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Korean ramen?

Is it serious ramen or just cup of soup junk?

A restaurant nearish me is selling it I I was wondering what it was all about. Googling it just seems like it is cup o ramen noodles since almost every single recipe is like that.

This looked good though and didn't start from a styrofoam cup

Kimchee ramen

This has lots of fresh ingredients but that powdered soup packet is part of it

What makes ramen Korean?

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  1. I don't know exactly, but the Korean place I like to go for lunch has a couple ramen dishes on the menu. There is the basic, which is a lot like a spicy version of the cup o style with some vegetables and an egg mixed in. The other styles add on either sliced rice cake or beef dumplings to the basic version. Maybe not like traditional Japanese (which I've never had) but SO good in a starch comfort food kind of way.

    1 Reply
    1. re: corneygirl

      I've been buying the Korean ramen in the freezer section from my local Korean market for awhile, and it's delicious. I usually throw in some onions and cabbage or kimchi to make a meal, but my son loves it plain.. It's soup junk, but better, somehow.

    2. Note that I haven't been to Korea in a long time. The only Korean ramen I'm aware of is instant. The brand that seemed most popular with Korean-Americans was Noguri. It is hot and spicy and loaded with salt and MSG. I never really liked the instant stuff (but I have a soft spot in my heart for Sapporo Ichiban original).

      If a restaurant near you is selling it (and it is not instant), I'm wondering if they're selling jjambbong which is a Korean-Chinese hybrid noodle soup. It is one of my favorite dishes. Loaded with seafood and veggies, it's perfect on a cold damp day for lifting my mood.


      20 Replies
      1. re: Miss Needle

        I would doubt this joint is even run by Koreans. Given that it seems that Korean ramen is from a package with some toppings, I'm guesing it is instant. jjambbong sounds great. I'll keep an eye on it if I get near a real Korean restaurant.

        1. re: rworange

          Jampong is usually found in Korean-owned chinese restaurants. And where there's Jampong, there is usually the other korean/chinese favorite, Jajangmyun.

          We have a lot of Korean-owned teriyaki shops here in Seattle, and the 'ramen' they serve is definitely of the instant variety along with some fresh additions, i.e., kimchi, broccoli, egg.

          I'm with Miss Needle in that Neoguri is my favorite 'Korean ramyun'. Thicker noodles than your standard instant ramen and mighty tasty!

          As for Sapparo Ichiban, my brother didn't believe me when I told him it was far superior to the 5/$1 nissin oodlles of noodles at the grocery store. We did a side by side comparison and now he knows the truth.

          1. re: soypower

            This is the only Korean restaurant in Antigua, GT. From all the Asian restaurants I've seen in GT, not one is Chinese-owned. There's a kind of Guatemalan-Asian cuisine that has its similarities to Chinese-American.

            Sushi has cream cheese in it ... a lot ... and meat. In fact the Korean joint has a California roll ... with a choice of beef, tuna, vegetables or cheese

            The theme seems to be in many restaurants ... hey, I like xxx cuisine, lets open a restuarant.

            This joint is probably catering to the many Americans studying at the many, many Spanish language schools here.

            So I wasn't dismissing the whole Chinese-Korean thing. If this was SF, I'd be looking into it closely. It is just that given the location, I don't have a lot of hope for authenticity ... but you never know. I asked about the ramen because I was wondering what I might expect and compare it to what is served there. .

            I still might stop by and ask about it. Guatemalan's are fairly serious about their soup, so it is possible that it starts with fresh broth ... remotely possible. They also love cup o noodles.

            Here's the menu, btw

            1. re: rworange

              Oh, I got my hopes up for you after seeing "cha chang" on the menu that you had a place that made some Korean-Chinese dishes from scratch. But after looking at the price, I think we're talking about instant noodles here with some beef or shrimp thrown in. I am not familiar with the currency, but a jjambong from scratch would probably be at least Q40 based on the other menu choices. And the cha chang may be the instant version as well. But you'll never know unless you try it (or at least ask).

              1. re: rworange

                I would definitely stop in and ask them about their menu. I know there is a large Korean population in South America, so maybe there is a significant one in Central America as well?

                Either way, I'd say forget the 'ramen' and go for the Sundubu (soft tofu soup).

          2. re: Miss Needle

            Say it isn't so Miss Needle! I just got into a long discussion about this with my friends and my beloved shin ramyun lost to neoguri!

            1. re: link_930

              Sorry link, but most folks I knew preferred Neoguri -- probably because the noodle was thicker as soypower said. But give me jjambhong any day!

              1. re: Miss Needle

                neoguri was always better for cooking and shin ramen was always better eaten raw.

                open bag, dump in packet, close bag, crush, shake, eat and repeat

                1. re: bitsubeats

                  Oh yeah. The thinner noodles are definitely better for eating raw. I didn't crush it like you did -- would just cut off pieces and dip and eat.

                  1. re: Miss Needle

                    yeah we would crush it lightly so we could eat huge pieces of the ramen. The leftover crumbs got thrown in the trash or shaken into the mouth

                  2. re: bitsubeats

                    Wow! I remember seeing my cousins do this and thinking they must have been raised by wolves. So it's really good? I may have to give it a try...

                    1. re: soypower

                      This is a delicious snack! So delicious, in fact, that there is now ramen that is MEANT to be eaten raw.

                      1. re: soypower

                        It's deep fried noodles dowsed in spicy flavored msg, what's not to like?

