Ramen geek reviews over 4,000 instant noodles

diary1002.jpg i-ramen.net is an amazingly meticulous web site that chronicles one man's daily consumption of different kinds of instant noodles since 1997. It appears from the way they're numbered that he is now on his 4,308th bowl. For each new type of instant noodle, he creates a thorough chart that includes a full ingredients list; comments on texture, flavor, quantity, and price; and a starred rating.

The first question that popped into my head while browsing his site was: I wonder how his health is! And the second: How many flavors of instant ramen can there possibly be? Looking back at his archives, though, I see that at the end of 1998, just over a year after starting this instant noodle journey, he had reached 227 flavors of ramen. His more recent reviews include flavors from Korea, Thailand, India, and beyond. Given his international reach and commitment to ramen, I suppose 4,000+ may be entirely possible. (I didn't read every single review, so I can't say for sure whether there are duplicates.)

The site is in Japanese, but he also makes YouTube videos of his more recent exploits, which you can see here.

(Thanks, Vijay Karunamurthy!)

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  1. Check the nutrition labels. Sometimes the milligrams of sodium hit four digits, meaning you get a gram or two in every serving. Some people take a whole week to ingest that much. A great time saver!

  2. Rats. I was hoping to find a good resource, but the site is entirely in Japanese. (Or perhaps some language whose alphabet is composed entirely of little rectangles.)

  3. If you check carefully you’ll notice he rates by stars, which is enough to tell if you should bother buying it or not. Anything lower than 3 stars- not worth it IMO. I have had instant ramen which was better than run of the mill, low quality, unexciting ramen. But it never came close to a great bowl of the hand made stuff.

    As for the sodium- everything in Japan is uber salty, not just the ramen.

    1. if you find japanese food salty, try food from osaka or kyoto. these regions have a very light taste and the people from there often complain about tokyo food being too salty.

  4. Wow, this is quite the obsession.

    hippy ramen tip: ditch the seasoning packet that comes with the noodles, and use a salt-free vegetable bouillon instead. Very tasty, no msg, and you can control how much sodium you get by adding soy sauce, rooster sauce etc.

  5. I tried a similar enterprise a couple years back, based on the impressively-sized noodle aisle at my local Asian superstore in Nottingham. I only did about 12 before succumbing to the unremitting stomach pains and thirst from the gluten and salt.

  6. I like MSG and salt thank you very much. Honestly, the need for people to make things insipid is beyond me.

  7. Great, now I want some Nong Shim Shin Ramyun. Where am I going to find some in the office at 10am?

    Incidentally, he gave them 2.5/5? Oh, they’re the Chinese ones, not the Korean ones I prefer. Wonder if there’s a difference.

  8. I had Korean-made ramyun flavoured like Vietnamese Pho. It was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike pho. but I liked it.

  9. I thought about trying this, I’ve gone crazy at my local Asian supermarket and bought about 40 different instant noodle packs a couple of times. I discovered that a handful of diced onion tossed in the bowel before cooking makes them all better.

  10. ooo Ramen-noodle! Having been a student and a poor ex-student and struggling interwebs entrepreneur for about most of my life I have had much time to develop the Ramen Experience. Here are some tips. Processed cheese triangles add dimension. Chopped garlic and/or onion add flavour. Egg-drop adds texture (and some nutrition) and makes them seem like they really are from the Far East. Sesame (roasted) oil and roasted sesame seeds adds awesomeness. A handful of frozen shrimp or crab stick adds something for the special occasion. Green onion works better than white. Peanut butter does something even the Chinese might not expect. A combination of all-of-the-above should be saved for that special moment. You know what, I’m gonna have to boil up some noodles! Ginger! Don’t be shy, add a bit of fresh ginger or a few drops of ginger oil.

  11. oh oh oh how could i forget – black pepper, even as a singular addition, is wonderful. If you’re in the mood for Thai then some fresh cilantro/coriander leaves, chili and coconut milk. Of course, if you are chosen for the space program you can narrow down. But while you’re still on the planet you have license to go a bit crazy.

  12. whilst i was in thailand eating pad thai i gave my leftovers to the large ants living near my bungalow.as this pad thai was made using instant noodles(low quality) there was a lot of leftovers.the ants cleaned the noodles,cut them to 1cm.size and took them down into their nest.the next morning the ants were busy dragging this non food back out of their nest,piling it up about 2 meters from their nest.confirming for me the nonviability of this alleged food.

  13. For those complaining about the sodium — you’re not supposed to drink all of the broth! It’s super salty so that when you pull the noodles out of the bowl, whatever liquid that sticks to the ramen has enough flavor.

  14. I’ve been reviewing instant noodles for almost 10 years now. My site is at http://ramenrater.wordpress.com – I do at least one review every other day if not every day. Also on FB and twitter. It’s a lot of fun – surprising to find how many people are really interested.

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