Ramen is currently served in Japanese restaurants around the globe and is fast becoming a very popular dish. You can now buy your favorite ramen noodles at your local supermarket or even online, as you will see later in the article.
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Ramen is one of the most delicious noodle soups, giving you everything that you need that will fill a hole in your belly at the end of a hard-working day. It is fairly quick to prepare and comes in plenty of sumptuous varieties.
You can get different varieties of ramen noodles, the main ones being soba, somen and udon. These different types of noodles are either soft and slurply or hard and crunchy.
But what are the best ramen noodles? What features do they need to have to make sure that they give you that distinctive ramen flavor?
How quickly can you rustle up a steaming bowl of ramen? How much would you be expected to pay for a pack of good-quality noodles?
Well, if you are a ravenous ramen maniac, then we can help you.
We have a list of some of the best noodles for ramen currently available on the market, along with a breakdown of the different types of ramen, what properties they have and whether they’ll be suited for your particular style of cooking.
First off, we’re going to have a glance at what ramen exactly is and whether you should go out and buy yourself some noodles.
Ramen - The Mystery Noodles
Ramen hails from the nation of Japan, a country that has a very rich history of distinctive cuisine, including world-famous sushi and tofu steak dishes. However, as a side note, ramen was actually developed from a Chinese wheat noodle.
This food is enjoyed in Japan because it is very cheap to purchase and has wonderful taste. It is also very versatile and can be used to prepare several dishes of different consistencies.
In short, ramen is a soup that contains noodles, with the main ingredients being noodles, with toppings such as egg or spinach, along with the broth itself.
Types Of Ramen
However, this next topic might lead to some confusion, as there are many different kinds of ramen noodles.
But don’t worry, we’ve got a list of them to help you decide which one you fancy having for your dinner:
- Shio ramen - this is simple ramen made with salted broth.
- Shoyu ramen - This is a bit more distinctive in flavor, with the main ingredient being soy sauce.
- Miso paste - this is a classic Japanese flavoring, made with fermented soybeans with salt and koji. It can also contain seaweed components.
- Tonkotsu ramen - this is ramen made with pork broth. I find tonkotsu broth delicious.
- Tsukemen ramen - this is ramen that comes with a separate broth dish that can be used for dipping the noodles
- Hiyashu Chuka - this is cold ramen
However, no matter how many diverse dishes you can get within the ramen world, there is one thing that binds them all together - the ramen noodles themselves.
Now that we’ve looked at the noble ramen dishes, we’ll take a look at what each ramen noodle does and what the properties of each one are.
Ramen Noodles - What Do They Do?
Your basic ramen noodle is something that is manufactured from wheat flour, salt and alkaline water, giving you a unique taste that is very different from just plain rice noodles.
The wheat flour that is used to make a ramen noodle contains an unusually high level of protein, around 13% of the total nutrient content.
This is a great food if you are a vegetarian who wants to build muscle or someone who works out and wants a simple protein dish at the end of every workout.
Kansui is one of the most important aspects of the ramen noodle and is what sets it apart from egg noodles or plain wheat noodles.
Kansui is water that is very high in alkaline or lye, with a unique blend of potassium carbonate and sodium carbonate.
Kansui is the main ingredient that is used when making ramen, without it then all you have are plain noodles. It has a very unique effect on the flavor of the noodles, as well as altering the texture and the color.
The alkaline salts that the kansui contains are absorbed by the noodles and this is what results in that distinctive ramen taste.
If you’ve ever eaten ramen, then you might have noticed that it has a very unique slippery texture. This is also because of the kansui. It will also give the noodles a much glossier appearance, as well as a slightly yellowish texture.
Different Breeds Of Ramen Noodle
Now that we’ve given you a brief overview of the unique composition of the ramen noodle, we’re going to have a look at how each of the ramen dishes can be prepared.
Everything from the soupy base to what other ingredients you put into the broth can affect the final product.
You can buy many different types of ramen noodles, each one having various textures and consistencies, from thin and stringy to thick and chewy. This will all depend on your personal preference when making your ramen dish.
One other thing to make sure that you pay attention to when preparing your ramen is the method by which it is prepared.
The types of ramen that you’ll get at the end entirely depend on the amount of water that is added to it during the kneading process. This will affect the final consistency and texture of your noodle.
There are 3 basic types of noodle categories, all of have very different consistencies and nutrient qualities:
- Low water ratio noodles - these noodles have a much higher water content, around 25-31% of liquid to the weight of the flour. They are very chewy and much tougher than other types of ramen noodles, although they actually have the thinnest shape.
- Medium water ratio noodles - these have much more water than the previous noodles, around 32 - 39% liquid. They are much softer than the low water ratio, having a softer consistency and a thicker shape.
- High water ratio noodles - these are extremely soft, having a stringy quality that will melt in your mouth as soon as you eat it. They have around 40% water and the consistency and texture are very similar to udon noodles.
The ratio of water is something that obviously affects the final shape, texture and even flavor of the ramen. It will also affect the ramen’s ability to absorb the kansui water that is used in its making.
Having more water to flour ratio will obviously make your ramen noodles a lot softer, whereas having less water will give you ramen noodles that distinctive crunch.
So the next time you go to buy your noodles, check the packet for the water consistency and decide what type of texture you want.
Best Types Of Ramen For Noodles
Now that we’ve discussed what goes into a ramen noodle, now we can have the best noodles for your particular ramen bowl.
Personal preference is all part of the decision-making process. If you are still undecided, then we would recommend that you try different bowls to find out which ones you like.
