A couple of weeks ago I was looking for articles to add to The Ramen Rater Noodle News and found an article with a YouTube video attached. Apparently, a recent college graduate had made something that involves cooking instant noodles and it would start selling at Walmart. I thought I’d see if I could contact the guy and get a sample of the product to review. Well, he sent a couple and here we go! Chris Johnson is the inventor of the Rapid Ramen Cooker. It promises speedy delivery of your instant noodles via the microwave! Before the review, here’s an interview I did with him recently via email.
THE RAMEN RATER> Hi Chris – thank you very much for this opportunity to find out more about your great new invention! First, how did you get the idea to make it?
CHRIS JOHNSON> I have always loved ramen noodles as kid, survived on them while I was in college, and I still love ramen noodles to this very day. I grew tired of making it on the stove. It takes entirely too long. It takes over 5 minutes just to boil two cups of water, and it takes six more minutes to cook the noodles. Then you have to let them cool. That’s over 12 minutes to cook ramen noodles. That is about the same it takes to cook a full meal. To cook ramen in the microwave you have to crush the ramen noodles in the typically circular shaped bowl, add water, and place in the microwave. Retrieving the bowl out of the microwave is a difficult task as the bowl is blistering hot to the touch. Sometimes the noodles turn out ok, but most times the ramen noodles are unevenly cooked, pasty, unappealing, and do not taste very good. I had the epiphany, I would create a bowl that makes perfect ramen noodles in the microwave every time, and that’s what I did. Thus creating the Rapid Ramen Cooker.
TRR> How has the public responded to your invention?
CJ> It has been out of this world! Once people found out about the product, our online sales skyrocketed. We sold over 2,000 Rapid Ramen Cookers just in the last 3 days! People love them! We has received national and international attention from major retailers, and we have even received a call from one of the top ramen manufacturers. People love the product and we get tremendous feedback daily. It is truly humbling, to see people all across the country loving a product that you created.
TRR> Can you tell us a little about the development; how was the first version different from the final product?
CJ> There are many square bowls on the market. However none are specifically engineered to cook ramen perfectly in the microwave. Many bowls dimensions are too big and heat excess water leaving the ramen pasty and unevenly cooked. I had to go through countless tests to achieve the perfect measurements of the reservoir design. After hundreds of packs of ramen, I finally developed a bowl that cooks perfect ramen noodles every time.
TRR> There are lots of different types of instant noodles from all over the world – which brands and have you found to be compatible with your product?
CJ> Just about all of the dry block square type noodles are compatible with the Rapid Ramen Cooker; including Maruchan, Top Ramen, and Sapporo Ichiban to name a few.
TRR> How many packs of instant noodles do you think you cooked in the testing process?
CJ> Over 200 packs! I needed to simulate the heat distribution of the stove top. I wanted the noodles to be perfect! Therefore I continued to test until it worked indisputably. At the outset, I wanted to create the world’s fastest and easiest way to cook ramen noodles. I believe I have done that.
TRR> I read that your product is being sold at Walmart in California – can you tell us about that?
CJ> Yes, due to the recent national exposure and phenomenal sales volume online; I’m in talks with Walmart to go nationally in all of their US stores. It is quite exciting, however it is a process.
TRR> Where is the Rapid Ramen Cooker made?
CJ> Currently the Rapid Ramen Cookers are being made in Nanjing, China. I have teamed with a great manufacturer in China that produces products for GM and Ford. To ensure that we stay proactive with the demand of these national retailers, we are in the process of locating manufacturing in the US as well.
TRR> What is your opinion of the public’s view on instant ramen noodles and health concerns concerning them?
CJ> Some of the concerns are valid, especially when it relates to sodium. Most of these packs of ramen contains seasoning packets that are extremely high in sodium. The Rapid Ramen Cooker solves this problem. The Rapid Ramen Cooker only requires half the water, therefore you only need half the seasoning packet. Rapid Ramen reduces the sodium by half, and still provides the same great taste.
TRR> How does the Rapid Ramen Cooker do with non-domestic instant noodles – bean thread, rice noodes, udon? How about larger sized blocks as come in South Korean varieties?
CJ> You know, I haven’t tried these just yet.
TRR> What’s in the future of the Rapid Ramen Cooker – any more inventions on the horizon?
CJ> We are solely ferociously focused on our number one goal; that is to provide Rapid Ramen Cookers to every consumer of ramen noodles worldwide.
TRR> What’s your favorite variety of ramen?
