Loved by many around the world, Korean Instant noodles, also called Ramyun, has become a popular household name. Ramyun is no longer just a budget friendly food, but a trendy, iconic and sometimes gourmet meal on the table; Instantly satisfying many hangry souls,
What is Ramyun
Ramyun is generally known as Korean Instant Noodles. Although it sounds similar to Japanese ramen, they are somewhat different. The Japanese ramen is known for their broth that’s been boiled for a prolonged time, then paired with fresh noodles. Whereas Korean ramyun represents variety of instant noodles. It can be somewhat confusing though since some Korean brands do use ramyun and ramen interchangeably.
Ramyun noodles, how are they made?
The ramyun noodles are typically wheat based, but now adays you can find them made with rice flour and other starches. The noodles are first steam cooked, then they are either air dried or fried before being packaged. Because the noodles are dry, they have a pretty good shelf life.
What’s inside the noodle package?
Inside each ramyun package you can find a block of dry noodles and a packet of seasoning. Some may come with additional packets filled with freeze-dried veggies, meat, kimchi or even oil. You can find the cooking instructions printed on back of each ramyun package. They are pretty useful since each brand has their own recipe. This is very helpful to read and follow since each brand makes their noodles quite differently.
Ramyun for the native Koreans
Koreans have always loved ramyun or ramyeon. You can say it’s like a soul food for many Koreans. You may have noticed that a lot of the Korean ramyun is spicy, savory with a numbing sensation. Perhaps this is why Korean ramyun is so satisfying though. You really end up forgetting about everything while eating the noodles!! To make things heat up even more, Koreans love paring ramyun with spicy kimchi! Oh la la!
Ramyun and Kdramas
Have you ever seen Korean actors/actresses slurping ramyun in Korean dramas? Most definitely we all have been there! There’s something about the slurping sound that makes you want to slurp ramyun too!! This may explain why when we binge watch, we crave Korean ramyun! They are so satisfying and addicting!!
The golden pot, is it worth it?
In my opinion, cooking ramyun in the golden pot is a must! For some odd reason, things just taste better in the golden pot!! Yes, it is aluminum base with gold color coating. However, it’s very light weight and functional. Ramyun literally cooks super-fast in there! Cleanup is easy too if you eat straight from the pot.
Remember, the more dents you have in the pot, the better it is. It shows more character, so don’t toss it out! And the lid has a function too. Hold the lid upside down and use it as a plate for your noodles! Ha!
Korean Ramyun, then and now:
There wasn’t a high demand for instant noodles in Korea since the handmade ones were still popular and affordable. People continued to consume fresh noodles from the street market instead of buying ramyun. It wasn’t until the early 1900 where instant noodles started booming and expanding.
In the beginning, ramyun was more popular among the college and singles who needed to survive, mostly the ones who had very low budget. This is not the same story now and time has definitely turned things around for Korean Instant noodles. Once regarded as a low budget meal, Ramyun is now accepted as a trendy and hip food and loved by many around the world!
What are some popular Ramyun Flavors?
You can find endless selection of Ramyun flavors ranging from seafood, chicken, kimchi, cheese, ttokbokki to name a few. Some are made for a specific diet, like: vegan, gluten free, dairy free etc. Here are some fun ramyun flavors out there:
- beef flavor
- chicken flavor
- seafood flavor
- cheese lovers
- fire noodles
- black bean sauce
Most popular Korean ramyun brands
- Samyang Foods
You can find ramyun in most Asian supermarkets. Prices can vary between brands but most of them are very affordable, ranging between $1.50~5.00 US dollars per pack.
List of the Best Korean Ramyun:
This is a list I put together as a reference only and can be subjective:
- Jin Ramen by Ottogi: Comes in Mild and Spicy flavor. This classic ramen is great for pairing with other ingredients, for example adding protein or kimchi. The noodle is perfect for adding into stews and tteokbokki as well. Ottogi brand is the maker of Jin Ramen. Also, one of my favorite Korean ramen! Plus, our name rhymes!
- Shin Ramen by Nongshim: Known for their thick chewy textured noodles and strong spicy flavored broth. I used to eat this in college all the time, ha! Be sure to try the Black Shin Ramyun as well!
- Samyang Ramyun: One of the oldest Korean ramyeon around. This broth has a unique flavor with hints of smokiness. I like pairing this ramyun with additional seafood toppings like shrimp, clams or mussels.
- Chappaghetti by Nongshim: Another popular instant noodle with sweet black bean paste sauce. This ramyun is enjoyed like a noodle pasta dish instead of a noodle soup. Chappahetii pairs well with pickled side dishes. Goes really well with sweet pickled Korean radish called Danmuji.
