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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!

#898: Long Kow’s Crystal Noodle Soup Savory Shoyu

Here’s one I don’t have high hopes for as I’ve had a few other ones that weren’t very enjoyable in the past. But hey – this could be really awesome, right? I’m hoping so!

Side panel detail (click to enlarge).

Yep – bean vermicelli.

So inside the cup is another package – this one contains a seasoning block! I have always thought these things were fascinating.

I love brownies! It looks like some kind of asparagus treat but it’s a freeze dried block with veggies and soup base.

Finished (click image to enlarge). The noodles are not my cup of tea. I have been enjoying bean thread more lately since I found scissors to make them less ‘gaggy’ but these are a little thicker and tougher. The broth isn’t bad – has a nice light soy sauce flavor. The star of the dish is the veggies – really awesome with corn and cabbage. Still, this doesn’t make up for the nature of the dish. I really don’t like it. 1.5 out of 5.0 stars. UPC Bar code 186190000119 – get it here.

Awesome Long Kow video

The violin-like instrument is called the ‘erhu’

Meet The Manufacturer #889: Yamachan Ramen Rich Shoyu Ramen

This is the last of the samples I got from Yamachan Ramen! Must admit I’m sad to see them go! Very tasty fare and it’s been a lot of fun! This one’s shoyu. Let’s give it a try.

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

Here are the bags of fresh ramen noodles.

The soup base.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added broccoli, yellow onion, green bell pepper, turkey breast, hard boiled egg, kizami shoga (pickled ginger), green onions and Ajishima Kimchi furikake. The noodles are nice – chewy and fresh. The broth is pretty good – has a strong soy taste but also a bitterness and a sweetness – as lot going on there. Good stuff! 4.0 out of 5.0 stars.UPC bar code 767921011101 .

A neat video on how they demo the mild Yamachan Ramen varieties at a grocery store.

How to make Yakibuta Ramen – this is classic!

#877: Nongshim Shin Bowl Noodle Soup (New Version)

Realized I haven’t reviewed the new version of the Shin Bowl. A lot of people have asked if I noted any difference from the old version (non-microwaveable) and the new one. Well, I guess we shall see!

Panels from the cardboard outer (click to enlarge).

Here’s a close up of the lid (click to enlarge).

The noodle block – nice color!

A single seasoning packet.

The hot stuff! This is a Korean red broth – something to enjoy thoroughly for its spiciness!

Here are a couple bits that were in the bottom of the bowl under the noodle block. Looks like mushroom and some other things going on. There was a lot more.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added some fresh onions, some kimchi and a couple pieces of processed cheese. The noodles are great – light and buttery. The broth is good too – nice and flavorful and spicy. The veggies aren’t bad – decent amount of them too. As far as a difference, I would say it’s definitely not as spicy as it used to be, but it definitely has a very good taste I enjoyed thoroughly. From looking at the old version review, I’m going to say I like this one a lot better. 4.25 out of 5.0 stars!UPC bar code 031146262441.

[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B0054TWQ36″]

A Shin Ramyun commercial.

My interview with KBS America.

Okay so by now, most folks have heard about Psy and Gangnam Style. He’s definitely not representative of all Korean pop music – his tune’s definitely something different. A lot of what you hear from Korea are boy bands/girl bands – and oft times they have a ton of members – I think 2ne1 has like 7 men and women. Here’s something else you see an awful lot – companies having KPop bands promote their products. This is one of the members of T-ara with a recipe for Shin Ramyun. Now what’s interesting about this one is that there was a bit of a controversy in Japan about this; if you watch it, you will notice at a certain point she puts the noodles on the updide down lid and eats them. This is a very common practice in Korea to cool down the noodles. Well, the Japanese found this a little off-putting. People are funny.

#867: Indomie Mi Instan Rasa Coto Makassar

This is a real treat – this is one of the varieties not available in the United States and was kindly sent by Edwin N. of Vancouver, BC! Thank you again so much! So what is Coto Makassar anyways? Well, here’s something I found here:

Coto? Nope, I am not misspelled the word to Soto (popular Indonesian dishes). Its a local name for the traditional food from South Sulawesi, a soup that consist of meat, specifically the innards of cow, and mixed with spices like galangal and pepper. Galangal is also known as Blue ginger, Alpinia galanga, or lengkuas in Indonesian name.

Makassar in the name refers to the capital city of South Sulawesi, where this unique dishes is very popular as the local traditional food.

