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The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Japanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2018 Edition

Recently, I added a chat feature to The Ramen Rater, allowing readers to comment and ask me questions directly. It’s been very eye-opening; great to hear about why people are here and what they’re interested in seeing. One thing I have been asked repeatedly is ‘when will there be an update to the Japan list?’ Well, I heard you. The last list came out in 2014. I’ve been reviewing a LOT of Japanese varieties lately, and it looks like there will be an influx of Japanese varieties for the foreseeable future crossing my desk. This most likely will be an annual list from now on. With that being said I should also mention that with the huge amount of varieties that are released annually in Japan, many are discontinued. While this is the ‘of all time list,’ spanning all my reviews, I try to make sure that what is on it is available. This is very hard with Japanese varieties. Finally, I should mention also that if you’re an instant noodle manufacturer from Japan or elsewhere for that matter and you’d like me to review your products, I encourage you to use the contact form and drop me a line. That being said, let’s take a look at this new list, encompassing my favorite and most memorable reviews from the over 2,500 reviews I’ve done to date.

The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Japanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2018 Edition

Video Presentation

This video includes images and commentary on The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Japanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2018 Edition.

The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Japanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2018 Edition

#10: Nissin Men Shokunin Kaoruyasai Shio

top ten japanese #10: Nissin Men Shokunin Kaoruyasai Shio

The noodles are very, very good – a really nice thinnish gauge with a strong backbone and just the nicest little bit of crumble to them – almost dainty. the broth is thick and rich shio with a lot of pork and chicken flavor throughout. The included cabbage, sesame seeds and other veggies are just perfect. Original review

#9: Nissin Cup Noodle Light+ Bagna Cauda

#9: Nissin Cup Noodle Light+ Bagna Cauda

The Cup Noodle Light+ series has really impressed me; amazing how much flavor you get out of a low-cal cup. The noodles have a really nice quality to them – not mushy or anything; they’re just really good. The broth is saucy and hearty with a cheese and light fish taste which is augmented with vegetables galore. This is on the top ten cups list and now on the top ten japanese list. Original review

#8: Nissin Raoh Hot & Sour Ramen

#9: Nissin Cup Noodle Light+ Bagna Cauda

Nissin’s Raoh is a range of premium varieties. The noodle are great – excellent chew and backbone. The broth is serious business – oily, rich in color and has a nice hot and sour taste. Original review

#7: Sapporo Ichiban Otafuku Okonomi Sauce Yakisoba

#7: Sapporo Ichiban Otafuku Okonomi Sauce Yakisoba

I’ve always really loved yakisoba and this is the best I’ve found in an instant form yet. Otofuku is a brand of yakisoba sauce that can be found almost anywhere, and it’s inclusion in this one is just perfection. What’s more, the noodles are garnished with green laver (flaked seaweed) and a little mayonnaise packet! Original review

#6: New Touch Sugomen Niigata Seabura Shoyu Ramen

#6: New Touch Sugomen Niigata Seabura Shoyu Ramen

The noodles hydrated very well and have one seriously good chew to them. The broth is equally amazing – a purely elegant shoyu broth with a good oiliness and great flavor. The vegetable bits hydrated very well and were of excellent quality. To top it off, it comes with a happy little slice of pork, which comes out just right. Original review

#5: Maruchan Gotsumori Sauce Yakisoba

#5: Maruchan Gotsumori Sauce Yakisoba

This big tray of yakisoba was a very nice surprise. First, there’s a lot of noodles here – easily enough for two. Second, the flavor has a little hint of spiciness. Thirdly, the cabbage hydrated very nicely with a tantalizing crunch. Finally, the inclusion of Kewpie mayonnaise sealed the deal for me. Original review

#4: Marutai Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen

#4: Marutai Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen

The noodles came out just right – nice firmness and chew with that groovy flouriness Hakata ramen noodle have. The broth is luxuriant – nice and thick with a rich pork flavor and garlic taste. Just top notch tonkotsu. Original review

#3: Seven & I Gold Sumire Ramen

#3: Seven & I Gold Sumire Ramen

The noodles are thick and chewy – very premium. The broth has a very rich miso flavor that had a little thickness and a nice oiliness. The vegetables and bits hydrated perfectly – nice bits of ground meat and menma float happily about and are of good quality. Original review

