Food

5 Useful to Crazy Things People Google About Ramen Such as “Does It Contain Beaver Juice?”

I am the type that heads right to the comments section on Instagram for the comments, so it should be no surprise that I am also amused by these legit, mundane, to silly Googled topics about instant ramen.

I wonder how comfortable you would be if your significant other or your next date read your browsing history. You might or might not be cool with it, but if you are the one searching for “stepsister/stepmom stuck” to “are ramen noodles have beaver juice in it?,” let me know how that goes. Also, it is “DO ramen noodles have beaver juice in it?”

Yea, I know my grammar may be off sometimes (or a lot), but the questions below are verbatim via “the Google.” It is not my doing this time around.

  1. “Are ramen noodles have beaver juice in it?”
  2. “How long would it take to eat at every ramen shop in Japan?”
  3. Is Ramen chili noodles discontinued?
  4. What brand of ramen is easiest to digest?
  5. Why arent anyone selling lime ramen noodle anymore?

The first thing I wanted to know about was “beaver juice,” so let’s get down to it (why does that sound like some salad tossing is about to go down).

Photo Description: a tray/dish with dried beaver sacs or aka Castoreum Canadense. I have a pic here because people have Googled "Are ramen noodles have beaver juice in it?"
Early pioneers had to be the first to lick and taste the sac of beaver anus. Something the younger generation never had to do (they always have it easier). Image courtesy of H. Zell

1. “Are ramen noodles have beaver juice in it?”

Castoreum aka beaver juice is considered a “natural flavor”by the FDA. Natural maybe because it comes from the castor sacs of mature (male/female) beavers. So unless you are eating fruity or vanilla like ramen, I have not found any use of it in any instant Japanese ramen (not to mention, in general, it is not widely used).

From my search, you should also be searching “beaver butt juice” to “beaver anal gland.” Except it being a gland is a misnomer. Although, regardless if it is a gland, or an exudate (a fluid emitted through pores or a wound), it is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA. I mean it has been used since the early 1900’s, and I have not seen any half-beaver, half-man people resulting from its use.

I know, you want to know what does beaver juice taste like. Well, I know it’s used in perfume as a fixative and to aid in the scent of a cigarette, but what about food?! It took me a while to figure this one out, but it is supposed to taste most commonly like vanilla which is why it is compared to synthetic vanilla extract aka vanillin.

Photo Description: a ramen ya in Kyoto, Japan. I sat at the counter, and you can see the kitchen, rice cookers, and chopsticks at the ramen bar.
This pic is of a random ramen shop specializing in shio (salt) ramen in Kyoto that I hit up.

2. “How long would it take to eat at every ramen shop in Japan?”

If you were to trust that the estimate for the number of ramen shops in Japan to be about 10,000 (BTW, in comparison, there are 15k Starbucks in the United States). It would take roughly three years if you were to hit up 333 of them each year, which does not consider distance.

There are a crap ton of ramen shops in Japan, and there are almost as many ramen shops in Japan as Starbucks in the United States. Now, if you are an American, you know that means there are a ton of ramen shops because, in the U.S., it is as if there are Starbucks within a Starbucks while located next to a Starbucks.

3. “Is Ramen chili noodles discontinued?”

At the time of this post, Maruchan still touts, “We’ve added a spicy kick to our great-tasting ramen. If you think you can handle this heat, then stay in the kitchen and chow down” on their website.

If you are wondering if Maruchan Ramen Chili is discontinued, you would be happy to know that it is not. The product is not only available and listed on multiple e-commerce sites, but ramen chili is also listed on the Maruchan website.

Photo Description: Sun Noodles I the best brand of ramen that is easiest to digest. It is the most natural and fresh product you will find in the U.S.
These are the baller level ramen noodles because they are not deep-fried or air-dried.

4. “What brand of ramen is easiest to digest?”

