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The Ramen Rater’s Healthy Options 2020 Edition

The Ramen Rater's Healthy Options 2020 Edition

People have been asking me for a list of healthy varieties for a long time. I decided to give it a try, and had mixed results. I’ve found things ramen/instant noodles, and things that aren’t and listed them here. There aren’t ten things, but over the next year I’m guessing more will present themselves. It appears this is an ever-evolving market as a couple that were going to be included went off the market while I was editing this list! Not everything presented is for everyone, but I’m really hoping there’s something that will work and interest everyone. If you have any ideas for things that should be on next year’s list, please email me. With that, here (in no particular order)  is The Ramen Rater’s Healthy Options 2020 Edition.

The Ramen Rater’s Healthy Options 2020 Edition

Video Presentation

A special video presentation of The Ramen Rater’s Healthy Options 2020 Edition.

The Ramen Rater’s Healthy Options 2020 Edition

Yamachan Ramen Z

This year, it appears as soon as I created this list, it was obsolete! This product is no longer being produced, but I was told something similar with different preparation will replace it soon.  This one however contains konjac/konyaku – it’s an almost zero calorie noodle that when made with the right gauge is pretty decent. Paired with a miso broth, I was really impressed – and only 136 calories, guessing from the soup base sachet mostly. Original review

NuTek Salt For Life

The Ramen Rater's Healthy Options 2020 Edition

I first found out about NuTek a few years ago. They reached out to me and asked if I’d fly out and visit their operation in Omaha and try out their product first hand in a blind taste test (being partially sighted, every taste test I do is kind of blind har har). I was immediately sold on this stuff. I should mention I did some consulting with them for a little while but no longer do. I get a lot of people asking me about lower sodium noodles and this and their other products bring the promise of this without replacing saltiness with a funky taste. In fact, the way it works gives a slight delay in how the tongue senses saltiness – a fraction of a second – which makes the food itself more flavorful. Definitely a neat thing. Original review

Vite Ramen

The Ramen Rater's Healthy Options 2020 Edition

This one was a no-brainer for this list. Take one brother who loves instant noodles and one that follows the healthy life and get their heads together on combining the two and you’ve got Vite Ramen. Tim & Tom Zheng introduced their idea on Kickstarter and were greeted with a huge response to get their business off the ground. So, what is Vite Ramen? It’s low sodium, high protein, high fiber, and had more vitamins and minerals than you can shake a menagerie of sticks at. If you’re looking for an ultra healthy ramen, this is the best I’ve seen yet. Original review

Nissin Cup Noodle Light+ / Cup Noodle Nice

If you’re looking for a healthy Cup Noodle, Light+ and Cup Noodle Nice are the ticket. First off, they’re low cal and feature a different noodle style – one that’s really quite good. They’re from Japan so you’ll have to dig on eBay and eBay Canada most likely to track them down. But it’s worthwhile as they’re incredibly good. Original review

Fit Mee

The Ramen Rater's Healthy Options 2020 Edition

I was contacted by a distributor here in the United States about this one and got to give it a try. They’re got two varieties, one around 150 calories and the one above at around – get this – 50 calories. This is another variety made with konjac noodles – and it’s really good! one with a spicy Korean noodle flavor and the other flavor is Indonesian Soto – a kind of spicy and lime and coconut and chicken hit to it. I’ve seen these on Amazon at they’re rather pricey, but I’m guessing they’ll be more widespread and cheaper soon – they’re absolutely excellent and ultra tasty! Original review

Hakubaku Japanese Pearled Mochi Barley (Mochi Mugi)

