Tag Archives: sodium

Negative Comments About My Weight, My Politics, And Reviewing Instant Noodles

So there’s a misconception (and assumption) that some people have made about me and what I do that’s kind of annoying and honestly rather infuriating. Some people seem to have the need to lecture me about what I eat and my weight.

First off, it’s not appreciated. Comments like ‘you’re going to die,’ ‘this bad thing is going to happen to you’ and the most recent (and rather inane) ‘I don’t like your shirt.’

First, I don’t eat every single bowl of noodles you see in it’s entirety. In the last couple of months, I’ve gone down to eating about one instant noodle every two weeks and sometimes not even that. Moreover, I get exercise and am on a healthy diet. I’m losing weight and feeling healthier by the day.

It’s tough changing everything you do as far as eating when you’re overweight (or underweight I’m sure). I’ve worked on it for years with little success, and generally instant noodles haven’t been at the center of it. I ate a lot of pizza, ice cream, pasta and white sauce – you know, the easily accessed American super-sized things that are almost inescapable here in the states. When my doctor said I had high cholesterol on top of my weight, I decided to listen to him and do something about it. I take vitamins, track literally everything I eat, and most recently am able to get good regular exercise (being a stay at home dad with two small children and being legally blind makes that very hard). At the end of this post I’ll let you know exactly what I do.

Granted, the folks who comment in a negative manner are far and few between; I’ve gotten some of the nicest, most uplifting comments from people over the past few years – and really appreciate them. I didn’t expect the whole ‘I’m going to try some instant noodles and give my opinion on how they taste’ thing to take off the way it has, but it’s been a lot of fun and the community surrounding it has been a major part of why I do what I do and frankly, how I do it, so thank you.

Unfortunately, some comments aren’t as nice. At the beginning, they did hurt a lot. I would read them and doubt what I did, feel poorly about myself and get depressed. But I learned rather quickly how to take them in, laugh about them and chuck them in the mental trash can. Garbage in, garbage out as they say.

I also get comments about shirts I wear on Instant Noodle Recipe Time or other videos here and there. I’m not a fan of the current administration and you’ll see me wearing an impeach shirt here and there. If you don’t like it, that’s totally fine. But telling me not to talk about politics or wear a different shirt – it’s NOT going to happen. I can talk about whatever I like! So can you! But I’m just going to delete your comments from here on out – they’re not necessary. I should note I love talking politics – especially with people with different viewpoints than mine. I don’t know when it became a ‘don’t talk about things others don’t agree with’ kind of world, but if you disagree with me, I don’t hate you; and I’m not going to try to change your mind. I’m not an angry or hateful person. However, I’m not a big fan of those who try to assert their insecurity about what they believe in upon me and demand I change who I am for them. Not going to happen.

I guess what I’m saying is don’t try to give me negative or lecture-style comment about my weight; it just make me look at you as an insecure individual who doesn’t have the wherewithal to deal with the world without having to step on others dreams as some kind of perverse self-therapy.

Anyways, so what am I doing to lose weight you might be wondering. Well, first I have an app on my phone called myfitnesspal. You can track everything you take in for the day and that’s what I do. it has goals and limits and it just makes you accountable for what you take in. It’s kind of fun actually; like a video game or a bank account where you have so much money (calories) every day, and you want to have some leftover every day.

While my son is at preschool, I take my daughter out for a walk every morning – about a mile and a half to two miles of walking. It’s nice.

I take vitamins – a regular vitamin with extra folic acid, fish oil with omega-3, and fiber capsules.

So yeah – I’m making progress and happy about it. I feel good about myself. I really love reviewing instant noodles too and still can, just making a few adjustments outside of this. I was enjoying the toppings and a bite of noodle and a slurp of broth. Now I’m down to the slurp and a bite. Some may ask ‘how can you rate something without eating it all?’ I don’t think those who rate fine wines guzzle down a full bottle every review they push out. I mean, after a couple of glasses, they’d probably absolutely love everything since they’d be nice and buzzed! Same goes with instant noodles.

You won’t see any changes to my reviews at all – in fact, I’ve been making adjustments all along actually. Aside from the spicy noodle videos I do, those are about the only instant noodles I take in their entirety. When I do, I adjust what I have the rest of the day and before I have them as well.

