10 Things You Should Know About Instant Ramen (Slideshow)
Do you prefer Cup Noodles or Instant Lunch? Either way, learn more about what you're eating
10 Things You Should Know About Instant Ramen
Instant noodles come in plenty of varieties these days.
It was Invented in 1958
Ando invented instant noodles way back in 1958, and while the packets of pre-seasoned dried noodles were immediately popular, they didn’t really take off (especially internationally) until 1971, when Nissin (the same company that invented them) introduced Cup Noodles, which just required the addition of boiling water.
The First Brand Name was Chikin Ramen
Sounds like chicken… and tastes like it too, more or less.
It Was Originally a Luxury Item
Believe it or not, instant ramen was somewhat of a luxury item when it was first invented, selling for 35 yen per serving, about six times the price of fresh noodles.
Ramen Was the First Food to Include Production Dates on Packaging
Ando was one of the most important food innovators of the twentieth century, also founding the Instant Food Industry Association, which established guidelines for fair competition and quality.
Ando Ate Instant Ramen Nearly Every Day of His Life
Ando truly believed in his product, and he claimed that the secret to his long life was playing golf and eating instant ramen nearly every day. It must have worked: he died in 2007 at age 96.
It Really is Terrible for You
Instant ramen might have worked to Ando, but there’s very little health benefit in it. It's high in carbohydrates, sodium, and fat, but very low in protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. If you add some fresh chopped vegetables or lean protein it’ll add some nutritional value, but won’t negate the fact that it’s loaded with chemicals and MSG.
The Noodles are Fried
Ever wonder how they get the noodles so crispy? They’re deep-fried, which adds to the fat content but lowers the total liquid content in the noodles to about two percent.
One “Souper Meal” Contains about 110 Percent of a Day’s Suggested Sodium Intake
Nissin’s “Souper Meal” is about twice the size of a regular Cup Noodles and includes thicker noodles, more vegetables, and a richer broth. Unfortunately, the average container contains more than 2,600 milligrams of sodium, more than a whole day’s suggested intake of 2,400 milligrams: the equivalent of a heaping teaspoon of table salt.
Maruchan Instant Lunch is Slightly Healthier than Nissin Cup Noodles
If you need to choose between Maruchan’s Instant Lunch and Nissin’s Cup Noodles from a nutritional standpoint, opt for Maruchan. Each 64-gram cup contains 10 fewer calories (290), 1 fewer gram of fat (12), and 1,190 milligrams of sodium, compared to Nissin’s 1,410.
The Most Recent Study Isn’t Exactly Conclusive
As for that New York Times headline? It’s a bit misleading. The study actually found that women who eat instant noodles at least twice a week were 68 percent more likely than men to develop a metabolic syndrome (like obesity and high blood pressure). This could be because postmenopausal women are more sensitive to carbohydrates, sodium, and saturated fat, or because they’re better than men at reporting their diet. Still, the research backs up the fact that instant noodles are still quite unhealthy.
If you want to eat healthier but don't want to kick your ramen habit, just add the veggies INTO THE RAMEN. You can wilt some spinach or cabbage in at the end, fry some some broccoli, carrots or cauliflower and then cook the ramen on top of that, or add some frozen sweetcorn or peas to your hot water along with your noodles.
You can find a proper vegetable ramen recipe here.
21 Things You Didn’t Know About Ramen
Instant noodles are a common college staple. They’re cheap, inexpensive, and easy to make. However, have you ever thought about the true facts of the ramen noodle? Where did it come from? Who should we thank for creating the classic college staple? All these and more are presented below. Get ready to school your friends in your ramen knowledge.
1. It was once considered a luxury item.
Ramen wasn’t always so cheap. When it was first released, it was actually considered a luxury because it was cheaper to buy fresh Japanese noodles (udon) from the grocery store than it was to purchase instant noodle.
2. You can live off of instant noodles for about $150.
Instant noodles are a college staple because with textbooks, housing, tuition and other various expenses, every penny you can save counts. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make them into a real dinner.