The Ramen Rater's Healthy Options 2020 Edition

In the past year, I’ve gone on a diet and exercise tear and lost a lot of weight (I’ll be doing the second installment of my The Ramen Rater Diet series very soon). I knew I needed to do this for a long time, but my doctor talked to me about it the right way at the right time and off I went. He was concerned about my cholesterol levels and told me unless they went down I’d need to go on a statin drug. I don’t know anything about those really, but I’ve never heard anything about them that include hearts and smiley faces connected to them. During the last year, I started working with Hakubaku a little bit and trying their products. They make really great ramen varieties which I’ve reviewed. They also make barley tea – my first try at making sun tea went pretty well. But most notably for me was trying their mochi barley. It’s ultra high in soluble fiber, and I consider it to be a big part in my arriving after six months at a clean bill of health for cholesterol as a result of my diet and exercise regime. Original review

KOKA Delight

Looking for a noodle low in fat and not fried? KOKA makes Delight. It’s interesting – first off, this is the kind of noodle block that’s not hard as a rock like your standard non-fried noodle – you could take a bite out of the block if you wanted to. Not only that, these are really quite good – with flavors like tomato, curry, a spicy sesame and more. Original review

Taiwanese Dry Noodles

If you’re looking for a range of noodles with less ingredients and wonderful flavors, you should check out Taiwanese dry noodles. The noodles themselves are dried by the sun or with big industrial fans – not fried. Plus they’re made with very few ingredients in a way that’s been done for generations. The seasonings that come with them often are few ingredients as well. I’ve often referred to the Taiwanese instant noodle makers as ‘masters of simplicity’; they can produce such tasty varieties with few ingredients. Original review

Nongshim Soon and Kimchi Vegan Varieties

If you’re looking for Vegan varieties, I highly recommend these two. The Soon Veggie Noodles (kind of like a smoother version of Shin Ramen) and the Kimchi (tangy and tasty) are marked with a seal of approval from a Vegan foods authority. Really great flavor and quality that you can add more vegetables to and end up with a sumptuous feast. Original review

…a couple more that weren’t in the video

Prima Taste Wholegrain

If you’re looking for wholegrain varieties, this is the best out there in my opinion. It’s been holding the #1 spot on my top ten list for 4 years! That’s my favorite out of over 3,000 instant noodles I’ve reviewed. The noodles have this rustic and hearty chew and taste without being gritty or funky. It makes a lot of food in each pack and so share with a friend – or an enemy as if you make this, they won’t be your enemy for long. Original review

Sakurai Foods Vegan Approved Varieties

There are a few varieties in this range, but by far my favorite was this one, the spicy soy milk noodle. With a badge from a Vegan authority, you’re definitely going to enjoy these as part of your Vegan lifestyle. Original review

So there you are – the first healthy list. If you want to make some recommendations of things that aren’t on here or are a company who produces products you think should be here, drop me a line and we can talk. Thanks for check the list out!

#3197: Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Tonkotsu Noodle – Japan

#3197: Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Tonkotsu Noodle - Japan

Here’s the last of the Sakurai Foods varieties I was recently sent. The other two were really great – especially the spicy one! Let’s see how a Vegan friendly tonkotsu tastes!

Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Tonkotsu Noodle – Japan

#3197: Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Tonkotsu Noodle - Japan

Detail of the packaging (click to enlarge). Has a Vegan logo on the pack. To prepare, boil noodle block in 500ml water for 2~3 minutes. Add in sachet contents. Finally, stir and enjoy!

#3197: Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Tonkotsu Noodle - Japan

The noodle block.

#3197: Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Tonkotsu Noodle - Japan

A dry sachet.

#3197: Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Tonkotsu Noodle - Japan

Powder base.

Finished (click to enlarge). Added chashu, soft egg, Salad Cosmo mung bean sprouts, spring onion, habanero togarashi and black sesame seeds. Noodles came out nice – good softness and gauge. The broth was a buttery tonkotsu, almost like a cross between a tonkotsu and a shio and it was absolutely warm and comfort foody and tasty. 4.0 out of 5.0 stars.  JAN bar code 4960813312942.

#3197: Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Tonkotsu Noodle - Japan

Sakurai food Goma-ramen 100gX20 bags

Watch me cook on Instant Noodle Recipe Time!

