Instant ramen has come a long way from having limp noodles and distasteful broth. It’s no longer seen as that dorm room staple people turned to because of how cheap it, but more so because how good it tastes. Instant ramen nowadays come with broth that tastes as if it came straight from a ramen restaurant and noodles with the perfect chewiness. If you’ve ditched instant ramen since your school days, now may be a good time to reconsider otherwise. We’ve gathered a list of 10 of the best ramens you can purchase at Japanese grocery stores or convenience stores. Whether you’re a tourist just passing by the country or living in Japan, here are the 10 instant ramens that are worth the hype.
1. Nissin – Raou
Nissin’s Raou series is what I call a “fancy” instant ramen. From the octagon-shaped container to their non-fried noodles that recreate a similar texture to that “just made raw ramen” you get at your local ramen restaurant. Raou makes you feel like you’re eating a legitimate ramen for the fraction of the price. (Did I mention that there’s even a slice of pork inside this ramen?) While the whole Raou lineup is pretty impressive, I recommend you to try their Seabura Koku Shoyu ramen. The broth is made out of soy sauce, chicken stock, and back fat. These ingredients come together and create a rich and savory flavor. Come Friday, why not stay at home with a bowl of Raou and watch Netflix instead of going out? You’ll be able to save up so much yen, while having a decent ramen.
2.Seven Eleven – Sumire
Jam-packed with calories, yet worth every bite. This is the instant version of Sapporo’s famous ramen restaurant Sumire. If you don’t have the time or money to travel to Sapporo, you should compromise with this instant ramen. Even though I just said “compromise” don’t let my words fool you, as many people rave Sumire’s instant ramen as the best one on the market. Sold exclusively at Seven Eleven, this ramen is based off of Sumire’s miso ramen. The slightly chewy noodle, rich miso broth, garlic and green onions, all blend oh so well, you’ll be asking for seconds by the time you’re finished.
3. Nissin – Cup Noodle
Nissin’s cup noodle is what I personally consider a “classic” instant ramen. I know this is going to sound cliche, but I can’t count how many times I’ve turned to Cup Noodle when I was scraping by during my college days. While the Cup Noodle is known for coming in a variety of flavors, I truly believe everyone needs to try out the original Cup Noodle flavor before venturing out beyond and trying unique flavors.
4.Nissin – Chicken Ramen Donburi
If you haven’t noticed by now, let me point it out for you. Nissin is the dominant player in the world of instant ramen and with reason: they’ve continued to produce top-notch instant ramen for decades, The Chicken Ramen is an oldie but a goodie. Satisfying Japanese people since 1958, there’s a reason why this instant ramen is still on the market. The perfect combination of thin noodles and flavorful chicken broth gets us all hooked. Chicken Ramen is famous for its pairing with eggs, however, this version of Chicken Ramen’s instant ramen comes with a dried piece of egg that resembles a scrambled egg. Once you add hot water, the dried piece of egg turns into a perfectly moist and creamy egg that melts in your mouth.
5. Ace Cook – 1.5 Times Super Cup Pork Kimchi
Have a thing for Kimchi? Then you’re in luck. This ramen was pretty much invented for those of you who love hot and spicy foods. The noodles are thick and chewy and the soup brings out a nice melange of a soy sauce based tonkotsu soup topped off with Kimchi and pork. What’s amazing about this ramen is that it comes with a packet of soup, dried pieces of vegetables, and an oil that is infused with Kimchi and pork. If you can’t handle spicy food well, just adjust the amount of oil you put into your ramen. The Super Cup Pork Kimchi isn’t sold at grocery markets so make sure to check out either a convenience store or Amazon.
6.Toyosuisan – Maruchan Seimen Houjyun Koku Shoyu Flavor
The highlight of this ramen has to go to the noodles. This instant ramen has a chewy and smooth texture that resembles a raw ramen. The soup has a refined taste of soy sauce with a little bit of sweetness to it. Everything about this ramen reminds me of an old school soy sauce ramen. Wanna elevate your ramen? Put your instant ramen in a pretty ceramic bowl and add a soft-boiled egg.
Your instant ramen will become a five-star ramen.
7.Nissin – Cup Noodle Seafood
If you prefer fish over meat then you can’t possibly miss out on Cup Noodle’s Seafood version. Even though this instant ramen is loaded with dried squid and crab bits, it doesn’t have that “fishy” smell that most people resent. The creamy seafood broth has a hint of butter and is a nice mixture with the dried fish bits, making it one tasty ramen.
＊Note that this is not a pescetarian ramen. The ramen broth has meat extract (chicken and pork) in it.
8.Nissin – Ebisoba Ichigen
If you ever find yourself in search for lunch at Lawson, look no further than Ebisoba Ichigen’s instant ramen. The ramen is based on the famous ramen restaurant in Sapporo with the same name. The broth features miso, shrimp extract and a shrimp infused oil. Mix all of these together and you get an ultra-rich broth. Yes, this is an intensely shrimp flavored ramen and I don’t think you’ll ever come across a replacement at a convenience store. And the noodles don’t disappoint either. Get ready for some irresistibly chewy noodles!!!
9. Toyosuisan – RED Umakara Tonkotsu Ramen
While the name “RED” might scare off those of you that aren’t used to eating spicy food, I promise you, it’s not as spicy as it seems. The aftertaste of this ramen may be slightly pungent and intense, but it’s on a tolerable level for most people. It’s not the kind of hot noodles that make you sweat profusely or feel like you’ve burned your mouth. Consisting of tonkotsu based broth with a hint of red pepper and noodles that are seasoned with onion and garlic, this ramen is perfect when you’re craving a midnight snack after a couple of drinks.
10. Sugakiya – Wafu Tonkotsu
A cult-favorite to many, Sugakiya has been around the block for some time. (Over 70 years to be precise.) The perfectly curled noodles are a great mouthful with a tonkotsu-based broth that’s not too heavy. If you’re a ramen lover you would know how hard it is to come across a tonkotsu broth that doesn’t make you feel insanely full. For many Japanese people, Sugakiya is the kind of nostalgic ramen that brings back memories.
Other： Japanese Cup Noodles in India
Please try it!!!