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The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Instant Noodles Made In The USA Of All Time 2013 Edition

The instant noodle originated in 1958 in Japan, but since that time, they’ve expanded in popularity all over the world, including of course, the United States. Seeing this, instant noodle companies thought it wise to start building plants here in the 1970s. Since then, many brands operate factories here in the US, mostly in southern California. This is a list of my favorite varieties produced here, encompassing my over 1,100 reviews to date. With that, here’s your top ten, America!

#10: Nongshim Shin Bowl Noodle Soup

Shin Ramyun is one of the most popular instant noodles in South Korea. It’s spicy and beefy. This one here has that same great flavor and is microwaveable! A while back, they changed how they make their noodles for their line of bowls, and although they were great before, they’re even better now. Original review here

#9: Nissin Top Ramen Short Cuts Roast Chicken Flavor Ramen Noodle Soup

Nissin came out with this new line of noodles fairly recently. What’s unique about then is that they are a large box with a bag of seasoned noodles. You can use as little or as much as you like! The noodles are short and broad with a ‘comfort food’ appeal and a nice roast chicken flavor. Original review here

#8: Maruchan Bowl Hot & Spicy Shrimp Flavor Ramen Noodles With Vegetables

Maruchan has been known for a long time for their Instant Lunch line of noodles cups, but here we have something new for them – bowls! This one stood out for me – it had a ‘south of the border’ heat to it and was full of noodles of great quality. Spicy, but not so spicy most couldn’t handle it. Original review here

#7: Nissin Top Ramen Cucharealo Home-Style Picante Chicken Flavor

This is a serious fusion: the noodles are short and thin. I remember noodles kind of like these in other products when I was a kid, but always felt like I was getting way more soup than noodles. This one quells that need for more noodles – there’s plenty of them. The picante chicken flavor is excellent with notes of chili powder and cumin. Original review here

#6: Nissin Chow Mein Spicy Teriyaki Beef Flavor Chow Mein Noodles

I would have never thought that mixing teriyaki and spicy heat together would work, but it does. The combination is excellent – especially since the sauce coats everything so well. The vegetables hydrate nicely and it’s an all around great meal. Original review here

#5: Nongshim Chapagetti Roasted Chajang Noodle

Thick, slightly chewy noodles in a rich black bean sauce – excellent stuff. What’s also excellent is that you can make it in the microwave. It uses just a little water and the finished product has sucked it all up, leaving you with nice, saucy noodles. Original review here

#4: Maruchan Creamy Chicken Flavor Ramen Noodle Soup

I absolutely adore this stuff. Take your standard instant noodle and add a nice creamy chicken flavor. The broth has a really nice ‘stick to your ribs’ way about it. Whenever I’m under the weather, this is my go-to comfort noodle. Original review here

#3: Nongshim Shin Ramyun Black Premium Noodle Soup

After twenty years of Shin Ramyun, Nongshim decided to upgrade it. Enter Shin Ramyun Black. It has a richer broth, great noodles, and an amazing packet with nice veggies and beef – yes, beef. This one has little pieces of freeze dried beef that spring to life – and have an enjoyable chew and flavor! Original review here

#2: Sapporo Ichiban Japanese Style Noodles Chow Mein

This one requires a different approach to cooking, but it really pays off in the end. The noodles are cooked in very little water, which they slurp up rather quickly. Then you stir in the flavor packet and you’ve got some exceedingly wonderful chow. The flavor is reminiscent of yakisoba sauce; kind of a Worcestershire sauce thing going on. Then the fun part – a little packet of ‘green laver’ (powdered seaweed) is supplied for you to sprinkle on top. With it or without it, this one’s worth your time to try. Original review here

#1: Nongshim Jinjja Jinjja Flamin’ Hot & Nutty Noodle Soup

For regular followers of The Ramen Rater, this should be no surprise. I have been touting the greatness of this one back when it was only produced in South Korea. Happily, they make it in southern California now. Jinjja Jinjja (translates to Really Really) is a sumptuous sojourn to flavorland. Ramyun noodles are a little thicker and a little chewier than others. Combine that with a spicy and hearty pork broth, nice veggies and a packet with black sesame seeds and peanut powder. The result is absolutely perfect. Original review here

Countdown To Review #1,000

The wall above my screen at The Ramen Rater HQ

Right now, I’m at number 996 and going to pause. I will start reviewing again on Sunday, March 10th 2013. Why? Well, I figured I’d give myself a birthday present. #997 on Sunday, #998 on Monday and #999 will be on Tuesday. #1,000 will be reviewed and videotaped on Wednesday and posted on Thursday, which is my birthday!

I think I should also mention some other things. First off, the site has moved! The Ramen Rater is now hosted at WPEngine instead of at WordPress.com. This allows for a lot more flexibility and configurability of the site. I’m sure you’ve noticed the advertisements for The Ramen Rater Store. What we’re hoping is that these spaces will be purchased by instant noodle companies and other entities such as grocery stores. The Ramen Rater is a place where people from the world over congregate to get information and find out about instant noodles – I think there is a serious value in that.

