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Best Korean Instant Ramen To Eat In 2021

by song-i
korean instant ramen

After looking at that famous scene in the oscar-winning movie Parasite, the interest in Korean instant ramen has been phenomenal!

A lot of foodies are now discovering the joys of South Korea’s flavorful ramen or Ramyun as they are locally called.

Related: Best Korean Rice Cooker

Instant ramen has long been a staple for college students living in dorms or people who are too lazy to cook. 

But all that is in the past. These Korean instant ramen noodles are no less than a gourmet feast.  

Korean Instant Ramen BrandsSpice LevelChief Flavor
Nongshim Shin Ramyun BlackMediumBeef
Paldo Cheese Noodles Fromage RamyunHighCheese
Nongshim Champong Noodle Soup Spicy Seafood FlavorHighSeafood
Samyang Foods Buldak Chicken RamenVery HighChicken
Paldo Rabokki NoodlesLowTteokbokki
Ottogi Yeul Ramen Noodles Hot Pepper FlavorVery HighHot Pepper
Nongshim Chapagetti NoodleMediumVegetable

How I decided which Korean Instant ramen is the best?

After making these Korean instant ramen at home and taste testing them myself, I rated them on a scale of 1-5 based on the following criteria. 

  • Spice levels – the Korean instant noodles need to be spicy enough to give your taste buds a kick. But ramen that is too fiery can be unpalatable for some users.
  • Flavoring – Korean noodles come in several flavors like beef, chicken, cheese, etc. The taste should be universally loved.
  • Price – Several Korean ramyun brands that are sold outside of South Korea tend to be very expensive. I looked at how the price matched the quantity.

Top Korean Instant Ramen 2021

Nongshim Shin Ramyun Black

The first Korean instant ramen I tried was the Nongshim Shin Ramyun Black and it was perhaps the best thing I’ve tasted.

Now look, everyone thinks instant noodles are not as tasty or hearty as compared to “real” noodles. 

But this one is so rich and flavorful that it doesn’t taste like a 5-min instant food you eat because you don’t want to cook. It feels like a gourmet meal on its own.

And the main reason for it’s flavor is perhaps the  Sul-Long-Tang soup base sachet that comes along with these Korean noodles.

It gives that extra heartiness to the noodle broth. 

What I liked most about the Nongshim Shin is that there is the right amount of spices and herbs here. 

If you hate bland stuff but don’t like overly spicy food either, you will be in a treat with this one.

It’s got beef chunks, vegetables, and a delicious seasoning. I can eat it several times a week and not get tired.

I was, however, disappointed to see the price. It seems really overpriced, especially if you’ve lived in Korea and got it at a much lower price.

What I Liked:

  • Thick noodles
  • Suits most palates
  • Thick bone broth 
  • Lots of flavorful seasoning

What I Did Not Like:

  • Overpriced

Paldo Cheese Noodles Fromage Ramyun

If you’re not very keen on experimenting with Korean food and want something more similar to an everyday American palate, this Paldo Ramyun is a good place to start.

It’s like a regular Korean instant ramen, but with cheese! Honestly? I love the combination.

I have to warn you that while the cheese powder pairs well with the flavor of the noodles, it does nothing to cut down the spiciness. 

The noodles turn out a bit soft and I would have been happier if they were a bit bouncier. But I felt the recipe called for too much water. 

So you can reduce the quantity of water used from 2 and a half cups to 2 cups to get less stickier noodles.

What I Liked:

  • Cheesy flavor
  • Very spicy

What I Did Not Like:

  • Too spicy for some taste buds
  • Expensive for single ramen packet

Nongshim Champong Noodle Soup Spicy Seafood Flavor

I’ve always loved the combination of Korean instant ramen and seafood. So I simply had to try the Nongshim Champong Neoguri Noodles.

These thick Udon-style noodles are packed with flavor and ingredients like anchovy, tuna, and mussel.

These Korean noodles are great if you want to taste something other than chicken or beef. But I should warn you, the noodles still contain beef stock as an ingredient.

So if you’re staying away from beef for health or religious reasons, you might want to check out other noodle brands.

As these contain a high quantity of shellfish extracts, it might also cause allergic reactions. So make sure it’s kept away from someone with sensitivity to fish and shellfish.

There have been a lot of complaints about the noodles arriving broken or not cooking well. I can only assume that there are several fakes out there online. So be very careful while selecting the products. 

What I Liked:

  • Udon style noodles
  • Fish-flavored noodles

What I Did Not Like:

  • Shellfish and milk might cause allergic reaction in some people

Samyang Foods Buldak Chicken Ramen

You’ve probably heard of the Korean fire noodles challenge? Well, these are the very same noodles!

This Samyang Ramen is fondly called buldak-bokkeum-myeon in Korean. Translation? Stir-fried chicken noodles.

