Food

Are You Eating Real Instant Ramen Noodles?

Not all noodles are ramen, unless you are a dumbass. Yea, I am speaking to the fringe of “influencers” that think putting Chinese bok choy and Asiany things into instant noodles makes it ramen (you know who you are).

I had no clue that within the Denver metro area, they have bison roaming about although the reason why I brought this up is that many call them buffalo, and they are not. They mistakenly get called that because early settlers had thought they looked like the Asian Water buffalo or the African Cape buffalo. Now decades later, Americans are doing the same thing to ramen noodles (we love misnomers) because many food producers are now calling any and all instant noodles, ramen.

What is Ramen

Ramen is specific type of noodle and in Japan it is paired with regional soup stocks (shoyu, shio, to miso). Ramen does not mean “instant noodles” like every “influencer” thinks it does.

Types of Instant Ramen Noodles

  • Deep-fried noodles (nothing reminds you that you’re poor, other than eating deep-fried noodles).
  • Non-fried noodles (my favorite type)

Fresh Ramen Noodle Ingredients

  • Wheat flour
  • Water
  • Kansui
  • Salt

Without Some Form of Kansui, You Don’t Have Ramen

“According to Japanese food industrial standards Ramen – both in name and substance – belongs to a class of ‘Chinese noodles’ (中華麺) which by definition has to contain Kansui. 

– Yamato Noodle “Ramenology 101: Types of Ramen noodles (by ingredients, shape, hydration)

Kansui is an alkaline (mineral) water which typically contains:

  • Sodium carbonate (Na2CO3)
  • Usually potassium carbonate (К2СО3)

Additional Ingredients Found in Some Instant Noodles/Ramen

  • Oil – Palm oil is a commonly used for fried noodles in the dehydration process for instant noodles.
  • Starches – Potato starches are commonly added to enhance gelling properties.
  • Polyphosphates – is added to improve starch gelatinization during cooking (rehydration).
  • Hydrocolloids – Guar gum are widely used to enhance water binding capacity during rehydration and shorten cooking time.

If you want to know which each one of these ingredients do, you will have to go to Wikipedia.org for their in-depth article.

“Ramen noodles do not contain eggs by default”

– Yamato Noodle “Ramenology 101: Types of Ramen noodles (by ingredients, shape, hydration)

Sidenote: I have seen numerous home chefs bake baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to increase the PH to produce a kansui substitute, and I recommend this article by the NY Times and one of my favorite YouTubers, French dude, Alex.

Photo Description: dark grey background with white type in Trade Gothic, the copy says "ARE YOU EATING REAL RAMEN NOODLES. Real ramen has some form of kansui which is sodium carbonate, usually potassium carbonate, and sometimes a bit of phosphoric acid."
Many American food producers will sell any instant noodle marketed as “ramen” cuz cultural appropriation.

How Instant Ramen Brands Compare

Maruchan Ramen NoodlesEnriched wheat flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced Iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), vegetable oil (contains one or more of the following: canola, cottonseed, palm), preserved by tbhq, salt, potassium carbonate, soy sauce (water, wheat, soybeans, salt), sodium phosphate, sodium carbonate, turmeric. 
Myojo Chukazanmai Wheat flour, starch (potato and tapioca), salt, palm oil, sodium carbonate, sodium metaphosphate, potassium carbonate, alginic acid, sodium tripolyphosphate and guar gum.
Sapporo Momosan Noodles Wheat flour, modified starch (potato, tapioca), salt, sodium carbonate, sodium tripolyphosphate, mono-and-diglycerides, sodium pyrophosphate, tocopherols.
Sapporo Noodles Wheat flour, modified starch (potato, tapioca), salt, sodium carbonate, sodium tripolyphosphate, mono-and-diglycerides, sodium pyrophosphate, tocopherols.
Nissin Raoh Noodles Wheat flour, modified food starch, salt , calcium carbonate, potassium carbonate, sodium carbonate, and sodium tripolyphosphate (*not sure if this is all the ingredients just for the noodles).
Nissin Top Ramen Noodles Enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), salt, potassium carbonate, sodium alginate, sodium carbonate, and sodium tripolyphosphate (*not sure if this is all the ingredients just for the noodles).
*Sun Noodles Wheat flour, water, vital wheat gluten, salt, sodium carbonate, potassium carbonate, riboflavin (vitamin B2).
*not really an instant ramen product, but it is added for comparison sake.

Instant Noodles Versus Instant Ramen

If you are a gun guy/girl, you know the difference between a clip and a magazine, which to the vast majority of people just don’t care. Although that same attitude is the same for instant noodles and ramen, there is a clear difference between the two, but a lot will continue to blur the two together, yet they won’t call dry pasta instant ramen because that’s European silly.

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[…] If you need help determining if One Culture foods is actually selling you a ramen noodle, check my last post “Are You Eating Real Ramen Noodles.“ […]

[…] is why I have to put them on blast. So even though these are all instant noodles listed below, they are not all “ramen noodles.” Although, if you know people who think it’s the same, they’re the ones who drop the […]

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