Wikipedia says:

Coto Makassar or Coto Mangkasara (Makassarese), is an Indonesian culinary food originating from Makassar, South Sulawesi. It is a soup with seasoning broth made from starch.[1] The main content of this soup is beef and it can be mixed with innards such as intestine, liver, lungs, heart, tripe, or cow brain.[2]

Coto Makassar is usually served with Burasa or Ketupat.

Soup’s on – let’s try it!

Was very hard to read – black deep red – so I used some Photoshop magic to make it easier. Click to enlarge.

The noodle block.

Dry seasoning powder and chili powder.

Dark colored chunky base with the chili powder on top.

Seasoning oil packet.

Curious – smells kind of like peanut butter.

Fried onion!

Nothing better than a little fried onion on top!

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added some grocery store frozen stir-fry veggies, a hard boiled egg with Krazy Mixed Up Salt and some Dua Belibis. Noodles are good and work well in soup. Nice texture. The broth Has a very deep and dark color. Has a spicy and a funky beef taste – kind of a spicy vegetable beef kind of thing going on. Good stuff. 4.0 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 089686043051 .

Short film showing the preparation of Coto Makassar.

This is one bizarre documentary – “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” – Judas Priest fans in a parking lot at a show in 1986 – quite interesting.

#854: Long Kow’s Crystal Noodle Soup Hot & Sour

Here’s an interesting one. This one’s got bean thread, something I am not usually thrilled with. Let’s see what happens.

Here’s the side panels – click to enlarge.

The lid is clear so you can see inside!

The bean thread whorl. I think it’s probably a nest or something; I don’t know what the correct term is.

The seasonings come in their own fancy packet – as a block.

I decided this morning to make some banana bread with chocolate chips. Actually, this is the seasoning block! Crazy looking, eh?

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added some baked chicken breast and a little Sylvia’s Queen of Soul Food hot sauce. Okay so the noodles aren’t too bad – not my favorite though. they’re clear and hard to break apart with the lips. The broth is pretty good – definitely a nice hot and soup soup flavor. The veggies and bits aren’t bad – they really go nicely with the hot and sour flavor. 3.5 out of 5.0 stars. Probably one of the best bean thread soups I’ve had yet. UPC bar code 086190000102 – get it here.

This is a wacky one!

A Monster Named Nian – The Story of Chinese New Year

#845: Nongshim Doong Ji Authentic Korean Cold Noodles in Chilled Broth

Well, time for another try with cold noodles! Been really enjoying them recently – curious how these will fare – look pretty fancy!

Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge). So it’s a little different cooking this one, but shouldn’t be too tough.

Buckwheat noodles!

This is one big packet – won’t fit into one of my little cups.

Veggies!

An interesting looking mixture.

This is put on at the very end. Interesting…

Another one of the new bowls from the President of Nongshim America! Thank you again! I decided it would only be right to try each one out the first time with a Nongshim product.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added a little roast beef and some hard boiled egg with Krazy Mixed Up Salt. Okay first things first… A while back, I tried Naengmyeon at a Korean restaurant and really didn’t like it. The noodles were really very hard to eat. I read about it on Wikipedia and it mentioned that a lot of times the servers would use big scissors to cut the noodles into shorter more manageable lengths. As I took the first bite of these noodles, I found myself in the same situation, so I tried the scissors – big difference! With that out of the way… The noodles are thin and have an almost gel-like coating. I don’t like this when it comes to bean thread, but it’s different here. The broth is sweet and tasty. No heat like a ramyun – it’s more of a sweet and refreshing flavor. The mustard is different; very interesting! The veggies are good – cucumber and other bits you’d commonly find served cold in there. All in all, I’m really impressed; this was really comparable to the noodle dish I got at a Korean restaurant. 4.25 out of 5.0 stars! UPC bar code 031146158171 – get it here.

A Nongshim Doong Ji TV commercial

Sorry, couldn’t resist…

#805: Acecook Super Big Ramen Soy Sauce Flavor Japanese Style Instant Noodle

So the last one of these I had was super salty. hoping this one isn’t going to be like that; I couldn’t really eat the last one because of it.

3,290mg of sodium (click image to enlarge).

A nice looking noodle block.

A big seasoning packet.

Veggies and powder.

A liquid packet.

Smells like sesame oil.

Finished. (click image to enlarge) Noodles are lackluster; they lack decent backbone. The broth is extremely salty but has a nice soy flavor. The oil kind of cheapens the experience as does the heavy saltiness A tad less on both would be excellent. The finest point in this one was the veggies. They’re really decent – corn and other bits like narutomaki. That doesn’t save it from doom though. 1.25 out of 5.0 stars – again, so salty I couldn’t finish it. UPC bar code 074410396701 – get it here.

Looks like a commercial for its Japanese version.

How to make soy sauce