Instant noodles are soaked in more than hot water and spices. They’re also infused with historic and cultural significance. Momofuku Ando invented instant noodles around 1958, as an invention of the postwar era to combat world hunger. And from then on, the noodles’ popularity has blossomed into a huge business that has inspired museums, poetry and prison bartering systems. They’re also viewed as a inexpensive food, offered as a means to ease the future food shortages, and are used as a background for experimentation in the kitchen, making them the perfect choice for the current time. It’s not even the reality that a good cup of quick noodles can be comforting and refreshing to drink warm, carby tasty, and salty.
It’s impossible to determine the most delicious instant noodles. There are thousands of different varieties as well as they are all delicious. World Instant Noodles Association counted 106.4 billion meals consumed around the world in the year 2019. We could not pick only one kind of noodle. We decided to round some of our favorites from the most experienced experts for those times when you’re looking for a quick and tasty, cost-effective dish which you can prepare with your pantry’s ingredients, by adding water.
Because that the Wirecutter kitchen team was unable to gather to taste the noodles in person I invited seven authors, chefs bloggers, bloggers, ramen reviewers and noodle manufacturers to discuss their top noodle recipes with me. I then tasted all the noodles (11 in total) to check out how they compare. All were available online for ordering or delivery at the time we tasted them, however the stock has fluctuated. If you’re unable to locate the noodles online, you can check with local shops or specialty retailers and check if they offer delivery or pickup at the curb. If the noodles we recommend aren’t available, we hope that you will be able in order to buy any noodles you find or you’ll find appealing. If you’d like to share your personal favorites let us know in the comment section below.
1. NongShim Shin black Noodle soup ($55 per 18 packs, which is about $3 per package at the date of its publication)
Like many noodle manufacturers The the most popular Korean brand NongShim offers a variety of noodle kinds. Of the ones I tried one, I thought that the Spicy Pot-au-feu Flavor was the most delicious. It is a perfect blend of a spicy, complex broth, a substantial amount of dehydrated vegetables and delicious noodles. I could not stop eating them.
Shin Black noodles Shin Black noodles are a premium version of the popular Shin Ramyun noodles (which food blogger and author of the cookbook Maangchi recommends) They are also stocked with another “sul-long-tang” (ox bone) seasoning packet. The bone broth that is milky makes the soup of Shin Black creamier and less spicy as that of the traditional Ramyun. A number of Wirecutter staff members prefer the original, while some swear to Shin Black. Black noodles. People debate on Amazon review and Reddit threads on whether Black noodles are worth the rise (at at the moment of writing, Shin Black runs about $3 per box, whereas Shin Ramyun costs about $1).
The list of ingredients in Shin Black’s ingredients list Shin Black package includes beef extract and fat. It also states that the broth is like meat. It was among the few that had other flavors, such as mushrooms and garlic, shine in the salt. Chili in soup bases which is hot , but not overwhelming, makes the noodles into a bright red. The garlic is sliced into small pieces as well as large pieces of mushrooms and green onions retain their moisture well, and taste delicious, and add the perfect textural contrast to the noodles that are chewy. I was given these by lucky accident — they were probably as a substitute for an out of stock choice–and decided to try them regardless for a look at how compare with the previous. They’re ranked 3rd on the list of Los Angeles Times’ roundup, so I’m certainly not alone in thinking these noodles are fantastic.
Comparatively to that of NongShim Shin Bowl Noodle Soup In comparison, the Shin Black soup has a soup that is more savory and has thicker, more creamy noodles. Serious Eats discovered that the noodles in the bowl and packet options differ because of the cooking methods they use: The packet noodles could be more robust because they are able to be cooked for longer with boiling water but the bowl noodles are smaller because they’re cooked faster in the microwave. With a price of around $3 per package Shin Black noodles are priced at around $3. Shin Black noodles aren’t cheap but they’re more enjoyable tasty, delicious, and enjoyable to eat than the standard noodles.
2. Prima Taste Singapore Laksa La Mian ($22 for six packages, approximately $3.50 per package at the date of its publication)
It is said that the Ramen Rater recommended these noodles that have earned the first place on his annual lists of the top instant ramen in the last four years. He stated of Laksa Mian that the Laksa La Mian that “broth is an eye-catcher with a very delicious paste and a massive spoonful of coconut milk powder. It’s a feast for the eyes.” I’m with him. The coconut milk dehydrated has the perfect balance of sweetness and salt that blends into a creamy, silky soup. The burnt orange, chunky laksa is similar to dried shrimp and galangal and is mildly spicy. If you mix the two together, vibrant red flecks of glisten on the surface, bringing the image of Jupiter’s swirled surface. These noodles are larger thinner, more thick, and more straight than other noodles, and they’re air-dried rather than being fried. They have a mild flavor and are a great match with the spicy broth.