#3185: Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Stir Fried Noodles (Worcestershire Sauce Flavor) – Japan

#3185: Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Stir Fried Noodles (Worcestershire Sauce Flavor) - Japan

I reviewed this one on February 10th, 2019. This has been a crazy week – we’ve got layers of snow here and haven’t been able to even move the car since Friday. It’s Tuesday and probably we won’t be going anywhere today, either.

The weather folks say this has been a storm series that I’ll be able to tell mygrandkids about. Yesterday was the best day of it – after days of not making it about freezing and waking up to take the dog out in 13 degrees (-10.5C) cold, it finally warmed up a bit. To the point that it started dumping snow yet again. Huge fluffy wet flakes.

#3185: Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Stir Fried Noodles (Worcestershire Sauce Flavor) - Japan

It was great – it had been so slick and icy everywhere and now you could run in the stuff. We threw snowballs at eachother, Kit built a snowman with Miri which on first attempt Miles ran over to and kicked over. I rolled a pretty big snowball. It was a lot of fun. In the sky we saw flashes from time to time – snow undoubtedly weighing down branches of big Douglas fir trees to the point of snapping and busting power lines which in turn cause transformers to explode.

It’s funny because I know this will end up published about 3 months from now as we’re knee-deep not in snow but in springtime. Let’s check it out!

Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Stir Fried Noodles (Worcestershire Sauce Flavor) – Japan

#3185: Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Stir Fried Noodles (Worcestershire Sauce Flavor) - Japan

Here’s the back of the package (click to enlarge). Mentions being vegetarian. To prepare, add to 200ml boiling water and cook until water is absorbed. Add in sachet contents. Finally, stir and enjoy!

#3185: Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Stir Fried Noodles (Worcestershire Sauce Flavor) - Japan

The noodle block.

#3185: Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Stir Fried Noodles (Worcestershire Sauce Flavor) - Japan

A wet sachet.

#3185: Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Stir Fried Noodles (Worcestershire Sauce Flavor) - Japan

A thick and dark liquid.

#3185: Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Stir Fried Noodles (Worcestershire Sauce Flavor) - Japan

A small dry sachet.

#3185: Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Stir Fried Noodles (Worcestershire Sauce Flavor) - Japan

Powdered seaweed.

#3185: Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Stir Fried Noodles (Worcestershire Sauce Flavor) - Japan

Finished (click to enlarge). Added spring onion and Salad Cosmo mung bean sprouts. The noodles come out very nice – I like them. The flavor did have a Worcestershire component, but there was a strong sweetness that just wasn’t my cup of tea. I like a bit more Worcestershire bite to yakisoba. 2.0 out of 5.0 stars. JAN bar code 4960813312775.

#3185: Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Stir Fried Noodles (Worcestershire Sauce Flavor) - Japan

Sakurai food Goma-ramen 100gX20 bags

Watch me cook on Instant Noodle Recipe Time!

#3161: Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Soymilk Spicy Noodle – Japan

#3161: Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Soymilk Spicy Noodle - Japan

I was contacted in January 2019 by the nice folks at Sakurai Foods in Japan. They’ve sent samples before and participated in Meet The Manufacturer as well. They’ve released a series of three varieties of Vegan friendly products – thought this sounded good and would make for a good mukbang as well! Let’s give it a try!

Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Soymilk Spicy Noodle – Japan

#3161: Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Soymilk Spicy Noodle - Japan

Here’s the back of the package (click to enlarge). Vegan friendly. To prepare, add noodles to 500ml boiling water and cook 2~3 minutes. Add in liquid sachet contents. Finally, stir and enjoy!

#3161: Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Soymilk Spicy Noodle - Japan

The noodle block.

#3161: Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Soymilk Spicy Noodle - Japan

A wet sachet.

#3161: Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Soymilk Spicy Noodle - Japan

A clousy, reddish concoction.

