It’s Raining Ramen

“Everyone says ramen is rigid; that it has to be one exact thing. It isn’t, and it doesn’t … the most important thing is that you make it delicious.”


Ramen noodles have been  a staple of college cuisine since the beginning of time. They’re cheap, they’re tasty, they’re easy to find, but the delicious snack has come quite a way over the years. The noodles

courtesy of joelogon.com

A bowl of ramen isn't what it used to be.

originated in China and are known as “Lo-mein” in Chinese, a word meaning “boiled noodle.”Ramen as we know it today in the plastic wrappers on our grocery store shelves were created by Momofuku Ando, who founded a company called Nissin Foods in Japan. The company created “Top Ramen” in 1970 and the popularity spread from there, according to konzak.com. The taste and ingredients varies from brand to brand and country to country, but this food shares one thing in common, no matter where you find it: it’s cheap.

courtesy of momofuku.com

Momofuku Noodle Bar in NYC

Chefs are taking advantage of this popularity and accessibility by adding a new twist to the food as we know it. A series of restaurants/milk bars in New York City called Momofuku (meaning “lucky peach”, and also the name of the guy who popularized ramen), where much of the menu consists of revamped ramen dishes.

And now….

There is a Momofuku cookbook. Yes, a cookbook. Written by award winning chef David Chang and Peter Meehan. Slashfood writer, Sara Bonisteel thinks that one of the things that makes Chang’s ramen recipes so popular is that “his creations are filled with unlikely but delicious flavor parings.”

A new, better-tasting twist on an already tasty and inexpensive food? Sounds good to me….But one of the only arguments against ramen (and a fair argument at that) is its nutritional value…or lack there of.

The Korean government announced on Nov. 6 that commercials showing food products that are low in nutrients and high in calories (namely, ramen) will not be allowed to air between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., according to news source, The Chosun llbo. School cafeterias will not be allowed to serve ramen and other products of this nature. These rules could be put into effect as early as Jan. 2010.

Here are the nutrition facts for a standard package of ramen noodles:

courtesy of photobucket.com

A package has high fat content and a fulfills a large percentage of your daily value of sodium.

(note that there are two servings in a package so if you are eating the whole thing at once (which is not unusual, you are consuming twice this amount.)

With 7g of fat per serving, 3g from saturated fat and 1040mg of sodium (!!), ramen is certainly not the healthiest thing you can put into your body. But consider this….. much of the sodium that is accounted for in that package is from the spice sack. For a more nutritional option, swap the silver pouch with a low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth and add in some frozen or fresh vegetables. The broth will still give your ramen some flavor, but it will be much healthier. Adding the vegetables has its obvious benefits. Maybe even add some tofu for some additional protein. Try purchasing the bags of veggies or any additional ingredients that you think of at a store like Wal-Mart. There are a ton choices for the frozen veggies on the website. One of them is bound to work for you.

There are also healthier brand options than the standard packages that you always find in any store. Koyo ramen, by Koyo Foods Inc. includes more natural ingredients that you can pronounce and is even made with organic noodles. And…there’s no msg and no preservatives. For just $1.09 more, you could be doing a world of difference for your health and your piece of mind.

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2 Responses

  1. This is must-see for every college student!

  2. Seconded. It’s like I live on the stuff during busy weeks, and knowing that it’s even more unhealthy than I thought it was is valuable information. This whole post is awesome–I’ll have to try out some of the stuff mentioned in your actual writeup as well as the video when I get the chance.

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