Anyways, I had to write this because it’s finally just gotten so irritating reading these silly comments people put out. They’re really unwarranted and pointless. While I’ve tried over 3,000 varieties, no – I haven’t eaten everything you’ve seen me make in a long time. Again, I’d like to thank the majority of commenters who have nothing but the nicest things to say. I really appreciate you and love to answer your questions and talk about noodles. Keep asking and I’ll keep answering. Those with negative comments will just get blocked and deleted from here on out. I don’t have time for it and you can’t bring me down.

Hans Lienesch
The Ramen Rater
November 2018

Unboxing Time: Lowering Your Sodium Intake With Nutek Food Science Salt For Life

Unboxing Time: Lowering Your Sodium Intake With Nutek Food Science Salt For Life

A couple years ago, I was contacted by a company in the Midwest called NuTek Food Science. They noticed I reviewed a lot of instant noodles and thought I might be interested in learning about what they do. They flew me to Omaha, Nebraska to their HQ and I did a blind taste test between foods containing their sodium lowering product and ones with regular salt. I was immediately impressed. This is an unboxing of their consumer product – let’s check it out!

Nutek Food Science Salt For Life – United States

I should mention there’s a video and post I did about the visit to their HQ here. Thanks to everyone at NuTek Food Science for making this and sending me some more!

Unboxing Time: Lowering Your Sodium Intake With Nutek Food Science Salt For Life

Salt for Life Sea Salt Plus Potassium Blend, 15.2 Ounce

#2383: Nissin Cup Noodles Beef Flavor Ramen Noodle Soup (New Recipe)

#2383: Nissin Cup Noodles Beef Flavor Ramen Noodle Soup (New Recipe) - The Ramen Rater - USA - instant noodles

Okay so here’s another one of the new recipe Cup Noodles from Nissin Foods USA – thanks again for sending ’em over! I did a kind of experiment a while back – one that ended pretty well. See, on Instagram I often see people enjoying their instant noodles alongside a beer as well as some form of Chee-Tos, whether they be regular, Flamin’ Hot or Flamin’ Hot Limon. What’s kind of funny about it is that it sort of makes sense. See, Chee-Tos kind of have the same effect on instant noodles as tempura. Weird but true – they’re crunchy but also work well in broth. It’s alright if you think I’m crazy, but I do find this somewhat poetic. Let’s check it out.

Nissin Cup Noodles Beef Flavor Ramen Noodle Soup (New Recipe) – United States

#2383: Nissin Cup Noodles Beef Flavor Ramen Noodle Soup (New Recipe) - The Ramen Rater - USA - instant noodles

Detail of the side panels (click to enlarge). Contains beef. To prepare, add boiling water to fill line and cover for 3 minutes. Stir and enjoy!

#2383: Nissin Cup Noodles Beef Flavor Ramen Noodle Soup (New Recipe) - The Ramen Rater - USA - instant noodles

The iconic cup, unscathed by the march of time and progress.

#2383: Nissin Cup Noodles Beef Flavor Ramen Noodle Soup (New Recipe) - The Ramen Rater - USA - instant noodles

Detail of the lid (click to enlarge).

#2383: Nissin Cup Noodles Beef Flavor Ramen Noodle Soup (New Recipe) - The Ramen Rater - USA - instant noodles

The noodle block.

#2383: Nissin Cup Noodles Beef Flavor Ramen Noodle Soup (New Recipe) - The Ramen Rater - USA - instant noodles

Some of the loose bits from inside the cup.

#2383: Nissin Cup Noodles Beef Flavor Ramen Noodle Soup (New Recipe) - The Ramen Rater - USA - instant noodles

Finished (click to enlarge). Added Salad Cosmo mung bean sprouts, cilantro, Chee-Tos, hard boiled egg,beef and crushed red pepper. The noodles are thin and hydrated nicely. They have a soft tooth and are what you’d expect. Also a decent quantity of them. The broth does taste like a thin beef broth. Vegetable bits hydrated well. 3.5 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 070662030011.

#2383: Nissin Cup Noodles Beef Flavor Ramen Noodle Soup (New Recipe) - The Ramen Rater - USA - instant noodles

Nissin C u p Noodles Beef Flavor Soup 2.25 oz (Pack of 24)

Nissin Foods hasn’t changed the recipe for Cup Noodles since their unveiling in 1971.

