Tag Archives: budae jjigae

The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten South Korean Instant Noodles Of All Time 2019 Edition

The Ramen Rater's Top Ten South Korean Instant Noodles Of All Time 2019 Edition

It’s January 2019, and so it is time for the first of many Top Ten Lists. I always start the year with the latest South Korean Top ten. This list was compiled as of posting 3,058 unique reviews of instant noodles, 349 of which are South Korean. All varieties are manufactured in South Korea. If you are a company interested in having your products showcased, please drop me a line. Let’s begin!

The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten South Korean Instant Noodles Of All Time 2019 Edition

Video Presentation

Watch the full video presentation of this year’s Top Ten South Korean Instant Noodles Of All Time! Don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube channel for daily videos!

The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten South Korean Instant Noodles Of All Time 2019 Edition

#10: Nongshim Shin Ramyun Black

Best South Korean Ramen - Nongshim Shin Ramyun Black

When Shin Ramyun Black came onto the scene a few years back it was a huge hit and still is. An upgraded version of their popular shin Ramyun, it includes a sachet of Sul-Long-Tang soup base which gives an extra heartiness to the broth. Thick ramyun noodles and a spicy bite round out the scene. It took me some time to get a pack made in South Korea, a requirement of this this. Original review Get it here

#9: Paldo Cheese Noodle

Best Korean Ramen - Paldo Cheese Noodle

Paldo’s Cheese Noodle has been on the list for awhile now and with good reason. The way the cheese intermingles with the red spicy broth is amazingly good. The noodles are nice and thick ramyun and there’s a large quantity of them. Definitely one that everyone should try – and now there’s a spicier version on the market. Original review Get it here

#8: Nongshim Champong Noodle Soup Spicy Seafood Flavor

Best Korean Ramen - Nongshim Champong Noodle Soup Spicy Seafood Flavor

Nongshim Champong is a spicy seafood noodle soup. It combines what you are used to with the beefiness of a standard Korean ramyun but replaces the beef with seafood flavor. This more ‘of the sea’ variety works very well with the chewy ramyun noodle. It’s kind of like a seafood stew to be honest.  Excellent when paired with seafood. Original review Get it here

#7: Nongshim Neoguri Stir-fry Noodles Spicy Seafood

Best Korean Ramen - Nongshim Neoguri Stir-fry Noodles Spicy Seafood

Neoguri Spicy Seafood Soup is a long time favorite of many and now it’s been converted in this new version as a dry noodle, sans broth. To be honest, I like this much better – not only does it have the great flavor of Neoguri, it’s got a plethora of garnish included – featuring little pieces of fishcake with the raccoon mascot on them. Original review Get it here

#6: Paldo Rabokki Noodle

Best Korean Ramen - Paldo Rabokki Noodle

To understand Paldo’s Rabokki Noodle, you have to understand tteokbokki. It’s also spelled topokki – but however you spell it, tteokbokki are thick cylindrical rice tubes that have a nice chewiness to them. They’re often paired with a thick red sauce which is spicy as well as sweet and served with fishcake, egg and other garnish. These noodles are paired with the sauce in a very tasty representation and crossover of the dish. Original review Get it here

#5: Ottogi Jin Jjambbong Spicy Seafood Ramyun

Best Korean Ramen - Ottogi Jin Jjambbong Spicy Seafood Ramyun

Ottogi’s Jin series added a couple of new varieties recently, and this is my favorite of the two. During a recent trip to Taipei, I went to a restaurant called Love Instant Noodleswhere they doll up packs of instant noodles and serve them piping hot. This is the one I chose from their selection. Jjambbong is a kind of spicy stew and this one has a nice kind of grilled flavor to it, alongside the popular broader ramyun currently spreading around  – great stuff! Original review Get it here

#4: Paldo Budae Jjigae

Best Korean Ramen - Paldo Budae Jjigae

Here we have 2017’s #1 from this list and it was also on the annual The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Instant Noodles Of All Time 2017 list. So, what’s Budae Jjigae? Well, take donated rations from US soldiers from the Korean War and mix them with the local South Korean cuisine. This interesting fusion works so well including tastes from both cultures. Original review Get it here

#3: Ottogi Budae Jjigae Ramen

Best Korean Ramen - Ottogi Budae Jjigae Ramen

Ottogi also has a Budae Jjigae – and it’s my favorite of the varieties to spring onto the market in the last couple years. With bits of processed meats and other niceties, it combines with South Korean flavors into a crescendo of tasty goodness. Budae Jjigae translates to ‘troop stew’ or army stew’ as it originated from donated rations from US forces during the Korean War. Original review Get it here