You can get fresh ramen from organic ramen makers, although this might not always be an option. Luckily, one of the best aspects of ramen is that you can purchase it dry online.
So here we have some of the best ramen currently available on Amazon, each one has a brief description of the product, as well as what dish they are best suited to.
We also have a list of pros and cons that should help you make your final decision.
OUR TOP PICK
Our first noodle is probably the best overall in terms of value, considering the number of noodles that you get in a packet - 3 packets for the price of 1!
This contains the 3 types of noodle that we mentioned in the article, soba, somen and udon - introducing the Hakuabku Organic Somen Japanese Wheat Noodles.
- Easy to prepare - this comes with very easy-to-understand cooking instructions that will be perfect for you and your family.
- This is a great batch to purchase if you want to cook for a large group of people who are simply desperate to try ramen.
- The diversity - this three-pack has everything that a ramen noodle has to offer in terms of flavor and texture.
- These noodles are dry and will keep for months and months if stored in the cupboard at room temperature.
- Some users have complained that their delicate noodles were cracked upon delivery. This will definitely be an issue as you don’t want to ingest noodle fragments.
Next up we have the authentic taste of Japan, with a packet of dried noodles that have a silky and smooth texture, perfect for use at a dinner party or other such occasion.
This will give your broth that sumptuous and delicious flavor - introducing Sukina Buckwheat Noodles.
- Buckwheat absorbs a lot more broth and water, giving you more durable ramen for your meal.
- Easy to prepare - you can very easily pop these in water and have delicious ramen in under an hour.
- You can use this large packet to prepare a sizable ramen meal for yourself and a few other guests.
- The price - the volume of noodles that you can get for this amount is incredible, so you should rush out and buy yourself a few packets right now!
- Some users have complained that a predominant ingredient of this food is plain white flour as opposed to buckwheat, which will be an issue for anyone with dietary complaints.
Next up we have ramen that is ideal for those who might be familiar with most types of noodles and might be looking for something a little different.
This uses organic whole grain rice instead of wheat, which will lead to a very unique flavor and nutrient pallet - introducing the Lotus Foods Organic Millet & Brown Rice Ramen.
- This ramen is very unusual, made from rice, it has a very unique taste that will definitely complement certain toppings such as egg or spinach.
- This still possesses all the traditional qualities of ramen, so you can still cook it up especially for someone who is new to this wonderful Japanese dish.
- This is very high in protein and fiber, so if you are someone who wants a healthy diet to lose weight, then we would suggest that you pick up this one.
- You can cook this ramen very quickly, it gives you everything that you need for all different types of ramen dishes.
- For those seeking a conventional ramen taste, you might want to avoid this one as it is made from rice instead of grain and might not have the same flavor.
Our next selection of noodles adheres more to the classic ramen noodle composition.
These are manufactured from yam flour, wheat and buckwheat flour, as well as an added pinch of salt and water.
This will have that familiar ramen texture and it is sold in bulk, which makes it perfect for Japanese-themed parties - introducing the J-basket Dried Buckwheat Soba Noodles.
- Cooking time - you can have this rustled up in just a few minutes. Perfect if you are in a hurry to get to work in the morning.
- Contains a traditional ramen flavor - this gives you everything that you need if you are trying ramen for the first time.
- Made from traditional ingredients - you’ll be able to get all your fiber and protein for the day from just this one meal.
- This comes in a large weight, so you can boil a small amount to try and save the rest for later.
- This might a little too simplistic for ramen connoisseurs who want something more interesting.
Our next ramen is another that is very easy to rustle up, with a simple and distinctive ramen taste.
There are zero frills with this product, it is also very versatile, forming the base for several disparate ramen-based meals.
They aren’t too potent and can be a dinner or a small snack - introducing the King Soba Organic Buckwheat Ramen Noodles.
- This is made from buckwheat, which makes it one of the more durable ramen meals on this list. It can be used to accentuate egg, tofu and seaweed toppers.
- This is easy to prepare - these ramen are designed for people on-the-go, so just put them on the stove and have them ready in minutes.
- With 3 packets, there are plenty of noodles that you can use to rustle up a quick lunch or dinner in a matter of minutes.
- Some users have complained that this dry ramen has arrived crunched up and broken at their door, leaving them unprepared for the dinner party they are planning to host that night.
This next ramen dish has a very unique crunchy and chewy texture, making it amongst some of the most durable ramens on this list.
It comes dried and ready to cook, with instructions on the easy-to-read packet, this is perfect for newbie ramen consumers - introducing the Him Japanese Ram Noodles.
- This is ideal if you’re having plenty of guests around at your house and need to prepare a large amount of ramen in bulk.
- The price - this ramen is very affordable, great if you have just started and are not sure if you’re going to like this dish or not.
- Some users have complained that this ramen is very salty and smells of ammonia when it’s cooked.
Our final ramen is for those that don’t fancy divesting any attention into the often lengthy flavoring process of traditional ramen-making.
This one comes pre-flavored with soy sauce, so you can expect that traditional Japanese flavor straight out of the packet - introducing the Maruchan Ramen.
- This has established itself as a popular treat for students and busy office workers - not only is it cheap to buy, but it is also packed with flavor.
- This takes only 3 minutes to prepare and eat.
- Some users have complained that this has added beef extract, which makes it unsuitable for vegans and vegetarians.
Personally I've always been a fan of Tokyo ramen which includes onomichi ramen, takayama ramen, and wakayama ramen. Throw in some bamboo shoots with a boiled egg and pork belly and chicken and you've got a ramen style feast.