New Cup Noodles From Nissin Foods USA (2 of 2)

Nissin Foods USA recently changed their instant Cup Noodles recipe for the first time in decades. Why? To lower sodium, MSG and artificial flavorings. Here are the samples they kindly send – they got new clothes as well!

Under the lid.

The second four flavors (click to enlarge). From left to right: Hearty Chicken, Spicy Chili Chicken, Hot & Spicy Shrimp and Spicy Lime Shrimp. Thanks! Looking forward to trying them all!

Meet The Manufacturer: NuTek Food Science

Lowering sodium without compromising taste: a visit to NuTek Food Science

‘Aren’t you worried about the amount of sodium you’re taking in?’ This question has been following me around for years now – from people commenting on a news article to a journalist interviewing me for a story. I’ve usually shrugged it off in some way as I’ve not had high blood pressure – ‘worst I’ve had has been borderline when visiting a doctor from time to time.’ These days however with my second son here and another child on the way, my thinking has shifted a little bit. I’m in my early forties (I mean twenties, cough cough) and thinking about how I definitely want to be there for my children and watch them grow into adults, live forever, and review instant noodles as long as they keep coming up with fascinating and tasty new takes of the local cuisine of the world. I’ve cut back on how much of the noodles I take in when I review in the last year or so – a slurp of broth, a mouthful of noodles and then the supplied garnishes to get the full feel for a product and review it. I then just try to eat the garnishes I might add in after that, and once that’s done, the rest goes down the garbage disposal. It’s hard though; there are varieties that I just have to eat the whole bowl after reviewing – the really tasty stuff, you know?

Most instant noodles on the market have a lot of sodium, and the main reason for that is that soup is mostly water. Water dilutes things, and noodles in bland water aren’t satisfying to anyone.

These were a few thoughts I had going through my head after being invited by James Wong, VP of sales for NuTek Food Science in Omaha, Nebraska to come and learn about their products. NuTek makes a salt – not sodium chloride salt like table salt, but one made out of potassium chloride; something that I’ve tried before but found to taste funky, bitter and all around nasty.

NuTek offered to fly myself as well as wife Christine and son Miles out to their headquarters and have me try their product and let them know what I think. I had turned down some free trips recently – one to Qinghai province in china to go on a special tour with other noodle bloggers, as well as a trip to South Korea to a big noodle expo – both of which sounded amazing but there was just no way that would work with our schedules. Omaha would be a quick trip and sounded neat – someplace new.

I met with James the day after we arrived in early June in the hotel lobby and we drove to NuTek’s headquarters. We chatted for a few minutes about instant noodles and then had a meeting with company’s President and COO Brian Boor, Dana Southard and Gary Uram from R&D.

They made a presentation about sodium and their product and it was very interesting.

Click to enlarge As it turns out (and probably nobody is really surprised at this) that we take in way more sodium than we should. What we should be doing is taking in large amounts of potassium. It is recommended that people take in about a 2 to 1 ration of potassium to sodium. I noticed that Japan had a very high average sodium intake – so I asked how do you account for their longevity? Well, it turns out their diet is very high in potassium. Studies have shown that keeping a 2-to-1 potassium-to-sodium ratio is more important than the absolute amount of sodium consumed. (Journal of the American College of Cardiology)


Click to enlarge The issue is that while it’s certainly easy to take in a lot of sodium, potassium isn’t as easy to get. As you can see, a lot of bananas and plain yogurt.


Click to enlarge The bottom line is that taking in so much sodium has increased the risk of cardiovascular disease quite a bit. The FDA has just come out with new industry guidelines on sodium in foods in over 150 categories in hopes of reducing sodium intake by a lot in the next few years. Many other countries have done this as well.

Next it was time to give this stuff a try. I was kind of nervous; what if it tastes horrible? Like I said, my only experience with a potassium chloride salt product was a few years back. I got one in a shaker at the store and tried it and it was bitter and nasty; to call it a salt substitute was a real stretch. I kept my mind open as we went to their research kitchen.

