamese instant would be a tough one comparison by one of one or the other country if that makes sense.

      I will try being more Asian though, I promise!

      - TRR

      Reply
  23. June

    I have been a huge ramen fan for a decade now and love experimenting with different brands. Though we don’t get a very large variety in India, I have tried Maggi, Top Ramen, Wai Wai, Mama, Koka, 2pm, Nong Shim, Family Choice and Indomei. Phew. Must say that Indomei is my favorite too. One bite and I was like this is the most delicious ramen ever!! This was about 2-3 years ago. Unfortunately, I never found it in any supermarket again :( Love your site and reviews and the fact that you give me some great garnishing ideas :)

    Reply
    1. Hans "The Ramen Rater" Lienesch

      June -

      Yeah instants from India are pretty good! I recently tried some from a brand called Asian Thai Foods – they’re made in Nepal but sold in India. One was called Krrish – apparently Krrish is a superhero – learn something new every day!

      - TRR

      Reply

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