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Are These "Top Ten Instant Ramen" Available in Boston?

opinionatedchef Sep 14, 2013 09:33 PM

And maybe more importantly, are these amongst your favs? How is the MSG factor in these?
I've never eaten instant ramen. Sapporo's curry pork ramen is a regular for us but we typically bring it home and add vegs and tofu to it. Yumewokatare is not likely to see us w/ the wait line set-up, and Uni is too late for us.The ramen delivery guy i read about was a So End option only iirc.

Instant does have its appeal occasionally. That's usually when we pull out from the freezer some Cheese Spinach boreks from Eastern Lamejun or meat empanadas from Tango, or a TrJ Chicken Tika Masala-- all of which can be ready in anywhere from a few minutes to 15, using microwave and or toaster oven. So Instant Ramen I am wondering about.

Caveat: I know man-made MSG draws all kinds of arguing, but i will say that I can feel it when I have consumed it and I'd rather not.I'm not very good at recognizing it in ingredient lists when it's called by another name, and i wonder if it is an 'always' ingredient in these instant ramen, just as it is in all prepared dashi (except the tea bag-like packets i buy.) TIA!


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  1. g
    grant.cook RE: opinionatedchef Sep 15, 2013 05:32 AM

    Get the frozen ramen at Ebisuya before heading down this path...

    1. g
      gimlis1mum RE: opinionatedchef Sep 15, 2013 07:22 AM

      Trying again since my first reply disappeared...

      I've seen some of those noodles at Market Basket, HK Market, and HMart, they all carry a lot of the NongShim brand stuff. But I agree with grant.cook, the frozen noodles at Ebisuya are much better.

      FWIW I tried a couple of fancy instant ramen from Whole Foods, no added msg. FOrget which flavors (miso? mushroom) but wan't crazy about them, I didn't think the broth had much flavor.

      Since you mention curry pork ramen..you can make a quick version of it at home with frozen noodles and Japanese curry roux. Ebisuya has some that does not have added MSG. The one I have is S&B brand, smallish red box with a drawing of a little boy on it. Use this recipe as a guideline and add whatever tofu & veggies you like along with the pork (but swap ramen noodles for udon noodles, if you want):

      4 Replies
      1. re: gimlis1mum
        jgg13 RE: gimlis1mum Sep 15, 2013 07:51 AM

        Submitted w/o comment:

        "no added msg"
        "I didn't think the broth had much flavor"

        1. re: jgg13
          Karl S RE: jgg13 Sep 15, 2013 03:50 PM

          I nominate this for entry into Chowhound Comments Hall of Fame.

          1. re: jgg13
            gimlis1mum RE: jgg13 Sep 15, 2013 05:52 PM

            lol!! I wasn't trying to avoid MSG, but I bought them because the package size is much smaller than the usual ramen bowl. Leftover instant ramen doesn't do much for me.

            1. re: gimlis1mum
              jgg13 RE: gimlis1mum Sep 15, 2013 06:19 PM

              Sorry, I just found the combo of phrases amusing considering the OPs aversion :)

        2. e
          Edokko RE: opinionatedchef Sep 15, 2013 08:17 AM

          Agreed that frozen ramen is MUCH better than any "dry" instant ramen. That said, for portability dry packs are very convenient. The best of the bunch, IMO, is Chuka Zanmai--the noodles have noticeably more "koshi" (a Japanese term for body or toothsomeness) than others. It comes in four different flavors: soy sauce (Canton), miso (Sichuan), clear/salt (Peking), and spicy. (There is also hiyashi chuka--cold noodles with sesame sauce.) Chuka Zanmai roughly translates to "Chinese Three Flavors" and hence the original Canton, Sichuan, and Peking types (the spicy came later). You can find it at Ebisuya, HMart, etc.

          1. t
            TheRamenRater RE: opinionatedchef Sep 15, 2013 11:19 AM

            You have NEVER had instant ramen before? That's pretty amazing; I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

            MSG is not in every instant noodle variant, but it is found often. It is used to produce umami for artifical flavors; where real chicken powder is omitted, a flavor based on vegetables and MSG can be made give the same satisfaction effect.

            If you've got any large Asian groceries in Boston, then you should be able to get pretty close to all of them. The top two are a bit tricky to find and a bit more pricy, but they can be found., however there's very little chance you'll be able to find #5; it's not distributed in the United States anymore.