Finished (click to enlarge). Added Salad Cosmo mung bean sprouts, spring onion, soft egg, chashu pork, pepper powder and black sesame seeds. The noodle arrives soft and with a light bounce and soft chewiness. Very good. The broth is not only very tasty but also nice to look at from the soy milk influence. It’s spiciness is there but balanced very well. 5.0 out of 5.0 stars.  JAN bar code 4960813312973.

#3161: Sakurai Foods Vegetarian Soymilk Spicy Noodle - Japan

Sakurai food Goma-ramen 100gX20 bags

Watch me cook on Instant Noodle Recipe Time!

#1712: Sakurai Foods Organic Miso Ramen

Wow it’s Summer here today! Just hit 90 degrees and the clouds are rolling in – hoping for a nice lightning storm to watch tonight. I’m still reviewing instant noodles in this weather though – it’s 83 degrees in our apartment right now. Wish we had air conditioning! It rarely gets this warn in Western Washington though. Anyways, I thought some miso might be a good one to try today, and an organic one at that. The packaging has a Vegan logo on it, but I think I might add some meat in with it. Let’s have a look at this organic miso ramen!

Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge). Looks to be meat free but check for yourself. To prepare, add noodle block to 500ml boiling water and cook for 4 minutes. Add in liquid sachet contents and stir. Enjoy!

The noodle block.

A large sachet with liquid inside.

A good smelling miso concoction!

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added corn, green onion and chashu pork. The noodles are thick and have a satisfying chewiness to them. The broth has a very luxuriant miso flavor and a deep color. 4.5 out of 5.0 stars.  JAN bar code 4960813210415.

Sakurai food soy sauce ramen 99gX20 bags

A tourism video about Minokamo city and surrounding areas.

NCC #1701: Sakurai Foods Organic Shoyu Ramen

First off, you’re probably wondering why it says NCC before the post number. Well, I’m a Star Trek fan and NCC-1701 was the number on the starship Enterprise.

So this is a Japanese variety by Sakurai Foods – a new one. It’s made with all organic ingredients. Shoyu is also known as Soy Sauce flavor ramen. Here’s a little about Shoyu from Wikipedia:

Shōyu (“soy sauce”) ramen typically has a clear brown broth, based on a chicken and vegetable (or sometimes fish or beef) stock with plenty of soy sauce added resulting in a soup that is tangy, salty, and savory yet still fairly light on the palate. Shōyu ramen usually has curly noodles rather than straight ones, but this is not always the case. It is often adorned with marinated bamboo shoots or menma, green onions, kamaboko (fish cakes),nori (seaweed), boiled eggs, bean sprouts and/or black pepper; occasionally the soup will also contain chili oil or Chinese spices, and some shops serve sliced beef instead of the usual chāshū.

Sounds good – let’s have a look!

Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge). Looks to be meat free but check for yourself. To prepare, add noodle block to 500ml boiling water and cook for 4 minutes. Add in liquid sachet contents and stir. Enjoy!

The noodle block.

A liquid soup base sachet.

Has a nice soy sauce scent.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added green onion, hard boiled egg, chashu and kamaboko. The noodles are very full and very chewy. They have a very premium quality to them for an instant. The broth has a nice brewed soy sauce taste to it. It has a good amount of oiliness which I enjoyed and a taste that’s not too strong, not too light. 4.25 out of 5.0 stars. EAN bar code 4960813210453.

Sakurai food soy sauce ramen 99gX20 bags

I found this clip and kind of think Star Trek: The Next Generation seems a little better in Japanese!

The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Japanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2014 Edition

It’s only a few days until Momofuku Ando Day, and what better time to introduce the very first Japanese Top Ten Instant Noodles Of All Time list? In 1958, Momofuku Ando initially brought these convenient products to the world. At first seen as an overpriced novelty, they’ve grown in popularity; 100 billion instant noodle products were enjoyed in 2012! Here are my favorites, manufactured in the instant noodle’s birthplace of Japan.