#2: Tokushima Seifun Yakibuta Ramen

#2: Tokushima Seifun Yakibuta Ramen

The broth has a nice saltiness and soy flavor with just a little touch of sweetness. The pork flavor finds it’s way into the broth as well which is spectacular. The pork has a nice sweetness and ‘fall off the bone’ texture to it which is pure delicacy. The army of decent sized slices of narutomaki were amazing, and the spring onion and bamboo shoots were perfect. A bowl of amazing taste and quality. Original review

#1: Nissin Gyoretsu-no-Dekiru-Mise-no-Ramen (Shrimp Tantanmen

#1: Nissin Gyoretsu-no-Dekiru-Mise-no-Ramen (Shrimp Tantanmen

Talk about amazing. Now, on most of these bowls, you’ll notice I’ve added my own garnishes. I don’t count them in my reviewing – everything is reviewed prior to any additions I make. This is one where I’ve added nothing and just look at it! This one had very good noodles to start off. The broth was a very thick prawn infused decadent flavor spectacle. Then there’s the little crunchy topping and the other garnish they provide and this is just amazing stuff. Wow. Floored. The top of ther Top Ten Japanese varieties Original review

#2265: Nissin Cup Noodles Rich Soft Shelled Turtle Soup

Thhis was sent to me by Ippin, a purveyor of wonderful Japanese items! Thank you again! I heard about this variety a few months back and was immediately interested. I’ve never had turtle soup although I’ve heard it’s a very fancy dish. This new Cup Noodle Rich line is supposed to be very fancy and quite nice – excited to try it!  This one isn’t available as it has been discontinued by the manufacturer and I don’t think anyone is selling it anymore (Ippin mentioned that they weren’t selling it either). There was some concern by animal rights activists over it being turtle flavor. Kind of confused by this since turtle seems to be available most places. But that’s a conversation for a different day – today is about flavor – let’s give it a try!

Detail of the side panels (click to enlarge). Contains meat. To prepare, add boiling water to fill line and cover. Let steep for 3 minutes. Add in contents of liquid sachet. Stir and enjoy!

Detail of the lid (click to enlarge).

The noodle block.

Loose powder and solid ingredients from the cup.

The liquid sachet.

A light oil.

Finished (click to enlarge). Since I’ve never tasted anything ‘turtle’ before, whether it be real or artificial, I’m kind of at a disadvantage here. The noodles are the standard Cup Noodle style; flat and thin with a very soft chew. The broth is a kind of salty and almost chicken or duck kind of flavor – wavering between the two familial fowls. The garnish bits are where I notice the interesting things – there’s a little bit of onion and mushroom. Then there are what seem to be meatballs or sausage bits which definitely have a taste I’m not accustomed to. It’s pretty good but also kind of strange. Like I said, if I had a turtle frame of reference I could tell how true to the taste it is. Not my favorite but a fascinating variety. 2.75 out of 5.0 stars. JAN bar code 4902105232613.

Nissin Cup Noodles Rich – Garlic, Egg Yolk & Oxtail 67g (Very new. Launched 6 October 2016)

Nissin’s TV commercials are some of the funniest and most unique I’ve seen.

#2221: Nissin Cup Noodle Seafood Flavor

I know, I know… ‘You haven’t reviewed THIS one yet?!’ This was sent to me by a reader named Colin (thanks again!) and he got it at a specialty shop in Mexico. This is a really common Japanese Cup Noodle but I’ve never been able to get a hoold of it – until now. Let’s give it a look!

Distribution stickers from the outside of the cup (click to enlarge).

Detail of the side panels (click to enlarge). Contains seafood. To prepare, add boiling water to fill live, cover, and let sit for 3 minutes. Stir and enjoy!

Detail of the lid (click to enlarge).

The noodle block.

Some loose noodles, seasonings and seafood.

Finished (click to enlarge). Added kamaboko, narutomaki and spring onion. The noodles came out as expected – your standard thin, flat noodle with light chew. The broth has a nice and again light seafood flavor with a buttery and salty back to it. The inclusion of cabbage, scrambled egg, crabstick, clam and other bits really worked with the broth and I was definitely surprised how much I really enjoyed this one. Excellent Cup Noodle! 4.5 out of 5.0 stars. JAN bar code 49698633.

Nissin Cup Noodles Seafood Noodle 74g×20

This is a seriously amazing video – watch it.