These are the priciest noodles I’ve ever have ever tried. They also tasted similar to a meal you’d take to restaurants. Thanks to the rich broth made of shrimp the meal is more filling than the standard chicken ramen it has over double the protein content per serving. The addition of lime and fresh herbs to give them some brightness could elevate them to a new level.
3. NongShim Chapagetti & Neoguri ($24 for eight packages, four per flavor around $3 per package at the date of publication)
Bong Joon Ho’s Oscar winning film Parasite created this ramen-and-rice dish, dubbed jjapaguri chapaguri, also known as ram-don, becoming more well-known (video) that it existed in Korea. It’s actually a blend of two distinct kinds of noodles that include one packet of Chapagetti and a variant of the black jajangmyeon noodle dish with bean sauce and one packet of Neoguri which is a spicy seafood stew. NongShim offers a combination of both flavors however, you can purchase them in individual packs, usually at a lower cost. Maangchi has recreated this famous recipe with butter-cooked ribeye steak , to make it in the way they did on the movie(video). It’s delicious, especially when you add the meat added.
In the Maangchi method of cooking the bouncy noodles are coated evenly with an incredibly smooth, viscous and spicy sauce. The sweetness of the paste of black beans (chunjang) that is in the Chapagetti sauce is balanced by the unique seafood-flavored Neoguri broth. I was not a fan of the spongy, brown pieces of the mix (presumably “meat flakes”) or the carrots, which were like they were bitter and overcooked. The massive pieces of Kombu (kelp) found in Neoguri noodles however, provided a layer of brininess, and also a bit of texture. In comparison to other noodles, they were both more dense and looked like udon, but were more chewy. I added some beef to the dish after tasting the noodles by themselves and the rich meat was a perfect match with the Jjapaguri. Maangchi’s method of preparation was the most difficult I’ve attempted (it involves setting some broth aside before adding the noodles back into the dish after draining) however, it took just 10 minutes to cook the dish.
4. Oh! The Ricey Instant Rice Noodles, Pho Bo (Beef Flavor) ($38 for 24 packages, approximately $1.60 per package at the date of publication)
The Cookbook’s author Andrea Nguyen enjoys these instant noodles of pho in the event that she isn’t able to cook a stew for all of hours. She states, “It’s got so much MSG, but in about 5 minutes, you’ve got a bowl of pho to slurp up.” I was enthralled by the appearance of these noodles, which come with thin slices that resemble “beef” made from wheat protein and a variety of dried scallions. The bowl of soup was delicious to drink and is an approximate representation of the pho. It was a more complete meal than simple noodles.
In the boiling, aromatic broth, I breathed in the scent of anise along with various other spices that warm you up. While the sensation was energizing but the Oh! ricey noodles smelled much better than what they tasted. This soup tasted salty and the broth was not very rich however a little sachet of oil was a welcome addition of fat. It was a bit thin, and once cooked, they didn’t last like more substantial noodles like ramen. When you take a huge mouthful, they feel like they’re spongy. It is possible to put boiling water in them instead of cooking them in an oven or in the microwave, making them even more easy to cook. With the addition of beef, lime sprouts, lime, and other herbs, you can easily make the dish.
5. Nissin Raoh Ramen Noodle Soup (Umami Tonkotsu Flavor) (about $2 for a package at the at the time of the publication)
In the event of a shortage, Simply Ramen author Amy Kimoto-Kahn makes this particular flavor of Nissin Raoh noodles, which are readily available on the internet or in retail shops. She says: “These come with a separate packet of seasoning and oil, which makes the broth appear more full. I like the tonkotsu because it is flavorful and not too salty and it even looks like homemade version with its creamy white hue; however, it lacks the volume. The noodles are elastic and firm.”
The soup is tangy it’s salty, tangy and slightly porky, but I’m with Kimoto Kahn on the fact that it lacks the richness you have from cooking bone broth for several hours. The seasoning has sesame seeds as well as a separate Sesame Oil packet. Their nuttiness is apparent. However, the soup tastes somewhat artificial, like it was flavoring with smoke from the liquid. The thin noodles, which are slippery, are the same width as bucatini and they are more chewy than other noodles I’ve tried (they aren’t fried). Dry scallions make the ramen taste more like a full meal.
6. NongShim Shin Bright ($18 per package, approximately $4.50 per package at the date of publication)
Tomonori Takahashi, founder of Jinya Ramen Bar restaurants says that the noodles are air dried, which means they’re a bit healthier than other prepared NongShim types, and claims that they “retain a nice flavor.” The broth that was used to make these noodles was vibrant and acidic. It was a tomato-like taste. It wasn’t as spicy than chicken ramen but it was also the most spicy dish I’ve had. (My nose was rumbling and my eyes were breaking up after just two bites.)
