Tag Archives: 2013

#2013: Great Value Beef Style Ramen Noodles

My sister got these for my birthday up in Canada – thank you! I’ve wanted to review some Walmart branded instant noodles for years; just seems fitting that Walmart would have instant noodles. These were bought in Canada, however they’re made in the United States. However, I’ve never seen instant noodles with the Great Value brand inside the United States… Anyways, let’s crack this open and see how this one fares.

Here’s the back of the package (click to enlarge). Looks to be meat free but check for yourself. To prepare, add noodle block to 2 cup (500ml) boiling water and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add contents of seasoning sachet. Stir and enjoy!

The noodle block.

The soup base sachet.

The soup base powder – has a beef scent and is very fine.

Finished (click to enlarge). Added beef, sweet onion and coriander. The noodles are very standard with the slight slippery glutenous layer on the outside. They have a very standard gauge. The broth is a very standard beef as well; single sachet and tastes like beef. It is set apart from other Canadian varieties in the way that it isn’t completely bland, but has an alright flavor. 3.5 out of 5.0 stars.  UPC bar code 628915242584.

Sam Walton: Made In America

A great documentary of the history of Walmart.

New Product Samples From Prima Taste

The last time I got product samples from Prima Taste of Singapore I was pleasantly surprised. Their Laksa and Curry noodles ended up at the top of my yearly top ten list. What lies inside this box?

Yes! These are the #1 and #2 from my 2013 list – really good stuff!

These are meal kits. You get a couple large pouches of sauce and add meat and vegetables or noodles and you’ve got dinner. I’ve tried the rendang – that was really good!

Look what we have here. This is Prima Taste Chilli Crab, which is Prima Taste’s newest noodle. I’ll be reviewing this pretty soon! Thanks to Zi Hua and everyone else at Prima Taste!

The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Additions To Instant Noodles 2013

I eat instant noodles. Every day. As of writing this list, I’ve reviewed 1,219 different varieties of instant noodles. Many people ask me if I get sick of instant noodles. Part of the reason I always say no is that I add things to my noodles to make them a more complete meal after I’ve reviewed them. I have seen quite a few lists online purporting to ‘hack’ or ‘pimp’ your ramen. Well, I’m not going to say that you will be able program it or hire it out, but it should be a bit more enjoyable and well-rounded. With that, here are my top ten favorite things to add to instant noodles for 2013.

#10 – Nuts & Seeds

Recently, I reviewed a variety made in Nepal that mentioned eating it crushed and raw. This reminded me of snack mixes from India which contain a variety of nuts and seeds and gave it a try. It actually was quite good! What’s more, I’ve found that almonds go well in soupy noodles, and crushed peanuts atop varieties that don’t have any broth.

#9: Peanut Butter

Have you ever gotten some noodles that are just too spicy? Want to add a little protein and heartiness to a thin broth? Peanut butter in small amounts can work really well for this. I’ve used it in South Korean ramyun to cool down the heat before and it works quite well. Just remember – start by stirring in a little at a time as it can overwhelm the other flavors if too much is used.

#8: Pickled Ginger

I found pickled ginger to be to my liking the first time I tried Japanese yakisoba at a restaurant, so I sought it out and found it at the store. It’s got a nice little added crunch to it and a sharp flavor that adds well to Indonesian mi goreng varieties, Thai varieties and of course Japanese yakisoba.

#7: Hot Peppers

Whereas peanut butter calms down heat, chili peppers just ratchet it up higher. I usually like to get Fresno chili peppers (often referred to as ‘red jalapenos). They have a decent heat and the flesh is reminiscent of red bell pepper. Other pepper are great too of course – jalapenos either fresh or canned are good, Thai Sun peppers, etc. I usually will get a few of them and slice thin and toss in the freezer.

#6: Hot Sauces

I started doing The Ramen Rater thing in 2002, but quit after 60 reviews. I embarked on a journey into the world of hot sauces which was quite enjoyable and started The Sauce Rater website, which alas is now no longer. I turned back to instant noodles in 2010 after over 250 sauce reviews and finding that most hot sauces were just vinegar, peppers and salt (basically it got boring). I decided to try making my own varieties and had some good luck. Some I found that were quite good you can find at the store or online would be Melinda’s Garlic Habanero Hot Sauce – has a heat from the two main ingredients that constantly goes back and forth between the two which is nice. One I use regularly is called Dua Belibis, a variety from Indonesia. It’s very hot but sweet as well. The one I use every day is called Ashanti Louisiana Hot Sauce – cheap and does the trick.

