The quest for the best ramen noodles

Your stomach and your wallet will thank you

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The classic Cup Noodles — the ones sold in every grocery store and gas station — aren’t always the healthiest option.

Sadie Goodman | Cavalier Daily

Cup Noodles are a savior of college students everywhere. The warm, delicious and somewhat filling meal is easy to make and easy on the wallet. But the classic Cup Noodles — the ones sold in every grocery store and gas station — isn’t always the healthiest option. So, I wanted to explore the world of ramen noodles beyond the styrofoam cup. I found four different types of chicken ramen noodle soup and set up a comparison on five different fronts: taste, price, cooking time, sodium content and calorie count. 

First up — Dr. McDougall’s vegan ramen with chicken flavor. Found at Whole Foods, this soup is adequate, definitely nothing special. It’s relatively easy to cook, but the results aren’t astonishing. The best part of this soup is the fact that it's vegan. The flavor isn’t great, and I usually end up adding salt or pepper to enhance the taste. 

Taste: 1/5

Price: $2.29

Cooking time: Two minutes and 45 seconds

Sodium Content: 580 mg

Calorie Count: 180

Next is the classic Nissin Cup Noodles in the chicken flavor. This soup that I picked up from the CVS and boasts a whopping 1070 mg of sodium, which is 45 percent of your daily value! While this soup is delicious, it could cause problems for those allergic to shellfish and other fish products — weird for a chicken soup. By far the least healthy soup of the bunch, it has 100 calories more than the next-highest calorie soup and an incredible amount of sodium. This soup tastes good and doesn’t require a microwave, which is a perk, but it’s distinctive taste is far from natural or nutritious. This soup is a good cheap option and a good meal in a pinch, but it usually leaves you feeling overly salted and not quite satisfied. 

Taste: 2/4

Price: $1.19 (Winner!)

Cooking time: No microwave needed

Sodium Content: 1070 mg

Calorie Count: 290 

Dr. McDougall also has a gluten free option with his Rice Ramen in the sesame chicken flavor. Its sodium count is the lowest of the bunch. I cooked these noodles in the microwave for two minutes and 30 seconds as opposed to the suggested one minute and 45 seconds because the noodles were still stiff. I let them rest covered for five minutes in order to cool down and to allow the noodles to absorb the flavor from the seasoning packet. After the five minutes the noodles were soft and the broth was full of flavor. I was happily surprised with these noodles, they had a lot of flavor but weren’t overly salty. This healthy option was a great surprise. 

Taste: 3/4

Price: $2 

Cooking time: 2:30 (Winner!)

Sodium Content: 560 mg (Winner!)

Calorie Count: 140 (Winner!)

Mike’s Mighty Good craft ramen with chicken flavor was also a Whole Foods find. This soup has the best flavor of the bunch. It comes with a flavor packet and a packet of oil to add a little extra flavor and depth to the cup of noodles. This soup takes an extra few seconds to cook but it pays off. The flavor is natural and rich, and the noodles have a great texture. It doesn’t leave you feeling like you downed a bucket of saltwater. 

Taste: 4/4

Price: $2.49

Cooking time: 3:00 

Sodium Content: 740 mg

Calorie Count: 190

Though Mike’s Mighty Good chicken ramen had the best flavor, I’d say the real winner is Dr. McDougall’s gluten free Rice Ramen in the sesame chicken flavor because of its low sodium content, calorie count and cooking time. While cup noodles are delicious for a quick microwave meal, nothing beats the real thing — Urban Bowl on the Downtown Mall has many delicious combinations of Pho and rice bowls and is perfect for a quick study break.

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