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Mar 21, 2012 07:32 AM

Is Ramen MSG-free?

Hi all,

I'm curious to try all the new ramen places opening up around here, but I can't eat MSG. Does ramen usually use MSG? I unfortunately have to abstain from pho, and I'm hoping I won't have to do the same for ramen. Thanks!

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  1. Yes ramen usually has MSG, either added, from a base, or coming from the seaweed used to make the broth (if using a traditional recipe). Almost all soups and many foods at restaurants have some form of MSG in them.

    1 Reply
    1. re: barryg

      Right. It absolutely has MSG in it, although likely naturally occurring rather than as an additive. It's the same chemical either way. MSG was first identified by purifying kombu broth, an ingredient fundamental in Japanese cuisine. Once the salt was removed, and then the mannitol (it's a sugar alcohol that occurs in large quantities in the kombu seaweed) most of what's left is MSG.

      Of course, all Western broths and stocks also contain naturally-occurring MSG.

      1. Most Ramen places do have MSG. There are few do not.