#10 – Nissin Chikin Ramen

This is the original instant noodle. Nissin had introduced ‘Roasted Ramen’ in the United States in the 1980s and my mom would cook them al dente and then drain them and fry with scrabled egg. Wonderful stuff! Roasted Ramen was discontinued, but we found out that Chikin Ramen was identical. Thus began my love of the instant noodle. There is no seasoning sachet; all the flavoring is infused into the noodle. Simple and delicious. Original review here

#9 – Acecook Comet Mori Yukino Tan-tan Men

Broad flat premium noodles and a very rich pork flavor broth are the hallmarks of this variety. The striking color and quality ingredients definitely tickled my taste buds. Original review here

#8 – Myojo Ippei-chan Yomise no Yakisoba Teriyaki Mayo Flavor

The noodles are thin and light with a soft chew to them and slight crumble to the texture. The flavor is semi-light with a bit of a teriyaki flavor. The mayonnaise somehow mystically binds everything together and gives it that ‘greasy noodle’ niceness which I find delectable. Original review here

#7 – Nissin Yakisoba

Wowie zowie this is truly great stuff – a great combo of flavor and texture! The noodles have a good consistency – soft with a light chewiness. The flavor is out of this world – everything I would ask for from yakisoba. The seaweed gives it a nice finish. Original review here

#6 – Sakurai Foods Sesame Noodles

The noodles are absolutely perfect – nice chewiness and perfect gauge. The broth is amazing – deep and luxuriant sesame flavor. It isn’t overly sesame flavored; its just the right amount. This is really great stuff. Original review here

#5 – Nissin U.F.O. (Unidentified Flying Object) Yakisoba With Wasabi Mayonnaise

The noodles are plentiful and have a nice texture – they’re rounded and kind of fluffy. The flavor is very nice; you start with a standard Worcestershire yakisoba taste. The wasabi mayonnaise has a good ‘zing’ to it. Of course, this is a very greasy dish, but that’s the point. The little sprinkles added a very nice seaweed/saltiness. Original review here

#4 – Sapporo Ichiban Sesame Ramen

The noodles are very good – the gauge on these is just slightly bigger than your baseline standard instant. Very nice chew. The broth is excellent – has a great sesame taste and doesn’t seem like they went overboard on sesame oil; it’s just right. The sesame seeds are a nice finishing touch. Original review here

#3 – Peyang Yakisoba

The guy who sent me these said these were ‘the soul food of Japan.’ The noodles are very light and bouncy. The yakisoba flavor is excellent – not too oily or overbearing. The vegetables come out clean with a satisfying crunch. The seaweed and white pepper give a final bit of flavor – a great accompaniment. Original review here

#2 – Nissin Raoh Backfat Rich Soy Sauce Flavor

The noodles were very nice – perfect chewiness and consistency. Reminds me of fresh ramen noodle varieties. The broth is strong and has a nice thickness. The broth is definitely rich. Has a deep soy flavor and nicely thicker than normal instant noodle broths. What’s more, it comes with a nice piece of pork which hydrates nicely and tastes really food! Original review here

#1 – Myojo Ippei-chan Yakisoba Japanese Style Noodles

The noodles come out so nicely (and authentically). The flavoring is great. Tastes just like yakisoba sauce, which has a Worcestershire taste with other flavors mixed in like tuna. The veggies? Crunchy cabbage works very well. The finishing touch of the mayonnaise mustard sachet is epic – gives it a nice moistness that has a crisp spicy bite. This stuff is excellent – definitely something I would consider gourmet or premium. Original review here

#997: Sakurai Foods Miso Stew Instant Udon (Winter)

Here’s one that was kindly sent by Mika over at Sakurai Foods in Japan – thank you! In Japan where ramen is a way of life, there are varieties which are seasonal and this is one of them. This is a winter varietal miso stew. I imagine the winter versions are more ‘stick to your ribsy’ and the summer ones (like one I saw on the Sakurai Foods site) are cold noodles. Awesome! Well, let’s get started.