- Buldak-Bokkeum Myeon by Samyang: Comes in many flavors such as spicy, carbonara, curry, cheese and Jjajangmyeon. The spicy version is very very spicy! Be aware!
- Kokomen by Paldo: This ramyun has a clear broth with more of a chicken stock-based flavor. It does have a little spicy kick to it probably from the dry chili chunks.
- Neoguri by Nongshim: The noodles are very chewy and seems thicker than other ramyun. and the broth has a spicy seafood-based flavor.
- Tempura Udon by Nongshim: This has a mild flavored soup base, similar to Udon soup. My girls enjoy this noodle since it’s not spicy, but does have a bit of peppery spice.
Can I add more ingredients into Ramyun?
What’s great about instant noodles is that you can add and modify them to please your palette. You can add more veggies and proteins to make them unique and enjoyable while the noodle is cooking. Here are some options:
- frozen dumplings
- cylinder rice cake
- fish cakes
- bean sprouts
- hot peppers
- sesame seeds
- green onion
How do you cook ramyun?
The cooking instructions can be found in the back cover of each ramyun package. The cooking time will vary depending on the brand so be sure to read it before you cook! Here is a typical recipe for cooking a pack of instant ramyun.
- Prepare a packet or your favorite ramyun. Have a small pot and chopsticks ready.
- Add the recommended amount of water into a small pot. Bring water to boil.
- Add the noodles and soup base. Break the noodle in half if you want your noodles shorter. Once the noodles start to separate, use a chopstick to stir it around a few times. Do not close the lid!! It will overflow!!
- Keep boiling until the noodles are done. If you like your noodles more on the al dente, reduce the recommended cooking time.
- Consume straight from the pot or pour it into on a ramyun bowl. Serve hot with side dishes of choice.
Variations in cooking Korean Ramyun
Here are some different ways to cook Korean Ramyun to fit your taste bud:
- To modify the spice level or salt level, here’s my tip. Either add more water into your ramen then the recommenced amount. Or add less soup base powder then the recommended amount.
- You can also add more veggies and protein to enhance the overall flavors.
- Add an egg into the hot broth towards the end of the cooking time to neutralize the spiciness.
Q & A
Each brand offers different noodle texture. Some brands have curly thick noodles, while others are quite thin. Some tend to be chewy and bouncy while others are soft and smooth. Most ramyun is made from wheat flour, but there are some made from rice flour, bean starch etc. Just make sure you read the label carefully.
Each brand has a different broth flavor profile. You can try each brand to figure out which one fits your taste. Some brands use chicken broth base, beef broth base, pork broth base and even seafood broth base. Personally, I like the chicken and beef base broth the best.
Most of the Korean instant Ramen noodles are spicy in my opinion. If you are eating Korean ramen for the first time, I suggest trying a mild tasting ramen like Jin Ramen Mild. Most of the seasoning packets have the red pepper (gochugaru) mixed with sweet soy sauce flavor. If you are curious what the broth will taste like before cooking a ramyun, I suggest tasing a sample of the soup packet first.
This depends on the individual, but for me it can definitely fill me up as a meal. And if I add an egg or few pieces of meat into my ramyun, it can definitely pass as a full meal.
Often times, I see actors in the Korean dramas slurping the ramyun then drinking the broth straight from the bowl. I believe this is very common among the native Koreans. I tend to only slurp my noodles and leave the broth alone. There’s nothing wrong with that, but others may disagree with me. How do you like to eat your ramyun? Are you a noodle lover? Broth lover or both?
Delicious recipes that pair well with Ramyun
- Easy 15-Minute Fried Rice Recipe
- Folded Kimbap Recipe (Korean Tortilla Hack)
- Spicy Korean Rice Cake with Cabbage, Tteokbokki
Did you enjoy this article?
If you ever visit Korea, be sure to check out Korean Markets like Lotte Mart. You will be shocked from the variety of ramyun flavors available!! Not comparable from the ones we see in the States. These tasty noodles are sure to please many taste buds!
Would you try Korean instant noodles?
Loved by many around the world, Ramyun has become the next all-in-one meal kit!! Perfect for any place, any time! Requiring only hot water and 3-5 mins of your waiting time, a hot steamy meal awaits.
The future looks positive for Korean Ramyun in my opinion. I foresee that Ramyun will continue to be a strong player in the global market for many years to come. As long as the Korean brands continue to improve and develop new flavors.