3. Ramen is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word lamein.
Ramen and lamien, sound similar right? The true history of this noodle is unclear. Some say it has a Chinese origin, while others say it was invented in the 20th century by Japan. Either way, the Japanese word for ramen comes from the Chinese word lamien, which means Chinese noodles.
4. China consumes the most instant ramen.
According to the World Instant Noodles Association (yes, a noodles association actually exists). Because of the high global demand, China consumes 46 billion packets of ramen yearly.
5. It is the best selling item in Riker’s Prison in New York.
Riker’s Prison always has CupNoodles in stock. They are given the hot water to make the noodles and it’s a quick and easy meal to make. However sometimes, prisoners just use the seasoning packets to spice up their bland meals.
6. In Japan, there are at least 22 different styles.
Gif courtesy of tumblr.com
The basics of this dish consists of the broth, the saltiness, the noodles, and the toppings. However, each place has it’s own take on what broth to use, how much salt, the type of noodles, and their toppings, creating ramen specialities in different regions. I guess you could say no two ramen places taste the same.
7. There is a CupNoodles Museum in Japan.
Photo courtesy of @lunastella7341 on Instagram
There is a Foodseum (aka Food Museum) in Chicago, but Japan has got the museum of instant noodles covered. Learn the history of how the instant noodle came to be and don’t forget to make your own noodle concoction before you leave.
8. Momofuku Andu invented the idea of instant ramen.
Photo courtesy of @lucacappuccinodonofrio on Instagram
It was said that Momofuku Ando got the idea to make an instant noodle product when he saw a line of people waiting in long lines patiently for a bowl of ramen. Thus, he wanted to create a product that was tasty, inexpensive, and easy to prepare. He first introduced the chicken ramen in 1958 and then the Cup Noodle in 1971.
9. It was the first type of noodle in space.
Photo courtesy of nissin.com
Invented by Momofuku Andu in 2005, the “Space Ram” is a vacuum-packed ramen made with smaller noodles and a thicker broth. This space food was invented for Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi’s trip in the Discovery space shuttle.
10. There’s a movie about ramen starring Brittany Murphy.
Photo courtesy of tumblr.com
Brittany Murphy, best known for her role of Tai in the movie Clueless, stars in a movie all about ramen called The Ramen Girl.
11. Jackie Cruz said she could live off of ramen.
Jackie Cruz, star of the hit TV show Orange is the New Black, told CelebBuzz that if she could eat one thing for the rest of her life, it would either be tacos or ramen.
12. Japan thinks ramen is one of the greatest inventions.
There is so much technology in Japan, yet the instant noodle was named the best invention of the 20th century. In second place, karaoke.
13. Not all of Nissin Top Ramen are vegetarian friendly.
Photo courtesy of nissin.com
You may think that all Nissin brand noodles are “vegetarian friendly” but actually, only the Oriental flavor and Chili flavor are truly vegetarian. The seasoning packets contain actual meat products. But don’t worry vegetarians, we can help you hack the menu in every restaurant here.
14. Some people eat instant noodles uncooked.
People like David Chang, owner of the Momofuku chain, eats instant ramen uncooked. He would actually eat it as an after school snack, sprinkling the seasoning over the uncooked noodles before taking a bite.
15. The noodle length inside an instant ramen packet is 51 meters.
There are odd measurements out there in the world but when it comes to the length of the instant noodles, it is no mystery. 51 meters is equivalent to 2 basketball courts. What a length!
16. Eat in moderation because it contains Tertiary-butyl hydroquinone.
Everyone says not to eat instant noodles too much but do you know why? Well, it contains tertiary-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), a chemical used commonly to extend the shelf life of food. However, there are many negative side effects which include, but are not limited to, nausea, vomiting, collapsing, and high blood pressure.
17. Don’t talk while eating.
It is considered respectful not to talk while eating ramen. This shows respects to the cooks who took the time to create such a wonderful and delicious masterpiece.
18. Start with the broth.
The broth usually takes hours to make and makes a ramen bowl distinct. There are a variety of different broths from shoyu to miso. Before eating the noodles, take a few sips of the broth first. Be careful, the broth is hot.