            1. kobuta RE: opinionatedchef Sep 15, 2013 02:46 PM

              I grew up eating instant noodles, and yes I love them (but not the crappy 10 cents a pack Maruchan kind). They are probably still a weekly treat for me on a weekend.

              Since I normally shun Maruchan, I'd guess that most of the kinds here won't be too hard to find at a local market. I see Nongshim and the other brands at most decent sized Asian markets - not just HMart or any Korean Market. Heck I even see Nongshim bowls at my local Ocean State job lot.

              The Nongshim Black Premium supposedly has no MSG. They taste pretty good for instant noodles, but whether they are truly worth the premium price relative to other instant noodles, I don't know. Since I have no MSG aversion, I find them good but not tasting that much better than an MSG-laced pack. And their touted beef bits aren't all that exciting. I would love to try the Jinjja Jinjja kind, so I'll keep my eyes out for that the next time out.

              I enjoy the frozen ramen noodles too, but do note that those things are crazy sodium bombs - even more so than a pack of instant ramen. One pack of those noodles is often 60-70% of your daily sodium intake, and the shoyu flavored ones sometimes even in excess! Better noodle texture vs high blood pressure trade off.

              14 Replies
              1. re: kobuta
                TheRamenRater RE: kobuta Sep 15, 2013 03:05 PM

                Ah I getcha. Actually, that Maruchan Creamy Chicken is quite good - and as for frozens, I have quite a few reviews up of those. I really like the Sun Noodle, Yamachan and Myojo as well as the TableMark and Nissin ones. Kind of wish now I had categorized with frozen categories too... I haven't done a huge amount of those so might go through and do that.

                The Jinjja Jinjja is awesome stuff with some egg and cheese - really tasty...

                The MSG thing is kind of weird; some people are really anti MSG but doesn't bother me. People get all ansy on items that are preservatives or stabilizers - xanthan gum or maltodextrin... What's funny is if you want to get foods without any of that stuff, usually they're not extremely shelf stable and taste a bit off...

                1. re: kobuta
                  opinionatedchef RE: kobuta Sep 15, 2013 03:49 PM

                  kobuta, as usual, what valuable input. Thx so much.I'll stay away frm the sodium bombs thx to you.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef
                    kobuta RE: opinionatedchef Sep 15, 2013 04:39 PM

                    Moderation is key, so I hope I didn't dissuade you from giving them a try if you are interested (unless you have high-blood pressure concerns). The refrigerated kinds do offer better noodles, but just aren't healthier necessarily. Maybe Ramen's suggestion of potassium will be a good anti-dote. :)

                    Some of my favorite instant noodles aren't the ramen varieties, but the ones that have rice vermicelli or bean thread in soup. The wet udon is also a nice alternative for those who may not care for the fried ramen in the typical noodle packs.

                    1. re: kobuta
                      TheRamenRater RE: kobuta Sep 15, 2013 04:42 PM

                      KOKA, A-Sha and Wu-Mu make non-fried ones too that are really good.

                      1. re: TheRamenRater
                        opinionatedchef RE: TheRamenRater Sep 15, 2013 06:25 PM

                        boy, ramenrater (you could call your blog Ramen Radar!!)
                        you should be wicked proud of all your work; what an accomplishment! so glad you're chiming in here as well :-}

                        1. re: opinionatedchef
                          TheRamenRater RE: opinionatedchef Sep 15, 2013 06:53 PM

                          Hey thank you! Yeah I've been doing this for over ten years - had 60 or so reviews between 2002 and mid 2010 and everything else has happened since then. Usually a pack of noodles a day. Just keeps going :)

                          1. re: TheRamenRater
                            Prav RE: TheRamenRater Sep 17, 2013 08:28 PM

                            Seriously though, your ramen rating site is one of the best resources on the internet - no kidding. I have sent it around to dozens of people and we've all been amazed at how comprehensive it is, and how dedicated you are to the subject. So, really, truly, stick to rating ramen, because you're awesome at it. :)

                            1. re: Prav
                              TheRamenRater RE: Prav Sep 17, 2013 08:59 PM

                              Well thank you I appreciate it :)

                      2. re: kobuta
                        opinionatedchef RE: kobuta Sep 17, 2013 06:46 PM

                        sodium. whew. the top ones in Ramen Rater's list seem to have about 600-750+ mg salt content. that def seems major. maybe i'll just stick w/ my udon soups w/ my own non msg dashi , as the 'instant ramen' seem to take similar timing and i am def a lover of the chew of udon. but i'm sure to try a FEW samples of instant ramen so i can shed my instant ramen virginity. i mean, i don't think i can call myself a modern woman otherwise. right?!