Here’s the back of the package (click image to enlarge). From what I see here, it looks like you boil 500cc water, add the seasoning, then add the noodles for a minute. That’s how I’ll be conducting these at least.

The noodle block.

The seasoning packet. A pretty large portion.

Seasoning powder. Has a strong miso flavor.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added thin sliced cooked ham, corn, Urashima Sesame & Salt furikake, sweet onion and Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt. The noodles are really great – very wide and flat with a nice consistency – not soggy but firm. The broth is a nice deep miso but not too strong. I like this a lot! 425 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 4960813028010.

A clip from ‘The President’s Analyst,’ one of my favorite movies

Re-Review: Meet The Manufacturer: Sakurai Foods 100% Vegetarian Miso Flavor

Today is the last of the Sakurai Foods Meet The Manufacturer. I have enjoyed trying such a great range of products from Japan! We finish with the one that made this Meet The Manufacturer happen. I email lots of instant noodle manufacturers, trying to get Meet The Manufacturer interviews to happen. I hadn’t contacted Sakurai Foods before and gave it a shot. Here’s my re-review of their miso vegetarian flavor.

Back of the packaging (click image to enlarge).

The noodle block.

Powder seasoning.

The powder has a nice taste – miso and an almost buttery component.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added onion, green onion, sweet corn, kizami shoga (pickled ginger and Urashima Sesame & Salt furikake. The noodles are good – soft and plentiful. The broth has a nice heartiness while light at the same time. Not an overwhelming flavor but delicate and balanced. Very good! 4.5 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 4960813312959.

#959: Meet The Manufacturer: Sakurai Foods – ARCHE Naturküche Ramen Mit Ingwer

Here’s the second of the two ARCHE versions that Sakurai sent samples of. Not sure if this is going to be a lot different, but we’ll check it out just the same.

The back of the package (click image to enlarge).

The noodle block. This and compact.

Only one packet – liquid base.

A dark colored liquid soup base.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added thin sliced beef, onion, green onion, hard boiled egg, Krazy Mixed Up Salt and Urashima Sesame & Salt furikake. The noodles cook for six minutes – and come out nicely. The broth has a strong, deep flavor. Exactly the same as #954. 3.25 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 4020943124300

#958: Meet The Manufacturer: Sakurai Foods Soy Sauce Ramen (Bowl)

Here’s the second of the two Bowls that Sakurai Foods sent. From what I gather from their website, these are their newest products. The bowls are recycles sugar came fibers! Has an interesting feel to it. Let’s check out this second bowl, this time, soy sauce flavor!

Here are the information panels from the sides of the bowl (click image to enlarge).

The noodle block. It has flour sourced from Hokkaido and potato starch.

The packet of powdered seasoning.

Tasty stuff – deep flavor as I’ve become used to with this brand.

The vegetable packet.

A very nice variety of vegetables.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added green onions. The noodles are nice – again, a good chew and consistency. The broth has a nice soy taste and delivers a nice warmth. The veggies and other bits are great – thew nori (seaweed) is especially good and gives a seafood taste that weaves throughout the meal. Excellent! 4.25 out of 5.0 stars.UPC bar code 4960813332612

A drive around Minokamo Gifu – looks like a really interesting place!

#957: Meet The Manufacturer: Sakurai Foods 100% Vegetarian Soy Sauce Flavor

Anotyher one from Sakurai Foods today. I had the regular Soy Sauce Flavor the other day and this one’s for the meat-conscious.

The back of the package (click image to enlarge).

The noodle block.

One seasoning packet.

Has a very nice flavor – I think this is gonna be great!

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added onions, stir-fry veggies, green onions and Urashima Sesame & Salt furikake. The noodles have a very nice consistency – good gauge, good chew. The broth has a nice soy and vegetable flavor I liked very much. Great stuff! 4.25 out of 5.0 stars! The best vegetarian instant I’ve ever tried. UPC bar code 4960813312911.

How to make a homemade vegetarian miso noodle soup.