I was presented with three blind taste tests – one was an instant noodle whose broth was made with regular salt and the other broth made with 32% less sodium. Next were chicken strips, and then pizza. Time to turn off my brain and turn on my taste buds. I gave the first noodles and broth a try, then the second. I found the second to be more to my liking and have a nicer flavor. As it turned out, the second had the NuTek salt in it – at a 24% overall reduction in sodium (noodle plus broth).That immediately made me think – that’s 360mg potassium in there if the product had 1500mg sodium to start with. The second were the chicken strips. The first one tasted like a chicken strip – but the second tasted better; I could taste more of the chicken. Gary from R&D told me that potassium chloride hits the taste buds in a different way; sort of delayed. That being said, it gives the taste buds time to taste the food initially before the salty hit. Third was the pizza. They had used NuTek salt on one of the pizzas in the dough (37% sodium reduction), sauce (37% sodium reduction) and pepperoni (50% sodium reduction). It was at this point that I realized they had flown my family about 1700 miles to try some college dorm foods! All kidding aside, I couldn’t discern the difference between the pizzas. It was at that point that Chef Keys told me I should try the pepperoni from each pizza. What was funny is that one slice just seemed like normal pepperoni, while the other had a better flavor – and it was like my taste buds could appreciate it more. Sure enough, the latter was the NuTek salt pepperoni with 50% less sodium.

The proof definitely was in the eating for me. It’s almost insulting – why isn’t this stuff in every product, especially instant noodles? I mean with this stuff, you could now have an instant noodle cup for lunch and end up with much less sodium and the benefit of the amount of potassium you would get by having a banana! If it’s hard to get potassium in decent amounts here in the United States, what about other countries? Especially ones where instant noodles are more of a staple? Not only that, you can use this stuff in anything that you would use regular salt in.

After the tasting, I conducted this interview with Brian Boor about NuTek salt and posed some questions about it.

I brought home some of their Salt For Life consumer product (there’s one product for industry and one that replaces sodium chloride table salt in a shaker). Honestly, I don’t usually use a lot of salt on things, but I made some chicken I seasoned with their salt (which has 75% less sodium than table salt) and pepper and it came out really nice.

The bottom line is that I think this is really a miraculous invention. How many people do you know who have had heart attacks? Imagine if this was in a myriad of products everyone eats and could reduce the number of people with cardiovascular disease? I have no compunction in saying that I wholly endorse this product. I would say to the instant noodle industry as a whole, this is the future. I think that to not use this product would be ignorant – especially with such consumer outcry over sodium levels in processed foods. I’m no food scientist, but logic is logic, and my taste buds have given this 5.0 out of 5.0 stars. For more information, visit www.NuTekSalt.com.

#930: Maruchan 35% Less Sodium Instant Lunch Beef Flavor Ramen Noodles With Vegetables

After this one, I think I have only four new ones to review! Egad! Hoping the mailman brings some new things to review soon! So here’s a cup of noodles for breakfast…

Here’s the back of the cardboard outer (click image to enlarge).

The iconic cup. I must say I dig on the font and the colors; very 70’s / early 80’s look and feel to it.

A scan of the lid (click image to enlarge).

The noodle block. If you notice, the noodles are bespeckled in a layer of powder – that being the seasoning. There are no packets here – everything is ready to go.

Here are some of the veggies I picked out of the cup.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Drained broth, added stir fry veggies, sweet onion, kizami shoga (pickled ginger), minced garlic, and an egg. Fried in a small skilled for a while and added a pinch of Urashima Sesame & Salt furikake and Dua Belibis chili sauce on top. Before this as usual I did the sampling. The noodles were good – nice texture and chew. The broth was lighter than usual, but had a nice beef flavor I enjoyed. The veggies hydrated well. 3.5 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 041789001727 – get it here.

Absolutely awesome – why don’t any noodle companies give away stuff with their noodles in the USA? I call for an instant noodle rennaisance – marketing blitz and social hipness explosion!

Looks fancy and tasty.

#924: Maruchan 35% Less Sodium Chicken Flavor Ramen Noodle Soup

Strange how lately Walmart has become a treasure trove for Maruchan products – found six I hadn’t reviewed there recently! Anyways, here’s the chicken lower sodium pack.

The back of the package (click to enlarge). I really like how they have a little aside about the versatility of instant noodles here – not something you see all the time.

The noodle block.

Usually when I think of this color, I think of hot and spicy. Thought it interesting they should choose it for lower sodium.

Took a taste of the seasoning – quite nice. Has a slight sweetness at first then a good herbed chicken taste.