19. Eat fast.
Ramen is best eaten while hot. The noodle is still cooking because the broth is very hot. It is best to consume the dish as quickly as possible or you may make a mistake and end up with overcooked noodles.
20. Slurp to cool.
Because the ramen is hot, slurping will actually cool the noodles. Also, it is considered respectful to slurp noodles as it shows that you enjoy the meal.
21. The yellow color is not from an egg yolk.
Photo by Ming-Ray Liao, Edited by Sini Choi
There are 4 ingredients to making traditional ramen noodles: wheat flour, salt, water, and kansui. Kansui gives it the yellow color. Not egg.
Miso shrimp and corn ramen
In a saucepan over high heat, whisk together 2 cups of water, 1/2 the flavor packet from seafood or spicy ramen, and 1 teaspoon of white miso. When it comes to a boil, add the noodles and reduce to a simmer when they soften, stir in a few raw frozen shrimp, making sure they’re submerged in the broth, and cover the pot. Cook for 2-4 minutes until the noodles are cooked and shrimp is opaque, then stir in 1/4 cup frozen corn kernels. Pour into a bowl and serve with sliced scallions and generous dollop of chili-garlic sauce.
These Are The Best Ways To Make Ramen In Your Dorm
Most of us are at least passingly familiar with ramen. Who could refuse those delicious (and most importantly, deliciously inexpensive) noodles that are so easy to make? That's why I was thrilled to find the recent AskReddit thread, prompting users to share their best ramen recipes for college students. Dorm room cooking wan be a challenge, but instant ramen doesn't require anything except access to hot water — and it's both easy and inexpensive to doctor your noodles into something spectacular, even when you're not working with a whole lot.
Ramen is a universal crowd-pleaser, whether you're eating lunch solo or heating up a makeshift midnight snack to share with your roommates. And it isn't just for college kids, either, although it's certainly dorm room staple I mean, I've already long since finished college, and I still love ramen. After all, why should the cheap and convenient noodle recipes end just because you're no longer living in a dorm?
Of course, what you can do to make your ideal ramen varies depending on what kitchen tools you have available. For some people, you might be limited to just a microwave or an electric kettle. For others, if you have a slow cooker handy, you can basically make a gourmet meal based around a super affordable packet of noodles. If you have a nice variety of spices and sauces, that can help, too! Though we all know the seasoning packet that comes with a package is a real life-saver, especially when our cupboards are pretty bare.
I've chosen my personal favorite cheap and easy ramen recipes below, but be sure to check out the full thread over at AskReddit for even more awesome recommendations.
1. Add A Little Jerky To Your Dish
Round out your ramen with a little salty protein. Jerky also makes for a convenient and cheap snack, too. Also noteworthy for non-meaters is that, yes, vegan jerky exists. Hurrah!
2. Add Some Vegetarian Protein To Your Bowl
Tofu is pretty cheap, lasts forever in the fridge, and sucks up whatever flavors you mix it with. Baking some tofu (many dorms have communal kitchens) and popping it into a bowl of delicious noodles is an easy way to get some healthy protein into your meal.
3. Make Your Liquid As Flavorful As Possible
Whether you're using a homemade broth or something from a box or can, cooking your noodles in a flavorful liquid instead of just plain water adds a nice touch.
4. Marinate Your Toppings For The Best Flavor
If you eat ramen regularly, or you just like to plan ahead, it's a great idea to marinate your proteins, vegetables, and other toppings before you actually cook your noodles. This gives your food time to really absorb the flavor and become more nuanced and rich.
5. Make These Fancy Noodles To Impress Your Roommates
If you want to become everyone's favorite roommate, whip up some fancy noodles in no time flat.
6. Canned Soup And Ramen Might Be A Match Made In Kitchen Heaven
Strange, but true: If you have some cans of soup in your cupboard you need to get rid of them, using them to cook your ramen noodles is apparently a delicious and fool-proof way to create a unique and easy dish. Don't knock it until you try it, am I right?
7. Hoisin Sauce and Sriracha: The Classics
If you want your ramen to be super quick, yet super flavorful, always keep some hoisin sauce and sriracha on hand. These sauces can go really well with other dishes, too, making them nice and versatile in the kitchen.