So it’s not like your regular Korean instant noodles. It’s got more of the spicy, hawker-style ramen. You’ll feel like you’re eating it in a food stall in the streets of Seoul somewhere.

Another fantastic thing about these Korean noodles is that they have a chicken base. Not just a different flavor like the Nongshim seafood noodles, but a whole chicken base.

If you don’t eat beef, you can try this Samyang buldak-bokkeum-myeon without hesitation.

These noodles are available in both the pot version and the bowl version.

What I Liked:

  • Chicken base
  • Spicy flavor
  • Stir-fry style noodles

What I Did Not Like:

  • Too expensive

Paldo Rabokki Noodles

These aren’t your regular Korean instant noodles, the Paldo Rabokki ramen noodles are inspired by Tteobokki.

Tteobokki are long cylindrical tubes made of rice flour. They are usually paired with a rich, red sauce which has a spicy-sweet flavor to it. This dish is then served along with fish cakes or eggs.

These noodles are inspired by this Tteobokki meal. So if you’re buying them expecting to taste like the fiery Samyang noodles you’ll be disappointed.

They are not very spicy. A good thing if you have a very Americanized palate.

But truth be told, the Tteokbokki and red sauce flavor is an acquired taste. Not everyone will like the sweet taste. 

So if you’re not keen on experimenting, you should stick with Nongshim or Samyang ramen. 

What I Liked:

  • Not very spicy so good for some taste buds
  •  Tteokbokki-inspired noodles

What I Did Not Like:

  • Sweet taste

Ottogi Yeul Ramen Noodles Hot Pepper Flavor

I was just telling you about the sweet flavored Rabokki noodles and how they’re not everyone’s cup of tea (or should we say ramen).

And if you are someone like me who enjoys spicy stuff more than anything else, here’s a Korean instant ramen for you.

The Ottogi Yeul Ramen Noodles give even the Samyang fiery noodles a run for their money. In fact, “Yeul” translates to heat in Korean.

These noodles contain a lot of red pepper, and several veggies including shiitake mushrooms, cabbage, carrots, and green onions.

I loved how the noodles are thick and get soft and chewy after you cook them.

The only downside to these noodles (if you see it as a downside) is that they are too spicy.

I’ve heard some people who tried it describe it as “burn your backside” spicy. So if you’re not used to that sort of thing, you can choose something more milder.

What I Liked:

  • Chewy noodle texture
  • Spicy levels
  • Price

What I Did Not Like:

  • Too spicy for some people 

Nongshim Chapagetti Noodle

Chapagetti is nothing but the Korean version of spaghetti noodles. So you’ll find this Nongshim Korean instant ramen to have the same texture and length as spaghetti.

These noodles come in a Chajang flavor. Now Chajang is black soy bean sauce, and Chapagetti with Chajang is a very popular dish in South Korea.

Apart from these lip-smacking flavors, you can also find a host of other vegetables like green onions and carrots. There is also a vegetable oil seasoning to give it that extra dose of flavor.

If you like Korean Jajangmyeon, then this is an easy replica of the dish you can make.

Cooking these noodles to perfection can take a few tries. Here’s how I got it to be perfect.

  • Do not add the flavoring sachet after draining the water from your noodles. This will make your noodles too overpowering to taste good.
  • Remove a few tablespoons of starchy water from the noodles while it is al dente or cooked halfway through. 
  • Then, mix the noodle water you have taken out with the flavoring. 
  • Put this water back into the still-cooking noodles and let it simmer for a few minutes. The broth will naturally thicken due to the heat. 

What I Liked:

  • Delicious flavoring
  • Spaghetti style noodles
  • Korean black bean flavor

What I Did Not Like:

  • Needs to be cooked a certain way
  • Overpriced

What is the best Korean instant ramen noodle?

After testing (and tasting) several Korean instant ramen, I found the Nongshim Chapagetti Noodles to be the best South Korean instant ramen noodles.

The Nongshim Chapagetti Noodles come with spaghetti-style noodles with Korean black soy bean sauce taste. These ramyun do not have a particular beef or fish flavor so they are easy to customize according to your taste preference. They’ve got several veggies and are a delicious comfort food. 

Korean instant noodles are perhaps one of the easiest foods to prepare. A bowl and an electric kettle or microwave is all you need.

The demand for these noodles has also gone up in the past few months as a lot of folks have been devouring it during quarantine.

With the help of this article, you can find your favorite Korean noodles and indulge in this ultimate comfort food!

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Nongshim Shin Ramyun Black

The best Korean instant ramen noodles are easy to make and come in different flavours. The Nongshim Shin Ramyun Black is spicy and delicious.

Product SKU: H962B442

Product Brand: Nongshim

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: $19.99

Price Valid Until: 2022-06-12

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
5

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