#2195: Nissin Gyorai Inaniwa Chuka Soba

Here’s a new one from Javier over at www.BoxFromJapan.com. Box From Japan offers subscription boxes of instant noodles and other Japan related awesomeness like candy! For $25/month, you get 4 really unique instant noodle bowls to your door – that includes shipping. What’s more, so far I’ve not received one duplicate or any I’ve ever reviewed before, which is quite amazing since I’m approaching 2,200 reviews. Here’s what they had to say about this variety –

Cup noodles made under the supervision of Mr. Kenji Tsukada, the storeowner of the famous shop “Hongare Chuka Soba Gyorai” in Koishikawa, Tokyo. We have reproduced the “Ina Niwa Chuka Soba” from that store’s billboard menu. The Noodles: Straight noodles with a unique, smooth, slippery texture. The Soup: A flavorful yet mild soup using chicken soup stock as well as seafood soup stock made from ingredients such as mackerel, dried sardines, konbu, and bonito. The Toppings: Roast pork and white leeks.

Excellent! Let’s tear into it!

Detail of the side panels (click to enlarge). Contains pork, chicken and fish. To prepare, add in pork and vegetables and boiling water to the fill line. Let steep covered for 5 minutes. Add in liquid base. Stir and enjoy!

Detail of the lid (click to enlarge).

The noodle block.

The liquid base sachet.

Thick and oily.

The vegetables sachet.

A very light mixture!

The meat componenet.

A slice of pork.

Finished (click to enlarge). Added Salad Cosmo mung bean sprouts, hard boiled egg, kizami shoga, spring onion and nanami togarashi. The noodles are excellent – very sturdy and full of chewiness with a fitting break to them. The broth is a real beauty with a lovely oiliness whose bubble dance at the top like jewels and has a very nice combination surf and turf kind of taste to it. I really enjoy the seafood component; good sardine taste. The included vegetables were of good quality and the pork was good as well. 5.0 out of 5.0 stars.  JAN bar code 4902105235874.

Nissin – Raoh Japanese Instant Ramen Hiyashi Chuka Noodle Soup (For 5 Servings)

A video featuring the ramen-ya that was the inspiration for this new product.

#2189: Nissin Demae Ramen Sesame Oil Flavour

Here’s one of the many I still have left from the Nissin Hong Kong Meet The Manufacturer. They sure have a lot of SKU’s! Sesame Demae Ramen is a classic favorite around the world and especially in Hong Kong. Let’s check out the cup version!

Detail of the side panels (click to enlarge). Contains meat, egg and fish. to prepare, add boiling water to fill line, cover, and let steep for 3 minutes. Add in sachet contents. Stir and enjoy!

Detail of the lid (click to enlarge).

The noodle block.

Some of the loose ingredients from the cup – check out the little fishcakes (click to enlarge)!

An oil sachet.

Sesame oil!

Finished (click to enlarge). Added Salad Cosmo mung bean sprouts, spring onion, hard boiled egg, chicken baked with NuTek Salt For Life and pepper and some nanami togarashi. The noodles were good, a slight bit of sog but it kind of worked in this one. The broth has a nice and rich sesame taste to it and a hearty back. The really amazing thing here is all the garnish – bits of scrambled egg, meat. cabbage – and a multitude of little ching chai faces on fish cake. Eating faces. Eating lots of faces. 4.0 out of 5.0 stars. EAN bar code 4897878150014.

Nissin Demae Ramen Noodle Bowl, Sesame Oil Pack of 12

A new Nissin Demae Ramen TV advert.

#1605: Nissin Demae Iccho Mushroom With Vegetables Flavour Macaroni

Another one I figured I ought to get to before we move. This one is from Hong Kong and one of a line of interesting flavored macaroni instants by Nissin. Amongst them are seafood, chicken and abalone and many more. Let’s check out this mushroom vegetable flavored Nissin Demae Iccho variant!

Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge). Looks to be meat free but check for yourself. To prepare, add macaroni to 500ml boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Add in sachet contents and stir. Enjoy!

The macaoni noodles.

The soup base sachet.

Has a kind of vegetable scent to it along with soy and salty notes.


Finished (click image to enlarge).  Added spring onion. The noodles have thin walls and a light texture. The broth has a mellow mushroom flavor – not deep and musty but gentle with a nice salty taste. 3.5 out of 5.0 stars.EAN bar code 4897878410057.

Nissin Demae Ramen Variety Pack (Tonkotsu Series) – these are great and a neat way to try Nissin Demae Iccho!

An awesome Nissin advertisement.