8. This Three-Step Process Is Absolutely No Joke
If you eat ramen on the regular, you might as well develop a specific system that works for you. This Redditor's method sounds like it's virtually a science, and I have to say, I'm so convinced that I'm going to try it myself soon!
9. Breaking Down The Cost Makes This Taste Even Sweeter
When you're working with a budget, few things taste better than knowing your money is going far when it comes to your meals. That's why it can be super handy to break down the cost per ingredient, per meal and see how far your dollar really stretches.
10. Treat Yourself To A Creamy Sauce
Who doesn't love the creamy comfort of a homemade sauce? Especially if you're missing your parent's home cooked meals, this one is sure to warm your stomach — and your heart.
11. Peanut Butter Goes Well With Everything — Including Your Noodles
Have a jar of peanut butter in your pantry? Perfect. Add a scoop to your ramen and you've given yourself a new flavor — and some protein, to boot.
12 Things No One Tells You About Using an Instant Pot
Obsession is all but guaranteed. But first, there are a few key facts to know before you get cooking.
Photo By: Heather Ramsdell
Everything You Need to Know About Instant Pot Cooking
The Instant Pot is the shiny new apple of our eye. We just can't get enough, and we'll shout it from the rooftops if you ask. But that doesn't mean it was all smooth sailing from the start. Whether you're considering the purchase of an Instant Pot or have one but still feel like a newbie, these important truths will make your cooking experience easier.
Cooking in an Instant Pot Takes Longer Than You Think
You may have heard an IP can poach chicken breasts in 8 minutes and make steel-cut oatmeal in 3 minutes &mdash mind blowing, right? Well, the reality is that the minutes you enter on the control panel indicate cooking time. And that clock doesn't start until pressure has built up inside the cooker (kind of like preheating). And it doesn't end until the pressure is released. How long that takes depends on the quantity of food and temperature &mdash colder foods will take longer to come to pressure. Anticipate 5 to 20 minutes for a machine to come to pressure and up to 30 minutes to release it naturally. So, the more accurate cook time for that chicken is 28 minutes and 23 minutes for those oats.
The Sauté Feature Is Everything
This is what sets the Instant Pot apart from other pressure cookers and slow cookers. With the sauté option, you can do things like caramelize onions or toast spices without pulling out another pan. It can also be used at the end of cooking to reduce soups and sauces at a brisk simmer, something that can be a drag in a slow cooker.
The More Presets the Better? Wrong.
The Instant Pot has So. Many. Buttons. Do you really need them all? No. You'll find most IP recipes simply call for the manual or pressure cook setting because they allow more control. Cooking is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. The pre-sets for, say, beans or rice, won't work for every recipe, for the same reason not all cakes cook at the same time and chicken thighs take longer than chicken breasts.
It's Not Just a Pressure Cooker
The size of an Instant Pot is probably one of the biggest reasons people hedge on buying one. Who needs another space-hogging appliance? But an IP does much more than pressure cook. It's a slow cooker, rice cooker and yogurt-maker too. Eliminate one of those from your pantry and you'll have room for your new friend.
The Recipes Need Liquid to Work
You must have liquid (broth, water or juices) in your recipe to build up pressure for cooking. You'll need around 1 1/2 cups of liquid for the 8-quart, 1 cup for the 6-quart and 3/4 cup for the 3-quart Instant Pot. Pro tip: To speed up the time it takes for the pot to come to pressure, warm the liquid on the saute setting first. This could save you up to 10 minutes.
You Can't Smell- or Sight-Check Your Food
You'll need to get used to dumping ingredients in the pot, then sealing it up out of sight and smells for the duration of the cooking (no peeking under the lid here). It's a weird one for cooks to comprehend, but the time saved on long braises is totally worth it.
You Can Start with Frozen Meat
Unlike slow cookers, which are unsafe for cooking frozen meat because of major food safety concerns like bacteria growth , the Instant Pot cooks quickly and at a high temperature, making it possible to put frozen chicken legs in the pot and sit down to a chicken adobo dinner 1 1/2 hours later. The drawbacks: You will need to add about 50 percent more cooking time to the recipe, during which time the other ingredients may overcook. And it'll take longer for the pot to come to pressure (the warmer the ingredients, the faster it goes).
