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A simple guide to instant Korean noodles

With multiple instant noodles to choose from, here are some of my favorites

One of my favorite quick meals to eat and something that I crave every so often is instant Korean ramyun (라면) — sometimes known as ramyun. Although it might not be the healthiest option, there is something so comforting about eating a bowl of hot soup and noodles. Not only are there a variety of ramyuns to choose from at very low costs, but there are also different toppings you can add to spice it up and take the flavor up to the next level. 

In South Korea, you can find instant ramyun in every convenience and grocery store. There are also some restaurants that specialize in making instant ramyun for a cheap price. In America, you can most likely find a bigger variety of instant ramyun on Amazon or a Korean grocery store like H Mart — American grocery and convenience stores tend to only have one brand. 

My go-to ramyun is Shin Ramyun by the brand Nongshim. This classic, spicy Korean staple reminds me of home because my family and I would eat it every Sunday morning for breakfast. The most simple way to eat it is by cracking an egg when the ramyun is almost done to create a poached egg effect and topping with chopped scallions. 

Although this combination is delicious on its own, another one of my favorite ways to eat Shin Ramyun is with any vegetables I have in my fridge, such as broccoli, mushrooms and cabbage. If I want to make this a five-star meal, I’ll add a combination of a protein — most likely shrimp, dumplings and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese on top.

On Shin Ramyun’s website, they list out a variety of recipes you can make with Shin Ramyun, including the Mushroom Garden, Ramyun Salad and Asian Pancake. For these recipes, you’ll need additional ingredients, such as vegetables, eggs and honey, but a lot of them can be found in your local grocery store. Furthermore, the recipes are not only simple and easy to make, but they are also creative and will for sure impress yourself, your friends and your family. 

Another favorite instant ramyun of mine is a little different from a traditional bowl, as it has no soup. Instead, the water is drained and the noodles are stir fried with the spicy ramyun sauce that is included in the ramyun packet. If you enjoy and can handle spicy food, try the Samyang Carbonara Hot Chicken Ramyun. Cheesy but super spicy, this ramyun is a spin-off of the Samyang Buldak (불닭) ramyun — buldak in Korean means “fire chicken.” My favorite way to eat these noodles is with chicken, a boiled egg and some mozzarella cheese on top to help with the spiciness. 

Samyang also sells different variations of the Buldak ramyun, such as the curry, kimchi and tomato pasta flavors. If the carbonara isn’t in stores, I always go for the curry flavor next. I find that these noodles are easier to find at a Korean grocery store — rather than an American one — and on Amazon. If you love spicy food, Samyang sells separate bottles of the spicy buldak sauce so you can add it onto anything. 

Finally, if I want something a little bit more healthy, but still quick and easy, I recommend Soon Noodle Soup. Also by Nongshim, this instant noodle soup is perfect for vegans and anyone who has a low spice tolerance. Similar to Shin Ramyun, I love to add more veggies and an egg to elevate the bowl and flavors, but toppings are totally optional and customizable. 

There are a lot more different types of ramyun, and probably more in the making, but Shin Ramyun, Samyang Carbonara Hot Chicken Ramyun and Soon Noodle Soup are my three favorites. Delicious but quick to make, ramyun is a good option when you don’t have enough time to make a meal in between classes or if you feel too lazy to cook dinner at night. 

Grace Park is a Food Writer for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at life@cavalierdaily.com

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