#1578: Nissin Gonbuto Tempura Udon

I thought today would be a nice day to deal with one I’ve been a little confused about. The instructions on this one have had me confused; drain it but it has soup? Hmmm… Well, a YouTube video I found helped with that and now it makes a lot of sense! In fact, it’s looking like a very easy one to prepare to be honest. Let’s have a look at this Nissin Gonbuto Tempura Udon and it’s unique preparation.

The distributor/import sticker (click image to enlarge). Contains shrimp.

Detail from the side panel (click image to enlarge).

Detail of the lid (click image to enlarge). To prepare, boil 320ml water and set aside. Take udon pack and microwave at 500w for 30 seconds. Add soup base sachet to bowl and add in boiling water. Stir. Add in udon you microwaved. Add on tempura disk and sprinkle with garnish. Enjoy!

The microwavable udon pouch.

Soup base sachet.

Has a fish scent.

The garnish sprinkle sachet.

Very small sachet, small amount of garnish.

The tempura!

Haven’t had one of these in a while – I remember I like them crunchy!

Finished (click image to enlarge). The noodles came out really well – nice and hot with a great texture – not rubbery or anything and soft. The broth has a sweet soy and fish taste to it which was about what I expected. The broth also had pieces of seaweed which were quite nice. The tempura has a nice crunch and when it soaked up the broth was good as well; added some heartiness to the bowl. The little sprinkles were alright. 4.0 out of 5.0 stars.JAN bar code 4902105216422.

Another popular tempura udon from Nissin Japan is this Hokkaido Gentei KITA no DONBEI Tempura Udon.

[youtube url=url= http://youtu.be/Fik7GKwQFgI[A Nissin Gonbuto TV spot featuring kitsune udon.

#1566: Nissin Cup Noodles Tomato Enjoy Noodles With Hot Soup

This one I got at a large Indian grocery in Bellevue a month of so ago. I had a couple from this line waaay back – a Pani Puri and a Manchurian one. This one sounds pretty good to me – also curious how must of the hot sour I’ll enjoy as I’m going to bet this sucks up almost all the liquid. Anyways, let’s see!

 Here’s an import sticker (click image to enlarge).

Detail of the side panels (click image to enlarge).

Here’s the lid (click image to enlarge). To prepare, pull back lid halfway and add boiling water to line and reclose lid. Let steep for 3 minutes and stir. Enjoy!

Here’s a shot of the contents of the cup. There’s no sachet – the flavoring is included in with the noodles. I did see a piece of corn as well.


Finished (click image to enlarge). Added coriander, corn and sweet onion. The noodles are thin and very crumbly. The little broth has a nice tomato flavor which is definitely Indian-inspired. The veggies ended up coming out quite decently – corn, carrot and french beans were nice and had a fresh feel and weren’t mushy. 3.25 out of 5.0 stars. EAN bar code 8901014004621.

Epic Tomatoes: How to Select and Grow the Best Varieties of All Time – (from Amazon) – Savor your best tomato harvest ever! Craig LeHoullier, tomato adviser for Seed Savers Exchange, offers everything a tomato enthusiast needs to know about growing more than 200 varieties of tomatoes — from sowing seeds and planting to cultivating and collecting seeds at the end of the season. He also offers a comprehensive guide to the various pests and diseases of tomatoes and explains how best to avoid them. No other book offers such a detailed look at the specifics of growing tomatoes, with beautiful photographs and helpful tomato profiles throughout.

Here’s a Nissin India TV spot for their Smooth Top Ramen!

Christmas Review: #1263: Nissin Cup Noodle Curry X Gunpla RX-78-2 Gundam

I’ve been really wanting to review this one before now but I decided to do it for the Christmas review quite a while back. I don’t usually barge in with a different review during Meet The Manufacturer, but it’s Christmas so here it is. The ABC President Meet The Manufacturer will continue after Christmas. For now, let’s check out this cup. I’ve had cups that have come with little doo dads before; a ticket for a contest, a sticker, a little card… But this is something completely different. A little model kit! Let’s check it out!

The side panels (click image to enlarge). Contains pork. To prepare, open lid halfway, add 300ml boiling water. Use sticker from bottom of the cup to hold the lid closed for 3 minutes. Stir and you’re done.

Detail of the lid (click image to enlarge).

The top part contains the model kit.

Detail of the insert inside (click image to enlarge).

The parts bag.

The front of the instructions (click image to enlarge).