#5: Fish

Shrimp and crab are great to use, but I want to focus on fish cake. Fish cake is fish that’s been ground up, some things added and then cooked, so all you need to do is heat it up. In the above picture, you can see narutomaki on the left. Used primarily in Japanese cuisine, it has a nice look, sweetness and slightly rubbery texture which is vaguely like calamari. In the center is kamaboko. Kamaboko is used in Japanese and South Korean dishes a lot and has the same kind of chewiness, but less of the sweetness. Finally, I would recommend seeking out Busan fish cake. It comes in many different shapes and is a great compliment to South Korean jjampong. As a side note, I tried Bai Top Shell (sea snails) earlier this year in a cold noodle recipe that was really quite good.

#4: Vegetables

Vegetables are easy to source and easy to prep and toss in the freezer. Of all the veggies out there, I’m definitely partial to onions. Sweet onions can be prepped and frozen, then added to a bowl of noodles to add a little extra flavor. Green onions are a traditional addition to ramen and pair nicely. Herbs go well too – cilantro (coriander) and sweet basil can be a nice addition and provide authenticity.  You really can’t go wrong with vegetables, although potatoes rarely fit in.

#3: Meat

One thing almost all instant varieties are lacking is meat. It gives a boost of protein and other nutrients. I have a really great piece of advice I recommend to anyone who is going to be enjoying a nightly bowl of instant noodles. I go to a supermarket that specializes in South Korean foods. You can buy meats that have been prepped for Korean BBQ; they’re generally sliced thin as bacon. What’s great about this is that it’s cheap and easy to bag up and freeze – a $10 package of beef or pork makes 12-17 bags of meat. All you do it take it out to thaw and saute it up with some veggies and put with your noodles. By the way bacon goes well also.

#2: Cheese

Cheese is commonly used in South Korean ramyun, but it works extremely well melted into many other varieties. A creamy chicken broth can be achieved with a simple slice of processed cheese. Not only is cheddar good – Swiss actually works well too as does mozzarella – they get stringy and chewy and taste great.

#1: Eggs

I’ve been putting eggs with instant noodles as far back as I can remember. It turns out that the original instant noodle invented in 1958 has a dimple in the middle of it. What for? So you can crack and egg on top as it cooks! There’s nothing like egg at add some heartiness and warmth to a bowl of noodles. Fried noodles with runny yolks are excellent on Indonesian mi goreng for breakfast. Drop an egg in a simmering pot of South Korean ramyun in the last 30-45 seconds of cooking. Hard boiled goes well with Japanese ramen. Definitely my favorite.

That’s it! Got any you like to add that weren’t mentioned? I’ll give ’em a try and I’ll mention you if they make next year’s list!

Samples From Deshome – With Ramen Rater Top Ten Taiwan Labeling!

Shelley S. from Deshome told me a package was one the way a couple of days ago. Let’s look inside!

Wow – lots of stuff!

Here’s #2 on the Top Ten Taiwanese instant noodles 2013 list!

Here’s the sticker! Wow it looks really neat!

Here’s #5 from the top ten!

…and it’s sticker!

A new variety – curry!

Shelley always sends neat stuff along with the noodles in packages. This is a bar of aloe soap. Deshome makes not only aloe infused noodles, but a variety of aloe products as well.

Has a nice scent!

Shampoo!

Here’s something she kindly sent for my wife!

Hmm what’s this? I looked it up on Wikipedia and it sounds interesting – looking forward to trying it!

A little box!

Small dog figuringes!

A notebook for my wife.

A little frame with an interesting piece of art!

Finally, a poster! Thank you Shelley – very kind of you and I’m really looking forward to trying the new curry variety!

The Ramen Rater’s Bottom Ten Instant Noodles Of All Time

So after sampling so many varieties of instant noodles over the years, of course there have been some that I didn’t like. There also were some that are so memorable for how awful they were. After people asked what my least favorites were a few times, I thought I should just make a list of them. I should point out that these are on the list because I couldn’t stand them. I’m pretty sure they are all still in production, and the only reason they would be is that people somewhere find them enjoyable. So who knows – you might have a completely different opinion on these than me, but I found them to be absolutely the worst of the worst. With that, here’s The Bottom Ten Instant Noodles Of All Time, 2013 Edition.