                        1. re: bitsubeats

                          Now you've got me thinking of double-frying the noodle cake and shaking the flavor packet over it since I don't really like the texture of the noodlecake as is. Too much crunchy, not enough crispy.

                          I think Shin would be perfect for this. Off to experiment!

                          1. re: soypower

                            My personal fave for crush-eating is Samyang Ramen...Shin is a little too hot for this type of consumption for me. :D

                        2. re: soypower

                          this seems scary... much crazier than dehydrated wine. you guys eat this when not 50 miles from a real stove??

                    2. re: link_930

                      Shin definitely deserves to be in the conversation for best ramyun. Neoguri has been around a lot longer, but Shin Ramyun was a revolution when it first came out. So spicy!

                      1. re: joonjoon

                        I actually don't find it spicy at all :[ My sister recommended Teumsae, but every time I go to the market, it's out of stock!

                        1. re: link_930

                          I guess you have a high spice tolerance! My uncle used to always jack up his Shin ramyun by adding extra chungyang gochu (spicy korean pepper) to it, rendering it completely inedible. :D By my general point was that when Shin first came out it was easily the spiciest ramyun available.

                          Teumsae is pretty spicy, and comes with an extra pepper packet...i don't remember it being significantly hotter than shin though, and I definitely liked the flavor less.

                          1. re: joonjoon

                            Hmm, I'll just have to try out one pack, then, thanks for the heads up. I do the same with my shin -- chungyang gochu garu and jalapenos if I have them. Never really spicy enough...

                  3. Nong Shim is a Korean company that makes instant ramen and udon in bowls and cups. The Shin Cup is a personal favorite as is anything they make with Kimchi. Readily available in the grocery stores I go to in MD and you can get it at Amazon. For instant ramen this stuff is hard to beat.

                    1. Serving instant noodles with garnishes is kind of a down home thing. It's what your mom might whip up for a quick dinner.

                      I think the confusion is using the term "ramen".

                      I prefer the typical Japanese/Chinese instant noodles over the Korean. I find the texture of the Korean instant noodles too soft and mushy.

                      1. In my experience, Korean ramen (served at restaurants) is usually store bought ramen packages with a few extras thrown in. Think of it like Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade Ramen. I don't really care for it, mostly because it's so easy to make the same thing at home: add some scallions, egg, maybe some other veggies or peppers, spam/hot dog, kimchi, etc.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: joonjoon

                          In a large Asian grocery you can find noodles (whether ramen, udon, etc) in several forms:
                          - the dry instant single serving packages
                          - dry, bulk (soba and udon often sold divided into 2 serving bundles)
                          - refrigerated
                          - frozen

                          Unless a restaurant claims to make their own noodles, I expect that they use one of these.

                          Some of the Korean brands appear to be lower cost copies of Japanese products; others clearly have been 'Koreanized' in one way or another, if only by inclusion of kimchee flavoring.

                        2. Wiki has an article on 'instant noodles worldwide'. The paragraph on South Korea says:

                          "In the 1960s, instant ramen was introduced to South Korea from Japan,[17] and its quick and easy preparation and cheap price made it quickly popular. In South Korea, instant noodles are more common than non-instant ramen noodles; the word ramyeon (라면), a cognate of the Japanese ramen, generally means the instant kind. Most South Korean food stalls make instant ramyeon and add toppings for their customers.

                          Regarding eating it 'raw' (quotes - most brands are fried at some point during manufacture)
                          "Thai noodles are seasoned with chicken stock before frying, giving them extra flavor, and they are sometimes consumed directly as a snack without further cooking."

                          1. Another thing I do is that I pronounce ramen as "ram yeon." I think it's so weird when people correct it the right way. Everyone says I'm saying it wrong, but that's how us Koreans say it :/

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: bitsubeats

                              My mom says 'La Myun'.. Which is almost indecipherable to the general public. :o)

                              1. re: soypower

                                Yup. That's how it was pronounced in my household growing up. When I speak with non-Koreans, I generally use the Anglicanized term as I know they'll probably "correct" me.

                              2. re: bitsubeats

                                Those people who try to correct you probably have never heard the Japanese pronunciation. I just listened to the clip on the Wiki ramen article. The initial 'r' sound more like an 'n' to me, though the Japanese phonology article says the Japanese 'r' is some where between an English 'd' and 'l'. Looks like the Korean 'r' is similar.

                                Is the Korean 'ram yeon' closer the the Chinese 'la myun' (or lo mein) or Japanese 'ramen'? Or are they all related?

                                1. re: paulj

                                  Myun, men, mein/mian are all different ways of pronouncing the same thing: noodles "麵".

                                  This is the lineage as far as I understand:

                                  Unknown Chinese Noodle dish (Possibly "La mian") -> Ramen -> Supermarket instant Ramen -> Korean Instant Ramyun.

                                  So if you think about it, Korean Ramyun is really a type of Japanese (instant) Ramen - and it would be right to correct you if you called regular supermarket ramen (Nissin, Top Ramen, Maruchan) Ramyun. Those are ramen, not ramyun.

                                  Insisting on calling anything other than the Korean stuff Ramyun would be like calling Kimchi Kimuchi.

                                  1. re: paulj

                                    l and r are not different letters in Japanese. kinda like Americans don't discriminate between voiced and unvoiced letters, where hindi do.

                                2. This Wiki article has a large list of different flavors of 'cup noodles' in different countries:


                                  and a popular brand of Korean instant noodles, Shin Ramyun

                                  1. There are so many variety of Korean ramen noodles.
                                    If you are interested in checking them out I would recommend.