CJ> I’m a pretty simple guy when it comes to my ramen. My favorite is a pack beef flavor Maruchan, Top Ramen, or Sapporo Ichiban with Ling Ling potstickers and sliced hot links! I cook them all at once in the Rapid Ramen Cooker in 4 minutes!! Delicious!
TRR> Thanks again for the opportunity to find out more about your great invention, the Rapid Ramen Cooker!
CJ> Thank you so much for your time Hans! Want to get one of your own? Check out www.rapidramen.com to find out how! (you can also find them on Amazon here)
Sounds like a great product – one worth checking out! I decided the only way to really find out if it works was to put it through its paces. I selected nine different instant noodles to trycooking with this thing. First, four pretty standard grocery store varieties: Maruchan Oriental Flavor Ramen Noodle Soup, Nissin Top Ramen Chicken (adding a little frozen kamaboko), Maruchan Shrimp Ramen Noodle Soup and Nissin Demae Ramen Prawn Flavor. Then I thought why not give this thing a bit of a challenge with some South Korean ramyun? I tried a round block in Nongshim’s new Jinjja Jinjja Flamin’ Hot & Nutty Noodle Soup and then a large square block in Paldo’s new Namja Ramen. Them a Doll Instant Noodles Artificial Chicken Flavour. Finally, I wrapped it up with two brothless varieties. First Sapporo Ichiban Japanese Style Noodles Chow Mein, then Indomie Mi Goreng Satay. This was a truly well-rounded set of noodles. Here is the video I made of all of these tests. Time is compressed. These were done over three days.
Here are the notes I took:
1. Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup Oriental Flavor – Came out perfect! A little spillage on the handles but nothing much. Noodles are great and half the seasoning packet is ample.
2. Nissin Top Ramen Chicken Flavor – Came out perfect! Added some kamaboko at 3 minutes and 30 seconds and let microwave for 30 more seconds. Noodles came out perfect, half pack seasoning was enough and kamaboko was decently cooked.
3. Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup Shrimp Flavor – Again, perfect output.
4. Nissin Demae Ramen Prawn Flavor – The noodle block is a little more dense than Top Ramen. Still, noodles come out perfectly. My son asked if we could use the cooker for his noodles this way often; he doesn’t like
broth all that much and the lack of such is agreeable with him.
5. Nongshim Jinjja Jinjja Flamin’ Hot & Nutty Noodles – This is a round noodle block. At the outset, it doesn’t fit and required breaking it up and fitting to the chamber. Noodles came out very nicely – one thing though was that they soaked up all of the water as well. Adding half the seasoning, all the vegetable packet and the ‘nutty’ packet went quite well although one third of the packet would have been ample here. Better than expected results!
6. Paldo Namja Ramen – This is another South Korean ramyun. However instead of the round block in test number five, this is a large square block. Again, the block doesn’t fit, but with a little force and modification,
the block’s content have a snug fit. The noodles come out quite nicely – again drinking up all of the liquid. As with number five, half a packet seems to be too much and a third would suffice.
7. Doll Chicken – Perfect noodles. Half of packet was fine and wasn’t too hard at all to disperse half of the oil packet.
8. Sapporo Ichiban Japanese Style Noodles Chow Mein – The noodles came out just right. The package says to let all of the water absorb into the noodles. There was a bit left, but I found just using a fork and tilting the bowl in the sink drained it off just fine. Also note that since this is a brothless variety, I used the whole packet. Excellent results.
9. Indomie Mi Goreng Satay – I added slightly less water to this one to see if it would soak up all the liquid. To my delight, it did just that. All the liquid was nestled into the noodles quite happily. This was really great – fastest Mi Goreng I’ve ever made – probably also the least messy!
Findings: Overall, every block of noodles with water to the fill line I put into the Rapid Ramen Cooker and ran for four minutes in our 1000 watt microwave came out perfect. The only problem any of them had was a
little spillage and that was minimal. With numbers one through four, the half packet method worked great. Five and six were a slightly different story. South Korean ramyun usually is strong and spicy. They both did quite nicely as far as noodles go, but I would think that even less powder would be required, say one third of a packet as these noodle soups usually have 500-600mL of water as opposed to just over 400mL from the first four.
The last two were brothless varieties. I drained the little water that was in the bottom of the Chow Mein. Using just a slight amount less water with the Mi Goreng resulted in the noodles soaking it up completely. All in all, this product works and works very well. It has proven its versatility and ease of use to me throughout these tests. I completely endorse this product – a great invention for the noodle fan!
So there you are: this thing is excellent – I happily endorse this product and with Mr. Johnson all the luck in the world with it! 5.0 out of 5.0 stars!!!