#2: Samyang Foods Samyang Ramen Spicy Flavor

Best Korean Ramen - Samyang Foods Samyang Ramen Spicy Flavor

This last year I’ve really fallen for Samyang Ramen – both the regular and spicy version. It’s a bit different from most South Korean varieties as they usually lean towards beef, these have a ham flavor. The thick, chewy noodles and the rich and very tasty broth bring these to this list this year, and while I type this, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Original review Get it here

#1: Gookmul Knight Of Ribs

Best Korean Ramen - Gookmul Knight Of Ribs

With imagery heralding to days of yore, a very unique and tasty one from South Korea tops this year’s list. A thick noodle is complimented with a retort pouch (a metallic sachet) which brings a sweet and savory sauce full of real pork – really like a pulled-pork noodle. What’s surprising is that this was the first variety I’ve found with one of these from South Korea – and it was excellent. Original review Get it here

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 – Budae Jjigae – United States

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

Amazingly, we were able to get two weekends in a row with some time for us to go out together without the kiddos (thanks, Aunt Cindy!). I said ‘hey you wanna try some more ramen?’ Kit was up for it and so we checked this place out. But it turned out that although they did have ramen, this was clearly a Korean restaurant in the middle of Bellevue. I thought ordering a Japanese dish at a Korean restaurant just seemed a little off, so I went in for something I’ve been wanting to try for a long time – only had it in instant varieties thus far, so time to try the real thing. Let’s go!

COCO 2.0 – Budae Jjigae – United States

550 106th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98004 * Website

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

The menu.

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

My awesome wife Kit. Before we went here, we went to a car wash and vacuumed out the minivan. Yes, we roll in a minivan – we have two kids. We actually really like it a lot. But after many trips to Canada with the kids and passing back snacks to toddlers in the back seat, something had to be done about the sea of crumbs on the floor. An odd way to start our little romantic outing I’ll admit, but definitely nice to have a clean ride again!

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

I saw this one their online menu and thought to myself ‘finally.’ We’ve been out for Korean food many times, but never seen Budae Jjigae on the menu.

So as far as the ambiance of the place. It was pretty loud, despite not many being there. Blasting some rap (explicit versions) kind of made it a definite no-go for the label ‘family restaurant,’ and I think this place is probably pretty insane on a Friday night.

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

Kit ordered some beef and chicken teriyaki, which was the first to arrive at the table. Really good!

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

We were both elated to see the inclusion of cream cheese tteokbokki on the menu. We used to frequent a little restaurant in Lynnwood called Chi Mc ‘n Hot Pot which had Korean bar food – and they had this dish. This one was more of a carbonara styled version whereas the original was with crabmeat.

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

Another favorite of our was the seafood pancake – always something worth getting. At this point I noticed something. No banchan. Where’s the banchan?! What’s banchan? Well, when you go out for Korean food usually you are presented with an array of little dishes with little things little kimchi, pickled radish, marinated vegetables, etc. Usually about eight or so of them. Not here.

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

Holy moly (click to enlarge). Wow – this looks fascinating. The ramyun noodle was just right – thick and chewy. Broth was strong but had that smack of bitter aftertaste I generally am not a big fan of. Heat level was on point – very strong and spicy. While the menu mentioned cheese, I really didn’t detect any, which was a little disappointing. But the sheer amount of different inclusions in here was just amazing and wonderful. Kimchi was great, soft tofu, salami, SPAM, – it goes on and on. No macaroni or beans however, which I has expected from the instants I’ve had. Long story short, this was quite good and definitely recommended. 3.75 out of 5.0 stars.

Let’s delve into what budae jjigae is.

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

Okay (click to enlarge) so budae jjigae translates to ‘troop stew.’ After the Korean War, US Troops left behind lots of the foods that they had brought. Some including pork and beans, SPAM, sausage – basically things that would last a long time. Well, the Koreans incorporated them into this dish.

Restaurant: #3061: COCO 2.0 - Budae Jjigae - United States

A side shot of the bowl (click to enlarge). Did I eat it all? Oh God no – this was a lot of food!

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

UPDATE: Here’s the new 2019 List!

Top Ten South Korean Instant Noodles

Kicking off Top Ten List season, I bring you the South Korean Top Ten Instant Noodles Of All Time for 2018. I looked at how many varieties from South Korea I’ve reviewed to date and got 326 so far. South Korean varieties continue to evolve and innovate in different ways in order to satisfy the changing needs and tastes of the consumer – definitely keeps things interesting. As always, I ask any companies, whether in South Korea or elsewhere – that would like me to review their products to send me an email! I am happy to talk to you!  Without further delay, let’s have a look at the Top Ten South Korean Instant Noodles list for 2018 – the best South Korean varieties available out of the over 360 South Korean varieties from the over 2,500 varieties of instant noodles I’ve reviewed thus far.