With the move, those of you who have followed the site via WordPress.com in the past will have to follow now via the link on the bottom of the right hand column – you’ll see it right underneath the RSS feeds.

Another big change is that The Big List is now not only sortable but it has links! You can peruse the list online, sorting by brand, country of origin, rating, variety and what kind of package it’s in. Go have a look!

Yet another big change is that now every single review has been edited. I went through every single image and resized, watermarked and basically made it so everything looks nice and loads much faster than it used to. Let me tell you – resizing and editing over 6500 images took quite a while! A major reason for this was for the mobile crowd. I’ve partnered with a fellow from Oregon who has made most of the changes around here possible. He’s working hard behind the scenes and is responsible for the sortable Big List and pretty much how everything looks here!

Android users: in the future, there will be a The Ramen Rater app! The app is currently in beta but I will let everyone know of it’s progress and happily announce its completion at the right time. Some features we hope to implement will be search via UPC code (yep – scan a pack at the store and it’ll pop up on your mobile device!) amongst other things.

Well, that’s it until Sunday. I want as always to thank everyone for reading the blog, your great comments and sending donations and samples to review – without you, the blog would be quite boring. Big thanks to Dave J. who has invested a lot of time, effort and money into getting this site looking so nice! Finally, an enormous thank you to my lovely wife who puts up with my crazy instant noodle obsession and antics. I love you, Kit!

The countdown to #1,000 starts Sunday!


Hans Lienesch

The Ramen Rater

Re-Review: Indomie Chicken Curry Flavour Instant Noodles

My son went and picked out a bunch of instant noodles at the Asian grocery a couple weeks ago and today he would like to try this one. A good pick – nothing’s more interesting than curry! I put curry up there with garlic, bacon and kimchi… Indescribably tasty.

Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge).

The noodle block.

Powder seasoning and chili powder.

Here’s the seasoning powder – no chili powder here though. I figure everyone knows what it looks like and since the boy doesn’t like anything spicy, left it out.

Seasoned oil.

Has a nice curry scent to it.

Here’s Andy enjoying some noodles – he digs ’em! Check out his blog, Andy’s LEGO Stuff! Click here!

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added some white rice and kamaboko. The noodles are your standard tasty Indomie. The broth is really nice – that oil makes such a difference. It’s got a really confortable chicken curry flavor! Excellent stuff – 4.0 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 089686140101 – get it here.

Indomie Instant Noodles Soup Chicken Curry Flavor for 1 Case (30 Bags)

This is absolutely awesome – 40th annoversary of Indomie video!

Indofood makes cooking oil and all sorts of other things as well

Re-Review: Sapporo Ichiban Japanese Style Noodles & Original Flavored Soup

We went to Walmart on Black Friday! Well, let me explain – it was at 6pm or so, so the amount of crazy people was lower. It seems though that the Walmart we always go to has a surplus of crazy people usually. I imagine the early morning Black Friday folks would’ve been a scary lot. One thing I noticed was that they hadn’t bought all of the noodles, so I thought I’d get a couple to re-review. Here’s one of them last time I tried it, it was revirew #207. Hoping some new things to review come soon – only have one in the hamper that’s needing review… Re-reviews are fun though since they’re not been visited in so long.

Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge).

The noodle block. Decently sized with a little more weight than I usually find in domestic packs. The noodles when sampled uncooked are a little different too – pretty good.

The lone seasoning packet.

The seasoning powder. Kind of has a soy flavor to it; I would think this one’s a soy sauce noodle perhaps?

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added stir fry veggies, hard boiled egg with Cavender’s Greek Seasoning, Thanksgiving turkey (the very last bits of it) and some Urashima Sesame & Salt furikake. The noodles are good – large amoung and decent gauge. The broth is good too – strong soy and salt flavor. Good stuff! 3.5 out of 5.0 stars! UPC bar code 076186000011 – get it here!

Some older Sapporo Ichiban commercials

Looks like Sapporo Ichiban Shio Ramen has been around for a while – glad they finally brought it to the US!

#922: Sunlee Shitake Mushroom Instant Vermicelli

Here’s one we got during our summer vacation. Found it at the Uwajimaya in Beaverton, Oregon. Mushrooms… Well, Let’s give it a go!

Here’s a close-up of he text on the lid (click to enlarge)

Hey – it’s a fork!

The noodle whorl.

This is kind of interesting; I’ve seen many many dual packets like this, but never one that is horizontally labeled.

The seasoning powder with the chili powder on top.

Seasoned oil.

Looks like a clear oil. Has some bits in there though.

Bits of shitake.

Little bits!

Finished (click to enlarge). The noodles are pretty good; they’re bean vermicelli. The broth is spicy with a strong chili powder taste and very mushroomy. The bits of mushroom are spongy. This was not my cup of tea. 1.25 out of 5.0 stars. If you love mushrooms in all forms, this might be for you, but as for myself, this is really funky. UPC bar code 761934016481 – get it here.

Time lapse of mushrooms growing

Shitake mushroom farmers!