Sun Noodles is the best ramen brand on a number of levels. The ingredients just for their ramen is the best you can buy “Wheat Flour, Water, Vital Wheat Gluten, Salt, Sodium Carbonate, Potassium Carbonate, Riboflavin (vitamin B2).”

After researching this topic, it appears that “tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ)” is the supposed villain/culprit that makes it difficult to digest processed noodles (I said noodles, not just ramen). Now, this is what is being touted online that TBHQ is not approved in Japan although it is widely used in the US. Yet, after researching, it is used in Maruchan products. So it really does not matter if it is approved in Japan.

  • Maruchan chicken flavor ingredients: “Ramen Noodle Ingredients: Enriched 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, Contains Less Than 1% Of: Salt, Soy Sauce (water, Wheat, Soybeans, Salt), Potassium Carbonate, Sodium (mono, Hexameta, And/or Tripoly) Phosphate, Sodium Carbonate, Turmeric. Soup Base Ingredients: Salt, Sugar, Monosodium Glutamate, Maltodextrin, Contains Less Than 1% Of: Spices (celery Seed), Hydrolyzed Corn, Wheat And Soy Protein, Turmeric, Lactose, Natural Flavors, Dehydrated Vegetables (chive, Garlic, Onion), Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate, Vegetable Oil (palm), Yeast Extract, Powdered Cooked Chicken.”
  • Is TBHQ bad for you? According to the National Library of Medicine, “a number of studies have shown that chronic exposure to tBHQ may induce carcinogenicity. However, the precise mechanisms of tBHQ carcinogenicity are not well understood.” On the other hand, the Canadian McGill Office for Science and Society says that they are not deadly. On top of those two resources, the 3rd resource, FoodInsight.org has the best stance which is moderation (along with the pros and cons of TBHQ).
  • How widely used is TBHQ: From a Yahoo article, they claim 1,250+ food products utilize TBHQ, such as Pop-Tarts (via poptarts.com), Rice Krispies Treats (via ricekrispies.com), Cheez-Its (via the Cheez-it website), to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (via Snopes). Also, Maruchans largest competitor, Nissin also utilizes TBHQ in their Cup’o’Noodles product.
  • About the ingredients list: I find it amusing that producers have the added bit next to TBHQ listing of “TBHQ for freshness.”

It was not too hard to find instant ramen that did not contain TBHQ, and here are a few Japanese producers that you will want to keep an eye out for:

  1. Sun Noodles: when it comes to ramen noodles (take your pick of not only ramen, but also saimin to soba), the king of “craft” ramen noodles and instant noodles, Sun is the brand that the vast majority of home cooks to chefs turn to.
  2. Sanyo Foods: a very big and popular brand up there with Nissin and Maruchan, but they do not use TBHQ in their popular Momosan Tokyo Chicken ramen product. Except the more mainstream (Sapporo Ichiban) products like the aforementioned brands, you will find TBHQ in their noodles too.
  3. Myojo: “Premium Seafood Tonkotsu Ramen” to their signature and most popular product, their “Signature Tonkotsu Ramen.”
Photo Description: the Maruchan instant ramen noodle soup packaging. The product is their "Lime Chili Shrimp flavor."
Maruchan, you pinche Japonés, you just need to come out and say “camarones, limon, and habernero.”

5. “Why aren’t anyone selling lime ramen noodle anymore?”

“Lime chili (habanero) shrimp” is sold by the Maruchan brand.

Once again, Maruchan offers this product, and from their website, the product is still listed on their website. So I do not know how people think it may be discontinued although due to the pandemic, a lot of instant ramen products have been in short supply.

There Are More Questions Just Waiting for an Answer, but That Will Have to Wait for Another Day

The internet does not rest, and there were a number of other questions such as the materials used in ramen cups to how many miles of instant noodles are made per day. Except if you want more, you will want to read more about beaver anus. This article by Sarah Lohman on Mental Floss is the only article I feel is worth the read.

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