You Need to Buy an Extra Sealing Ring
Two words: garlic cheesecake. That's what you could end up with if you cook a pungent braised pork one night and a dessert the next day because silicone rings are great flavor absorbers. Keep two rings on hand, reserving one for savory cooking and the other for sweet, and replace them every 6 to 12 months depending on how often you use them.
You'll Want to Spring for a Few Accessories
Accessories are key to making many of our favorite Instant Pot recipes, like this super silky cheesecake, which requires a 7-inch springform pan and a lifting contraption to get the pan out (either silicon or a homemade foil sling will do). There are egg racks for making lots of jammy, soft-boiled eggs, steamer baskets for cooking healthy vegetable dinners and glass lids for when you just want to use your Instant Pot as a slow cooker.
Not Everything Is Better in an Instant Pot
You wouldn't cook everything in a slow cooker or on the grill, so you can't expect the same of your Instant Pot. There are some obvious things, like fried foods, which won't stay crisp in the moist environment of the pot. But the number one item to avoid is steak. A nice New York strip steak will emerge from your IP steamed, gray and rubbery. For anything best served medium-rare with a good sear, stick to the grill or a smoking hot pan.
Ignore the Max Fill Line
The max fill line on your Instant Pot insert isn't designed for pressure cooking. It's designed for the slow cook setting (so follow it then). When you use the pressure cook setting, fill the pot no more than two-thirds full. And if you're cooking foods like beans, rice or any other dehydrated food that will expand while cooking, only fill halfway. Any more and you'll clog the valves and have leaky seals.
One Size Doesn't Fit All
If you cook for your whole family nightly, opt for a 6- or 8-quart model, which can hold a whole chicken. Smaller tasks, like making rice and beans, or preparing dinners for one are perfect for a 3-quart pot. Though most Instant Pot recipes are designed for larger pots, you can scale down almost any recipe to a 3-quart pot if you keep in mind that once the IP it comes to pressure, the cook times will remain the same.
How to Make Your Own Flavors!
It should be pretty obvious by now how the game is played, but here are some things I've learned in the past couple weeks:
You can use any type of heatproof resealable jar. A one-pint Mason jar would be a good choice. I got these little clamping jars with gaskets for 75 cents apiece at Ikea.
The Flavor Base
I'd never really used Better Than Bouillon in the past, but it was by far the best concentrated soup base I tried out of the half dozen or so I could find in the area. It makes sense—real meat and vegetables are high up on Better Than Bouillon's ingredient lists, compared with most powdered bases, which are primarily salt and MSG-like glutamates.
The key to really good flavor is to use the base as the background, bumping it up with other flavorful sauces and pastes. Miso paste, curry paste, and sesame tahini are three good ones. Any number of Chinese-style sauces, like chili-garlic sauce, black bean sauce, or Sichuan chili bean paste, work well.
A touch of sugar can balance out heat. Freshly grated ginger and garlic will add freshness and bite. Soy sauce and fish sauce bring a powerful umami punch to a pot. Canned tomatoes or chipotle peppers are nice for a non-Asian flavor. Just make sure to scale back the soup base when you add other salty ingredients.
Don't try to use uncooked ramen or Italian pasta—the water doesn't stay hot long enough to cook them, and they end up gummy and mushy!
- The easiest noodles to use are the rice vermicelli sold under Thai and Vietnamese brands. Wider, pad thai–style rice noodles also work.
- For wheat-based noodles, I recommend par-cooked noodles sold in the refrigerated sections of Asian supermarkets. Generally, these noodles are meant to be fried, so they'll be sold as fried lo mein or as yakisoba.
- You can par-cook fresh or dried ramen, udon, soba, or Italian pasta. Cook it until it's slightly underdone, shock it in cold water, toss it with a little oil, and you're good to go.
- Shirataki and other no-cook noodle alternatives work well.