The noodles are quite springy thin, and slightly chewy, as with the majority of noodles I tried. The taste and texture of the vegetables of this dish were not as good although they did look pretty. Mushrooms were fleshy, but they were a bit tough. Small slivers of bok choy and carrots smelled musty and depleted of flavor, like they were consumed in an overflowing broth but they’re not a good contrast to the smoky broth. Scallions provide a touch of freshness.
7. Nissin Top Ramen Soup with Chicken flavor ($6.50 5 packages for or about $1.30 per package at the at the time of the publication)
Takahashi has also endorsed these traditional noodles, saying “What else is there to be stated? Momofuku and Ando introduced instant noodles to all. Nissin remains an extremely popular brand with it’s Cup Noodles brand is very well-known in the US as well as Japan. There are a variety of flavors available of Top Ramen], but the original is a classic.” Andrea Nguyen has mentioned these as well as that of the chicken maruchan ramen as well, stating, “These are mainstream supermarket staples that bring back memories of my college days and childhood in the days when there was an assortment of cases in the kitchen and I’d make some noodle-yolk soup to eat lunch.”
In the midst of the typical ramen noodles with chicken flavor They were the most delicious. The broth is oily, golden and a bit vegetal. The flavors are intense and invoke an bouillon cube rather than a delicate broth of chicken. It is salty but not as much as the other broths I’ve had. The noodles appear more springy and more curly than those made by Maruchan. They’re also delicious to take in.
8. NongShim Shin Bowl Gourmet Soup with Shin Bowl Hot ($29 each for twelve packages; or about $2.42 per package at the at the time of the publication)
Maangchi expressed his opinion about the bowlthat “I’m generally not one of those who enjoy instant ramyeon , but in an emergency situation , I would recommend Shin Ramyun. It’s the longest-running and most well-loved Ramyeon dish among Koreans. The noodles are chewy texture and the soup is spicy, delicious and delicious.” This is the sole choice to be served in the bowl of its own and can be cooked easily in the microwave, without needing to wash a pot or dishes. However, the noodles’ texture is quite different from the other NongShim kinds I’ve have tried. They’re thinner and have a wheatier taste when compared to other, more flexible Ramen noodles. The broth was like that of NongShim Light. NongShim Light variety, but less spicy. Certain mushroom flavors are evident. There are mushroom, herb and carrot flakes however, they’re not as large as the slices found in Shin Black, and they aren’t flavorful. The noodle was yeasty with an aftertaste that I did not like. Comparatively to other NongShim alternatives I’ve tried but these are one of the best priced.
9. Maruchan Ramen Soup (Creamy Chicken Flavor) (40C/for one container at the date of publication)
Mike Satinover, known on Reddit as /u/Ramen_Lord as well as moderator for the subreddit /r/ramen stated that he was a child of this Maruchan chicken flavor and “the creamy version was more pronounced, like, a boost. I don’t think that this flavor is actually good but I do like it to reminisce occasionally.” The delicious chicken flavor is more creamy than the normal chicken flavor from the same manufacturer. The broth appears to be to be fatty, however it’s less thick than the Nissin tonkotsu broth. Oil drops sparkle beautifully in the water. Its “creaminess” comes from a “powdered cream substitute.” A few green herbs are sprinkled throughout this soup but it’s just an aesthetic feature that has no flavor. The noodles are salty, but less than regular chicken flavour and it’s hard to not eat the noodles. I was left wanting an ice cold Coke to accompany the noodles.
10. Maruchan Ramen-Noodle Noodle Soup (Chicken Flavor) ($2.49 for 12 packages, approximately 21 cents per package at the date of this publication)
Tomonori Takahashi also mentioned this brand as one of the best. “A longstanding brand from Tokyo, they have been a staple since 1953 in Japan,” he stated. They are still delicious to eat, and they will be a hit for those who need an easy meal. However, the broth wasn’t as rich or the same flavor as Nissin Chicken Ramen’s and it was a bit bland. It tasted like dried, old-fashioned herbs. It’s also extremely salty. The noodles were not as elastic as those from Nissin ones, however they were nevertheless pleasantly elastic.
11. A Nissin Noodle Ramen Chicken ($19 5 packages for five, or about $3.80 per package at the date of the publication)
Mike Satinover also said he was a fan of this particular version of Nissin’s Chicken Ramen with eggs over the top. The retro-style packaging, maroon and orange, looks like Beyonce’s latest Ivy Park album. However, the noodles inside aren’t great–at least when compared to the other delicious ramens that I tried. Perhaps they could improve with an egg. There may be a nostalgic aspect for certain. However, the noodles are soggy and grainy. They also smell strongly of wheat. It’s a sluggish murky brown. There’s no oil that sparkles here.