We’re getting into some colder weather in most parts of the country, which means many people are thinking about hearty foods. Maybe you’re mulling over making a pot of your famous chili or considering trying out a new stew or soup recipe you found online. You need something that will stave off the chill and satisfy you as you go about your day.
However, you might also want something that doesn’t require much prep time. Maybe you’re having a super busy day, and you want a lunch or dinner option that can be ready within minutes. If so, then perhaps you’re scouring your pantry for ramen noodles.
Ramen is a wonderful, indulgent food item, and you should always have some on hand. Here’s what you should look for when ramen noodle shopping.
If you crave authentic Ramen noodles, then you probably have a specific taste in mind. You don’t want anything watered-down or tasteless. The ideal bowl of ramen noodles:
- Is flavorful
- Has delicate but substantial noodles
- Has rich, complex broth
Within a spoonful or two, you should know if the instant ramen noodle you’re sampling is a worthy meal or a pale imitation. It’s true that instant ramen amounts to little more than dry noodles and a flavor packet to which you add water. Still, some taste just like they come from a chef’s kitchen and others simply don’t measure up.
Many Different Flavors
You also will probably want to look for a company that offers many different flavors. Maybe you particularly like:
Some companies offer more exotic flavors, such as Bone Broth Tonkatsu, Spicy Sesame, or Vegetable Medley. You might also have to look at the ingredients if you have dietary requirements. The best companies make vegetarian options.
Generally speaking, instant ramen noodles don’t cost all that much, but some are more affordable than others. If you’re dealing with underemployment or your job laid you off because of the pandemic, then those pennies matter.
You can compare instant ramen noodle prices and see if there’s one that tastes good yet also works for you from a monetary standpoint. You might also save a little money if you buy in bulk.
You can purchase larger quantities at one time and stock your pantry. That way, you’ll have this option all fall and winter long.
Spicy or Mild
Some people also look for instant ramen possibilities that just about burn their tongues off. This is an acquired taste, of course. If you get heartburn or you prefer more mild options, there is nothing wrong with that.
Luckily, many companies make options for all the spice cravers. You can look for ones that have descriptions like “Two-Times Spicy” or “Double Hot.”
Proceed with caution if you get one of the Thai or Japanese ones, though. The foreign ones pack a punch that you won’t get from most American versions. These imports will clear up your sinuses and might teach you a painful lesson.
Some people also like the instant ramen packaging as much as they do the product itself. They might look for colorful options with funny cartoon characters on them, or flames to indicate how hot they are.
Some of the packages have anime or Manga-style characters from popular Japanese TV shows. Others have pop music icons. Some people don’t get the ramen intending to eat it at all. Instead, they just want to collect it.
Probably, if you’re a ramen lover, then the best thing for you to do is to get one of the big sample packages that have several options in them. You might also just get a few of the single ones that are a particular flavor.
Ramen is a veritable cultural phenomenon in Japan. You can often find lunch counters where you can get an enormous bowl for the equivalent of five or six American dollars. It’s difficult to duplicate the complexity and richness of the authentic Japanese bone broth with an instant version, but some companies attempt it valiantly.
Remember that you can also use instant ramen as a base and add to a bowl you make. You might liven it up with some fresh veggies, diced chicken breast, etc. if you’re extra hungry and want something more substantial.
You won’t find a better meal on a cold day than some piping-hot ramen. This is a staple that you should surely have in your kitchen.