Adding Meats and Other Proteins
Stick with fully cooked, cured, or dried meats. My favorites (and the easiest) are picked roast chicken, beef jerky, cooked shrimp, canned tuna, chunks of cured meats like chorizo or pepperoni, bacon—because it's thin, bacon can actually be added raw and will cook in the boiling water—firm or fried tofu, smoked salmon, or finely flaked and rinsed salt cod.
The thing to remember is that nothing really cooks when you add the hot water. Things absorb water and can be slightly softened, but that's it. Make sure you stick with vegetables that can be eaten raw.
For firmer vegetables, like carrots, cabbage, leeks, larger mushrooms, and the like, either grate the vegetables on the large holes of a box grater or cut them into thin, julienne-style matchsticks. More tender vegetables, like mushrooms or tomatoes, can be cut into bite-size pieces.
Leafy greens, like kale and spinach, should be trimmed of any thick, fibrous stems and can then be simply torn.
Frozen vegetables, like peas or corn, can be added directly from the freezer, though, if you plan on cooking the pots immediately, it's best to thaw them under the tap first so that you don't lose too much heat when you add your boiling water.
The Flavor Packs
This is where your fresh elements come in. Think chopped fresh herbs, citrus that can be juiced at the end, and pickled items, like capers or pickled ginger. Sliced chilies and scallions are also great.
Of course, you don't have to stop at Asian flavors just because real instant noodles usually do. The chicken and dill flavor above is great, but why even limit yourself to pasta?
Some shredded chicken in a chicken base, with drained canned beans, perhaps a bit of grated Parmesan, some tomatoes, slivered beans and carrots, and torn kale, all flavored with chopped rosemary and lemon zest in the Flavor Pack, sounds pretty great, doesn't it? Or what about a just-add-water version of the hot dog and sausage soup my mom used to make, perhaps upgraded with some smoked kielbasa, shredded cabbage, and carrots?
You get the point. There's a lot of potential here. (Or, as we say at my place now, cuptential.)***
11 Amazing Things You Can Do With Ramen Noodles
Ramen! Everybody loves those packages of instant ramen noodles. Well, not everybody. I'm sure there's a few picky eaters out there who are blind to the myriad charms of ramen. But for the rest of us, there's just something irresistible about those squiggly little curly noodles in that briny broth.
Sure, you could heat up some water, toss in that flavor pack, and enjoy your ramen straight-up. But consider all the other places you can take that noodle package. Here are 11 tasty twists on instant ramen.
Use your own broth. Throw out the seasoning packet and cook your noodles either in your own homemade or store-bought broth. Add soy sauce, lime juice, sriracha, miso paste, or whatever else you like.
Add fresh ingredients. Try cooked chicken or shrimp or diced veggies. Authentic ramen often includes a boiled egg cut in half.
Add frozen ingredients. Try frozen corn niblets, peas, snow peas, broccoli, or carrots.
Just butter. Boil noodles, drain, and toss with butter. The end. (Maybe a squirt of lemon juice and some salt.)
Mac and ramen. Take the cheese powder from a box of mac and cheese and stir that into your cooked noodles. I'm not saying it's a good idea, I'm just saying that is something you could do.
Ramen salad. Toss cooked noodles with shredded cabbage and carrots. Dress with rice vinegar and sesame or vegetable oil.
Ramen stir fry. Make your favorite stir fry (here are several recipes). Add drained, cooked ramen noodles at the very end of cooking.
Ramen fritata. Add cooked and drained noodles to egg batter. Fry it all up together.
Cold "sesame" noodles. Stir together soy sauce, a spoonful of peanut butter, and a little bit of sesame or vegetable oil for a sauce. Toss with cooked and drained ramen noodles and chopped scallions.
Crunchy salad topping. Crumble dried noodles over your salad -- or over anything else you think could use some extra crunch.
Ramen sketti. You know that Honey Boo Boo recipe? You could make the same thing with ramen noodles. Just saying.
Rasmussen College lists a dizzying array of ramen noodle recipes and ideas as part of its "College Survival Guide." Quite the impressive list!