#10: Wei Lih Instant Noodles With Artificial Beef Flavored Soup Stock – Taiwan

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I’ve had issues with broth being too salty before, but the lack of flavor in this one wasn’t tolerable. The flavor had a very ‘fake beef’ taste to it which was not at all enjoyable. Original post here

#9: GreeNoodle Miso Made With Moroheiya – Thailand

The noodles had a flavor I found to be akin to dirt – very strange. In the original review, I comment that the broth was ‘nightmarish.’ Original review here

#8: Fashion Food Oriental Flavor Instant Noodles – Thailand

These noodles came in a nice little plastic bowl with lid, As cool as that is, it didn’t make up for some seriously funky noodles and vile broth and veggies. Original review here

#7: Baijia Hot & Sour Flavor Instant Rice Noodle – China

The broth was of a deep crimson color. While interesting to look at, the slimy noodles and overly greasy broth with odd bits floating around were a turn-off trifecta. I couldn’t finish this bowl. Original review here

#6: Noodle Time Spicy Thai Instant Ramen Noodles With Real Vegetables – Canada

A prime example of noodle I dislike: watery broth, exceedingly mushy and spongy noodles and veggies that were lackluster and of the most minimal quantity and quality. Original review here

#5: Nan Hsing Vegetarian Rice Noodles – Taiwan

The noodles were akin to cobwebs – not the ones spiders make, but the fake ones you get for Halloween. The veggies didn’t hydrate well at all, and the broth wasn’t much. Couldn’t eat it. Original review here

#4: Paldo Green Tea Chlorella Noodles – South Korea

While this company makes some noodles I really enjoy, they also make this one which I deplore. It’s just got such a funky flavor to it and a smell I can’t take. Original review here

#3: Fu Chang Chinese Noodle Company Pork, Seafood & Noodles Combo – United States

The noodles in this one were really mushy, and while it had a retort pouch with meat and seafood, it was really nasty. Original review here

#2: Baijia Instant Sweet Potato Noodle Spicy Fei-Chang Flavor – China

A strong ‘dirt and urine’ scent accompanied by slimy sweet potato noodles. As it turns out, Fei Chang relates to fried pork intestines. Original review here

#1: Baijia Single Noble Black Bone Chicken Flavor Instant Sweet Potato Noodles – China

Here is my least favorite variety of all. Slimy sweet potato noodles, thick, greasy broth and horrid veggies that didn’t hydrate well. Original review here

The Ramen Rater Top Ten Noodle Bowls Of All Time 2013 Edition

After more than a year of pondering and reviewing since the last list, here’s the new top ten instant noodle bowls. This encompasses all instant noodle bowls reviewed up to today, June 15th, 2013. With no further adieu, the top ten instant noodle bowls of all time, 2013 edition.

10 – JFC Japanese Style Noodle Soup Curry Flavour – South Korea

Fresh udon noodles and a curry sauce that’s thick and luxuriant. If you’re in need of a curry fix, look no further! Every time I see it on a store shelf, I get this kind of warm, fuzzy feeling. Original review here

9 – Ottogi Spaghetti Ramen – South Korea

A fun bowl of noodles with thick South Korean ramyun noodles, a sweet powder and a sweet and slightly spicy spaghetti sauce. A nice twist on a classic. Original review here

8 – Little Cook Spicy Beef Flavor – Thailand

This one features firm noodles, a spicy broth with beef and curry notes and fake meat that’s surprisingly good. Myriad of different components collide together in an irresistible way. Original review here

7 – Nongshim Chapagetti Roasted Chajang Noodle – United States

Although originating in South Korea, Nongshim now makes these in Southern California. Chajang is a traditional Chinese black bean sauce that is wonderful with noodles and the nice part with this particular variety is that it’s the first I’ve seen in a bowl. What’s more, it’s easy to make and has excellent hearty flavor as well as great noodles. Original review here

6 – Paldo Kokomen Spicy Chicken Flavor King Cup – South Korea

Kokomen is a South Korean ramyun with a light or white broth. It’s got a chicken and jalapeno kind of flavor that’s really quite excellent. The translation from pack to bowl is exemplary, losing none of the quality. Original review here

5 – Little Cook Mushroom Vegetarian Premium Noodle – Thailand

A combination of a great quality noodle and nice broth is one thing, but they add a retort pouch with really nice vegetables that make this seem more gourmet. I’ve never been a big fan of mushrooms, but these are really quite good. Original review here

4 – Yamamoto Ponpoko Tempura Udon Fried Noodles Bowl – Japan

Thick, slightly chewy noodles and a broth with strong soy flavor. The tempura gives a satisfying crunch. Check out the original review as well to see why this one’s got a great name. Original review here