Back of the instructions (click image to enlarge). Not the little Pac Man looking ‘don’t eat’ icon on the right! We’ll get back to the model further down.

The noodle block – chock full of seasoning.

Lots of bits and pieces in this cup – lots of potatoes and pork too!


Finished (click image to enlarge. Added sauteed pork seasoned with garlic salt and green onions.  The noodles are good – flat and thin. They have a light texture but are not fluffy. The flavor is salty and full of Japanese curry taste. Japanese curry tends to me more sweet. The broth is good. The additions: potatoes are perfect – and plentiful. The pork bits are alright. 4.25 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 4902105222355.

From these parts, a Gundam RX-78-2 shall be assembled!

Ready for battle!

…with Captain Picard? Sure, why not! Merry Christmas!

Robotic behemoths and noodles – can’t go wrong!

#1241: Nissin Donbei Kansai Soy Sauce Flavor Udon

Was digging through the box today and decided I’d better get on this one. I couldn’t really find a lot about it other than the Google translation from Nissin Japan’s site. It mentions something about being special for the rainy season. Also mentions seaweed. Let’s give it a try!

Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge). Contains fish extracts. To prepare, boil 500ml water and add noodle block. Cook for 5 minutes. Empty seasoning sachet in bowl, add broth and stir then noodles.

The noodle block.

The soup base sachet.

Looks to contain green onions as well as powder base.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added scrambled egg and kamaboko. The noodles have a very enjoyable texture and chew. They’re udon alright – wide and hearty. The broth (which I expected to be salty) was rich but not overly so. I could taste a ‘of the sea’ flavor with notes of seaweed. 3.75 out of 5.0 stars.UPC bar code 4902105106020.

It’s December and I’ll never forget the Christmas morning that I heard the Godfather of Soul James Brown died. I think I’ll be posting some James Brown video this month.

#1158: Nissin Demae Iccho Instant Noodle With Soup Base XO Sauce Seafood Flavour

Here’s another one my wife got me up in Canada on my birthday earlier this year! This is one big cup of noodles! You might be wondering what XO Sauce is. Well, the ‘XO’ part is a status thing; it’s considered to be a prestigious prefix in Asia denoting luxury or high quality as in cognac. As for what’s in it, Wikipedia says:

Developed in the 1980s in Hong Kong for Cantonese cuisine, XO sauce is made of roughly chopped dried seafoods, including scallops, dried fish and shrimp, and subsequently cooked with chili peppers, onions, and garlic. This dried seafood-based sauce bares similarity to the Fujianese Shacha sauce. Spring Moon, the Peninsula Hong Kong‘s Chinese restaurant is often credited with the invention of XO sauce, although others claim the sauce’s origin in the urban area of Kowloon.[2]

Fitting this variety being from Hong Kong. Anyways, let’s check it out!

Here are the side panels (click image to enlarge). Contains wheat, soybeans, fish and milk.

The noodle block.

The soup base packet.

Lots of it!

The solid ingredients.

Lots of little pieces of narutomaki in a melange of veggies.

The XO sauce packet – oohhh!


Smells good!

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added shrimp, imitation crab stick, hard boiled egg and Walla Walla sweet onion. The noodles are pretty good with a very standard gauge and quality. The broth however is quite nice. The XO sauce gives it a very rich seafood flavor that is most enjoyable and hearty. The inclusion of a decent amount of veggies and narutomaki rounds things out well. 4.0 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 4897878120055.

A Nissin Cup Noodle XO Sauce TV advert.

#1107: Nissin Demae Ramen Kimchi Flavour Instant Noodle With Soup Base

Another one from my birthday trip to Canada – thanks, Kit! I’ve seen plenty of Demae Ramen varieties, but not until I visited Canada did I find bowls! Let’s check it out.

The side panels (click to enlarge). Contains wheat, soybeans, fish, crustacean and milk.

The noodle block.

Powder soup base.

Has a spicy taste with garlic and onion notes.

The vegetable packet.

Has a lot of corn and narutomaki in there!

The liquid packet.

A seasoned oil with a slightly bitter scent.

Finished (click to enlarge). Hey look – a new bowl! Added sauteed red bell pepper and beef, kimchi and an egg. The noodles are good – better than the usual steeped noodles in paper cups or bowls. The broth has a nice spiciness and tang to it. The vegetables hydrated nicely as did the little spiral narutomaki. A decent bowl for lunch. 3.5 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 4897878120079.

A series of great Demae Ramen commercials!