10 Things You Should Never Do While Eating Ramen
There's nothing like diving into a big, steaming bowl of ramen. But when it comes to this delicious Japanese favorite, there's a right and wrong way to indulge. There's no excuse for plain old ramen right out of the package, and adding the right toppings and adjustments really can make a world of difference. But how exactly should ramen be enjoyed? The next time you're ready for ramen, avoid these mistakes and give your bowl the love it deserves.
1) Don't skip the sniff. While everyone wants to hurry up and get to tasting, don't forget to take in the aroma of your ramen before you start eating. Be sure to breathe in the wafting smells before you eat, as it'll help compliment the overall flavor.
2) Don't get grabby. Grabbing too many noodles all at once makes it nearly impossible to wrap them all neatly. Avoid overloading chopsticks with noodles and toppings by eating small, manageable sections at a time. It'll help you with twisting, too.
3) Don't twist in the bowl. Speaking of twisting your noodles, this should happen out of the broth. Nobody wants a soup shower! For a bit more control, loop the noodles over your chopsticks using the spoon as an anchor. It makes for a neater, more enjoyable experience.
4) Don't forget the egg. When it comes to ramen, if you're skipping the egg, you're doing it wrong. The yolky goodness just makes the ramen broth that much better.
5) Don't make it hard on yourself. This probably goes without saying, but don't hold your chopsticks in your left hand. Unless you're a serious lefty, this is a recipe for disaster. That's not to say you should make it too easy, either! Though it takes some time to master, eating ramen with chopsticks is a must (never use a fork).
6) Don't forget the Nori, either. Nori (seaweed) can be confusing for the uninitiated. If you've never had seaweed, you're in for a treat. The salty food is paper thin and delicious, but fair warning: eat it quickly. Wait too long and it'll get soggy in the broth. Use your chopsticks or spoon to cut it up and enjoy it quickly.
7) Don't be shy about slurping. While it might seem uncouth to slurp your soup in American culture, slurping is customary when enjoying ramen. Before eating the noodles, start by tasting the broth to get a real sense of the flavor. Then when you're ready to introduce noodles into the mix, go ahead and slurp 'em up. A note here: good ramen has slurpable noodles. If the noodles stick together, ask for a fresh bowl. When you're finished, feel free to tip the bowl back and slurp up any remaining broth.
8) Don't camp out. Take a look at traditional ramen shops and you'll quickly notice that many are standing room only. Why? The dish is meant to be eaten quickly. Ramen is best enjoyed hot, too, so there's no need to take your time with the dish. Plus, the longer it sits uneaten, the more the noodles soak up the soup. Dive in with your spoon and chopsticks and let the simmered goodness warm you right up.
9) Don't substitute. Let me be clear: no substitutions ever. The one exception to this rule is Sriracha (because Sriracha makes everything better) along with any other toppings the chef offers. But seriously, don't add Hoisin, don't add fish sauce, definitely don't add salt. Real ramen broth takes hours to perfect, and we're going to guess that it's fine just the way it is.
10) Don't forget to double-fist. When it comes to eating ramen, it's a two-handed effort. Pull the noodles out and thread them loosely over your chopsticks, using your soup spoon to loop them over. Then dip the noodles back into the broth and use your spoon to soak up the soup. Bring both to your mouth at the same time -- ideally with some green onions in the mix. The dish is best enjoyed when you're getting broth, noodles, and toppings all at once.
How to Cook Ramen Noodles
This article was co-authored by Thuong Tan. Thuong Tan is a Noodle Expert and the Founder of Noodelist, a food startup producing plant-based instant noodles. Thuong holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Business and Marketing from Haaga-Helia, University of Applied Sciences, and an MBA in Luxury Brand Management from IFA Paris, Polimoda/Shanghai University. Noodelist’s mission is to produce premium plant-based moroheiya noodles that are nutrient-dense, texturally pleasing, and environmentally friendly.
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Ramen is an easy, quick-cooking meal perfect for those on the go or college students who are busy studying. While it is affordable, it is not very nutritious, and some people may find it tasteless, while others find the noodles too mushy. Fortunately, there are several tricks you can do to ensure that the noodles come out perfect. You can also add lots of other flavors and toppings, besides the flavoring packet that's included. With a little bit of creativity, you can have a tastier and more nutritious meal in no time!