3 – Maruchan Midori No Tanuki Instant Soba Bowl – Japan

The only one from last year’s list to remain. Although it slipped out of first place, this is a seriously excellent bowl of noodles. The buckwheat noodles have a delicate crumble that works so well here and the broth is nice and rich. The disk of tempura is a real treat. Original review here

2 – FoodMon DJ-DOC Instant Ramen Rice Toppokki – South Korea

Topokki are like really thick chewy short noodles. They’re usually served with a spicy red sauce; here they join instant noodles along with the spicy sauce to make a succulent kind of Soiuth Korean lasagna-esque feast. Original review here

1 – Nissin Raoh Rich Soy Sauce Flavor – Japan

All I can say is that this stuff is epic. The noodles are extremely good and of very high quality. The broth is as rich as the name purports as well. What’s more, it comes with a slice of roast pork which hydrates well and has a very good texture and flavor. This is where it’s at! Original review here

So as you can see, a lot of new contenders this year! I hope you enjoyed the list and look forward to bringing you more as time goes by.

The Ramen Rater Top Ten Instant Noodles Of All Time 2013 Edition

It’s been over a year since the last Top Ten List came out and it’s time for a new one. You’ll see some from the old list and some new ones! With that, Welcome to the new Top Ten Instant Noodles Of All Time – 2013 Edition!

#10 MAMA Shrimp Creamy Tom Yum Flavour Oriental Style Instant Noodles – Thailand


I had tried this ages back and wasn’t very fond of it. At the request of readers, I gave it another try and found it to be the best Thai variety I’ve had thus far. The strong bite of the heat and the crisp citrus flavors are of authentic Tom Yum. The noodles are thin and almost crumble when chewed – the texture is different from any others on the list. The creaminess is not of dairy but a cream-like color from boiling shrimp. Full review

 #9: Paldo Kokomen Spicy Chicken Flavor – South Korea


It all started with a South Korean comedian in a TV show cooking contest – the resit is history. Kokomen Is a South Korean ‘white broth’ instant ramyun. It has a great jalapeno chicken kind of flavor which took South Korea by storm. Full review

#8: Nongshim Shin Ramyun Black Premium Noodle Soup – United States


Everyone’s had Nongshim’s Shin Ramyun once. It’s spicy and full of noodles. Shin Ramyun Black is Nongshim’s premium version of Shin Ramyun – containing nice big pieces of mushroom and freeze-dried beef that springs to life. Truly excellent ramyun. Made in the United States.  Full review

#7: Sapporo Ichiban Chow Mein – United States


This has always held a spot on my Top Ten Instant Noodles lists. Why? First off, it’s got some great noodles. They suck up all the water as they cook and once you open the seasoning packet and stir in the flavor, the smell is tantalizing. The best bonus here is the little packet of seaweed powder. It’s just right. Made in the United States.  Full review

#6: Myojo Ippei-chan Yakisoba Japanese Style Noodles – Japan


Yakisoba, delivered wonderfully. The tray is filled with boiling water and also acts as a strainer! Great noodles, top-notch veggies – and a bonus: mayonnaise! Makes for a meal of pure deliciousness. Full review

#5: Indomie Curly Noodle With Grilled Chicken Flavour Special Quality Instant Noodles – Indonesia


They got it right when they said these noodles are special. They’re broad and thin with such an enjoyable texture. The flavor is sweet, spicy and perfect. Full review

#4: Nongshim Jinjja Jinjja Flamin’ Hot & Nutty Noodle Soup – United States

I ate a lot of instant noodles in my time. Within the last year or so, I’ve enjoyed this one multiple times. Jinjja Jinjja’s quality noodles, strong heat and unique pork, peanut and black sesame notes make this a real stand-out in the South Korean ramyun market and now here in the United States. Full review

#3: Indomie Mi Instan Mi Goreng Rendang – Indonesia


A deep and rich curry flavor with just the right amount of spiciness. These noodles have a great texture and consistency and taste so good. This ‘stir noodle’ variety is superb. Full review

#2: Prima Taste Simgapore Curry La Mian – Singapore


Curry is one of my favorite all time flavors. Here you’ll find the same high quality lamian noodles and a pair of packets – one of coconut powder and one of curry paste. So simple and so perfect. Truly exceptional. Full review

#1: Prima Taste Singapore Laksa La Mian – Singapore


Pair steamed lamian noodles with a packet of coconut powder and a packet of paste and you’ve got a real game changer here. The noodles are high quality and the broth is luxuriant; light in color with beads of chili oil float in a ballet of splendor. Full review

NOTE: I add a lot of different things to instant noodles as you can see in the photos above. The ratings I give them however are given before any additions are introduced.