The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten South Korean Instant Noodle Of All Time 2018 Edition

Video Presentation

A video presentation of the Top Ten South Korean Instant Noodles Of All Time 2018 Edition.

The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten South Korean Instant Noodle Of All Time 2018 Edition

#10: Nongshim Shin Ramyun Black

#10: Nongshim Shin Ramyun Black

When Shin Ramyun Black came onto the scene a few years back it was a huge hit and still is. An upgraded version of their popular shin Ramyun, it includes a sachet of Sul-Long-Tang soup base which gives an extra heartiness to the broth. Thick ramyun noodles and a spicy bite round out the scene. It took me some time to get a pack made in South Korea, a requirement of this this. Original review

#9: Paldo Cheese Noodle

#9: Paldo Cheese Noodle

Paldo’s Cheese Noodle has been on the list for awhile now and with good reason. The way the cheese intermingles with the red spicy broth is amazingly good. The noodles are nice and thick ramyun and there’s a large quantity of them. Definitely one that everyone should try – and now there’s a spicier version on the market. Original review

#8: Nongshim Champong Noodle Soup Spicy Seafood Flavor

#8: Nongshim Champong Noodle Soup Spicy Seafood Flavor

Nongshim Champong is a spicy seafood noodle soup. It combines what you are used to with the beefiness of a standard Korean ramyun but replaces the beef with seafood flavor. This more ‘of the sea’ variety works very well with the chewy ramyun noodle. It’s kind of like a seafood stew to be honest.  Excellent when paired with seafood. Original review

#7: Nongshim Neoguri Stir-fry Noodles Spicy Seafood

#7: Nongshim Neoguri Stir-fry Noodles Spicy Seafood

New to the market is Nongshim’s Neoguri Stir-Fry Noodles. Neoguri Spicy Seafood Soup is a long time favorite of many and now it’s been converted in this new version as a dry noodle, sans broth. To be honest, I like this much better – not only does it have the great flavor of Neoguri, it’s got a plethora of garnish included – featuring little pieces of fishcake with the raccoon mascot on them. Original review

#6: Paldo Rabokki Noodle

#6: Paldo Rabokki Noodle

To understand Paldo’s Rabokki Noodle, you have to understand tteokbokki. It’s also spelled topokki – but however you spell it, tteokbokki are thick cylindrical rice tubes that have a nice chewiness to them. They’re often paired with a thick red sauce which is spicy as well as sweet and served with fishcake, egg and other garnish. These noodles are paired with the sauce in a very tasty representation and crossover of the dish. Original review

#5: Nongshin Chal Bibim Myun

#5: Nongshin Chal Bibim Myun

Nongshim’s Chal Bibim Myun is a cold noodle which is great anytime, but especially during the summer months. A kind of sweet and spicy sauce coats the noodles and is also refreshing at the same time. Pairs very well with fresh cucumber and hard boiled egg. Original review

#4: Ottogi Jin Jjambbong Spicy Seafood Ramyun

#4: Ottogi Jin Jjambbong Spicy Seafood Ramyun

Ottogi’s Jin series added a couple of new varieties recently, and this is my favorite of the two. During a recent trip to Taipei, I went to a restaurant called Love Instant Noodles where they doll up packs of instant noodles and serve them piping hot. This is the one I chose from their selection. Jjambbong is a kind of spicy stew and this one has a nice kind of grilled flavor to it, alongside the popular broader ramyun currently spreading around  – great stuff! Original review

#3: Paldo Budae Jjigae

#3: Paldo Budae Jjigae

Here we have last year’s #1 on this list and it is also on the annual The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Instant Noodles Of All Time 2017 annual list. So, what’s Budae Jjigae? Well, take donated rations from US soldiers from the Korean War and mix them with the local South Korean cuisine. This interesting fusion works so well including tastes from both cultures. Original review

#2: Ottogi Budae Jjigae Ramen

#2: Ottogi Budae Jjigae Ramen

Ottogi also has a Budae Jjigae – and it’s my favorite of the varieties to spring onto the market in the last couple years. With bits of processed meats and other niceties, it combines with South Korean flavors into a crescendo of tasty goodness. Budae Jjigae translates to ‘troop stew’ or army stew’ as it originated from donated rations from US forces during the Korean War. Original review