Finished (click image to enlarge). Added stir fry veggies, baked chicken with Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning and some Urashima Sesame & Salt furikake. The noodles are a little different; not in any sort of bad way though – they’re really good, just seem a little different as far as the outside. The broth is good – a very nice real chicken flavor, although seems like it needs a little salt. I would imagine 35% more salt. I think though if I weren’t used to eating salt in such abundance that it would be enjoyable if I were on a restrictive diet where salt was a concern. This is good stuff – seems like they’ve gotten the lower sodium pretty darn on the money. 3.75 out of 5.0 stars. UPC bar code 041789004117 – get it here.

This commercial is awesome – mariachi with noodles are cool!

A video about how to make sweet & sour with Maruchan Yakisoba noodles

#919: Maruchan 35% Less Sodium Beef Flavor Ramen Noodle Soup

Ah! The elusive 35% less sodium pack! A lot of you have asked about lower sodium instant noodles – here’s one. Each pack has two servings at 510mg sodium each instead of 790mg of sodium (look at the back of the package below for details). Found it recently at Walmart actually. Its funny how many Asian grocery stores I know of and hit up for new noodles to review from time to time, but I still find new items at the biggest grocery store around. I’m hoping to be doing a Meet The Manufacturer with Maruchan sometime soon too! That’s going to be great! Anyways, let’s see how this one is…

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

The noodle block.

A single packet of seasoning – classic!

If you’re wondering, yes – it tastes salty. It also has a nice beef taste too.

Finished (click to enlarge). Added a little thin sliced rib eye, sweet onion and stir fry veggies. The noodles are good – plentiful and of a good consistency. The broth is great – I would say it has no negative effects of being a lower sodium broth; it’s good – lots of nice beef flavor and it is decently salty as well. This I like a lot. 3.5 out of 5.0 stars -if you’re looking for something in the lower sodium bracket, I’d start with this one. UPC bar code 041789004124 – get it here!

Here’s a Maruchan commercial in Spanish

Here’s a video using Maruchan products

#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

#354: Maruchan Instant Lunch Chicken Flavor 35% Less Sodium Ramen Noodles With Vegetables

Here’s another new one brought from California by my lovely lady. Thanks, Kit! On with the review!

Okay first off… ‘this product contains 660mg of sodium versus 1170mg for our regular product.’ What I’d like to know is why it says 735mb of sodium on the cardboard package them. I just looked at Nissin’s Hearty Chicken Cup Noodle and it has like 40mg more than this one. Weird.

Looks like a nice amount of veggies and seasoning…

Click image to enlarge. The finished product. So I think this stuff could use a little salt. It had a bit of a buttery flavor to it actually; kind of strange. Not bad though. 3.0 out of 5.0 stars.

I found this guy kind of annoying…

On the other hand, I found this to be interesting. Do they really have this globalization cam thing at McDonald’s? Sounds fascinating…

#283: Paldo King Cup Kimchi Pot Stew Instant Noodle

So a big hurking bowl noodle. The only time I’ve ever seen anything this size before when not a fresh udon bowl was the Nissin Souper Meals.  Its 2152mg of sodium and should pack a wallop!

Veggies on the left, soup base on the right.

I’m really pleased – looks like a lot of veggies here! Also the soup base has a nice red color to it.

I have a Prodigy CD that I use to hold down the lids on smallish cup noodles and the like but this required a full 12″ disco Tower of Power vinyl.

Click image to enlarge. Here’s the finished product with two eggs intermingled. I like this a lot. The noodles are firmer and chewier than I expected. The broth is nice – a little spice and a bit on kimchi flavor and the veggies are ample. The two eggs top it off quite nicely. 4.0 out of 5.0 stars on this one – nicely done! Get it here.

#174: Lucky Me! Instant Sotanghon Instant (Vermicelli Soup) Artificial Chicken Flavor

Again today I asked my lady Kit to pick a couple packs of noodles to eat. The first is this one.

A very small amount of noodles – in fact, only a cup of water is required to prepare them!

Some odd seasonings… Hmm…

Holy crap this stuff is gross (click image to enlarge)! First off, 60mg shy of 2000mg of sodium is just insane for such a small amount of noodles. The taste is way too strong for me and kind of piquantly pungent and very not my style. I don’t like it. I don’t like it. I don’t like it. I give it .25 out of 5.0 stars. Here’s the cup version.