                        1. re: opinionatedchef
                          jgg13 RE: opinionatedchef Sep 17, 2013 08:46 PM

                          Most people can have a boatload of sodium without deleterious effects.

                          1. re: jgg13
                            opinionatedchef RE: jgg13 Sep 18, 2013 04:09 PM

                            it will be very interesting to see all the new findings and subsequent pronouncements about Salt and how it affects us, as it seems to be getting a LOT of attention in medical research now.

                            1. re: opinionatedchef
                              jgg13 RE: opinionatedchef Sep 19, 2013 05:44 AM

                              Otoh all but the most drastic of potential headlines take 10-15 years to filter down to regular people, by which point the state of the art is in to something else. And those drastic headlines which do make it out sooner are so twisted around en route to your eyeballs that generally it does more harm thn good

                          2. re: opinionatedchef
                            dtremit RE: opinionatedchef Sep 22, 2013 03:54 PM

                            All of the sodium is in the soup packet -- so even if you don't like the broth (or the sodium in it), you may find the noodles themselves have a place in your kitchen. They have a certain appeal, though I'm not sure how much of it is nostalgic.

                            1. re: dtremit
                              TheRamenRater RE: dtremit Sep 22, 2013 04:04 PM

                              Actually, that's not accurate. The noodles contain sodium as well.

                    2. C. Hamster RE: opinionatedchef Sep 16, 2013 07:23 PM

                      we always have dry ramen on hand. I generally doctor up the broth and don't use all of the packet

                      Our favorite is a "spicy" ramen with a Ted package .

                      Kam Man has a whole aisle with maybe 50 kinds of dry ramen,

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: C. Hamster
                        opinionatedchef RE: C. Hamster Sep 16, 2013 09:15 PM

                        c, what's a ted pkg?

                        1. re: opinionatedchef
                          C. Hamster RE: opinionatedchef Sep 17, 2013 05:19 AM

                          Red pkg hahsha

                          I'll go look and see if I have some in the pantry

                          1. re: C. Hamster
                            opinionatedchef RE: C. Hamster Sep 17, 2013 06:26 PM

                            c, one of us must be from Mars. I have no idea what < Red pkg hahsha > or <Ted pkg> means. plse tell me in layperson's english!thx

                            1. re: opinionatedchef
                              C. Hamster RE: opinionatedchef Sep 18, 2013 04:33 PM

                              Let me have 30 cocktails first! :-)

                        2. re: C. Hamster
                          jgg13 RE: C. Hamster Sep 17, 2013 05:34 AM

                          Shin ramyun would be my guess

                          1. re: jgg13
                            C. Hamster RE: jgg13 Sep 17, 2013 07:54 AM

                            No its run of the mill Nissan but pretty tasty.

                            Again, I usually doctor it up often with kimchi.

                            1. re: C. Hamster
                              jgg13 RE: C. Hamster Sep 17, 2013 09:20 AM

                              Ah, I thought you couldn't remember. In the realm of dried ramen, that shin ramyun ain't bad. Although much like you I pretty much never have dried ramen as the manufacturer intended - at the very least ill add some egg and kick the heat up several notches

                        3. C. Hamster RE: opinionatedchef Sep 17, 2013 07:55 AM

                          There is a totally kick ass brand of dry ramen that my partner brings back from a Korean store in Jersey.

                          Ill try to score some more and post what brand it is.

                          1. trufflehound RE: opinionatedchef Oct 2, 2013 09:41 AM

                            MB has some Nongshim. I'm enjoying a kimchee soup as we speak.

                            1. c
                              chowda RE: opinionatedchef Oct 3, 2013 06:33 AM

                              I you're still interested, I was able to find #2, #3, #5 and #10 at HMart last week.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: chowda
                                opinionatedchef RE: chowda Oct 5, 2013 10:06 AM

                                well, you hot ticket you! i will pick some up on the next visit there. Thx so much :-}

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