#1: Samyang Foods Paegaejang Ramen

#1: Samyang Foods Paegaejang Ramen

The number one this is year is Samyang Foods Pagaejang. This is a very tasty beef noodle with strong flavor – a hearty broth and rich taste. The noodles are just perfect for me – a nice light outer edge and chewier insides. Definitely one to try and I hope it comes to the United States for all here to sample. Original review

#2644: Ottogi Budae Jjigae Ramen

#2644: Ottogi Budae Jjigae Ramen - South Korea - The Ramen Rater

The first time I’d heard about Budae Jigae instant noodles was when I read an article in my nes feed about this brand making one. So what is budae jjigae? Let’s have a look at this from Wikipedia –

Budae-jjigae (부대찌개; literally “army base stew”) or sausage stew is a type of jjigae (stew), made with hamsausagebaked beans, and kimchi.[1] The dish was created shortly after the armistice that ended the Korean War, using the scrounged or smuggled surplus foods from the U. S. army bases.[2] Although the dish was born in the period of post-war impoverishment, it continued to be popular during the period of rapid growth, and is still popular today. There are many restaurants specializing in budae-jjigae; the most famous ones on the budae-jjigae street in Uijeongbu, where the dish was first made. The dish is now a popular anju (accompaniment to alcoholic drinks) and a lunch item in college neighborhoods.[3][2]

Budae (부대) is a military unit, often a “troop”. As a troop’s camp is also called budae, the word gun budae (군부대; “military camp”) is often used to refer to military camps in general, and migun budae (미군부대; “U. S. military camp”) to the U.S. military bases. Jjigae (찌개), often translated into “stew”, means a soup thicker than guk (soup).

After the Korean War, food was scarce in South Korea. People dwelling around U. S. army bases, in the UijeongbuPyeongtaek, and Munsan areas made use of surplus foods from army bases, commonly processed meat products, collectively known as budaegogi (부대고기; “army base meat”), such as hamhot dogs, and Spam, along with canned baked beans.[4][5] It is said that budae-jjigae begun as a buttery stir-fried snack made of sausages, ham, cabbages and onions to accompany makgeolli (rice wine), but later on, anchovy broth flavored with gochujang and kimchi was added to create the stew that is enjoyed today.[4] The stew was also referred to as Jonseun-tang (존슨탕; “Johnson soup”), Johnson being the U. S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, who is said to have raved about the taste of the dish amid his visit to Korea.[6] The ingredients were often scrounged or smuggled through a black market, as American products were not legally accessible to Koreans.[2] During the military dictatorship of Park Chung-hee, the fact that Spam smuggling was an offense punishable by death made budae-jjigae even popular as an “intriguing” dish with illegal ingredients.

Budae-jjigae is still popular in South Korea. Common ingredients now include: Vienna sausagebacontofuporkground beefinstant noodlesmacaronitteok (rice cake), American cheesemozzarellawater-dropwortsscallionschili peppersgarlicmushrooms, and other vegetables in season.[7] The city of Uijeongbu, which is bordered by Seoul to the south and has many army bases, is famous for its budae-jjigae. In the late 20th century, the city of Uijeongbu stipulated that the dish be referred to as Uijeongbu-jjigae to remove the military or war-time connotation in the name, though not many restaurants follow this guideline. Some restaurants have begun calling their product Uijeongbu-budae-jjigae. There is also what locals refer to as “Uijeongbu Budae-jjigae Street” where there is a high concentration of buddae-jjigae restaurants.[8][9]

Just fascinating stuff! I really like when I find the history of a dish when it has really interesting origins. Let’s check out this budae jjigae from Ottogi.

Ottogi Budae Jjigae Ramen – South Korea

#2644: Ottogi Budae Jjigae Ramen - South Korea - The Ramen Rater

Here’s the back of the package (click to enlarge). Unsure whether it contains meat but it looks like it does. To prepare, add noodle block and garnish sachet to 500ml boiling water and cook for 4 minutes. Add in liquid base sachet. Finally, stir and enjoy!

#2644: Ottogi Budae Jjigae Ramen - South Korea - The Ramen Rater

The noodle block.

#2644: Ottogi Budae Jjigae Ramen - South Korea - The Ramen Rater

A drty base sachet.

#2644: Ottogi Budae Jjigae Ramen - South Korea - The Ramen Rater

A slightly fluffy powder base.

#2644: Ottogi Budae Jjigae Ramen - South Korea - The Ramen Rater

A liquid base sachet.

#2644: Ottogi Budae Jjigae Ramen - South Korea - The Ramen Rater

Thick stuff.

#2644: Ottogi Budae Jjigae Ramen - South Korea - The Ramen Rater

A large garnish sachet.

#2644: Ottogi Budae Jjigae Ramen - South Korea - The Ramen Rater

Slices of hot dog among other things.

Finished (click to enlarge). Added Salad Cosmo mung bean sprouts, spring onion, SPAM, Oscar Meyer Angus Beef hot dog, and colby-jack cheese. Very good ramyun here – thick and chewier than many with a nice quantity. The broth is definitely multi-faceted. There’s a spicy component, a sweet component, a kind of smoky grill component and a kind of sausage linger component. The included garnish was very good – bits of hot dog, ham and other things all went together nicely. 5.0 out of 5.0 stars. EAN bar code 8801045523729.

#2644: Ottogi Budae Jjigae Ramen - South Korea - The Ramen Rater

Aroma Stainless Steel Hot Pot, Silver (ASP-600)

A great recipe for a homemade version

#2523: Nongshim Budae Jjigae Noodle Soup

#2523: Nongshim Budae Jjigae Noodle Soup - South Korea - The Ramen Rater - 농심 보글보글 부대찌개 라면을 먹어봤습니다

Here’s one I found at the local HMart a couple months ago. I’ve had a budae jjigae instant once before – I know there’s at least one more variety out there… Very curious how this one is. Let’s see what Wikipedia has to say about budae jjigae –

Budae-jjigae[1] (부대찌개; literally “troop stew”) or sausage stew[1] is a type of jjigae (a thick Korean soup similar to a Western stew). Soon after the Korean War, food was scarce in Seoul, South Korea. Some people made use of surplus foods from U.S. military bases around the Uijeongbu area, Pyeongtaek area (also called Songtan)[2] or Munsan area, such as hot dogs, Spam, or ham, and incorporated them into a traditional spicy soup flavored with gochujang (red chili paste) and kimchi.

Uijeongbu Budaejjigae-Street
Budae jjigae is still popular in South Korea. The dish often incorporates such modern ingredients as instant noodles and sliced American cheese. Other ingredients may include ground beef, sliced sausages, baked beans, minari, onions, green onions, tteok, tofu, chili peppers, macaroni, garlic, mushrooms, and other vegetables in season.[3]

Alright – let’s get started.

Nongshim Budae Jjigae Noodle Soup – South Korea

#2523: Nongshim Budae Jjigae Noodle Soup - South Korea - The Ramen Rater - 농심 보글보글 부대찌개 라면을 먹어봤습니다

Here’s the back of the package (click to enlarge). Contains fish. To prepare, add noodle block and sachets to 500ml boiling water. Cook for 4 1/2 minutes. Finally, stir and enjoy!

#2523: Nongshim Budae Jjigae Noodle Soup - South Korea - The Ramen Rater - 농심 보글보글 부대찌개 라면을 먹어봤습니다

The noodle block.

#2523: Nongshim Budae Jjigae Noodle Soup - South Korea - The Ramen Rater - 농심 보글보글 부대찌개 라면을 먹어봤습니다

The soup base sachet.

#2523: Nongshim Budae Jjigae Noodle Soup - South Korea - The Ramen Rater - 농심 보글보글 부대찌개 라면을 먹어봤습니다

A tan colored mixture.

#2523: Nongshim Budae Jjigae Noodle Soup - South Korea - The Ramen Rater - 농심 보글보글 부대찌개 라면을 먹어봤습니다

The vegetables sachet.

#2523: Nongshim Budae Jjigae Noodle Soup - South Korea - The Ramen Rater - 농심 보글보글 부대찌개 라면을 먹어봤습니다

Quite the mix here.

Finished (click to enlarge). Added Salad Cosmo mung bean sprouts, yaki kamaboko, and salami. These noodles were excellent – nice and chewy with a pleasant gumminess and gauge. This is the kind of ramyun I adore! The bro has a lightly spicy hit and has a really rounded flavor; reminds me of pork and beans and hot dogs – with a nice dose of kimchi taste. The garnish includes decent pieces of kimchi as well and these pieces that are very much like slices of hot dog, however, remind me of fish cake too. 4.5 out of 5.0 stars.  UPC bar code 031146037780.

#2523: Nongshim Budae Jjigae Noodle Soup - South Korea - The Ramen Rater - 농심 보글보글 부대찌개 라면을 먹어봤습니다

Nongshim Budae Jigae Noodle Soup, 4.48 Ounce Unit (Pack of 4)

A TV advert for this one