Instant noodles come in many different packages: pillow packs (like Nissin Top Ramen), cups (like Maruchan Instant Lunch) and bowls (like Nongshim Bowl Noodle). How do they differ? The cups and bowls use a method known as steeping; rather than cooking stovetop in boiling water, water is brought to a boil and then added to the container. Noodle bowls can deliver a lot of character and travel easily for a quick work lunch. They're truly effortless, if not literally 'instant'—even the blocks of noodles found in cups and bowls are designed to allow the water to touch all surfaces, hydrating without any stirring required.
Earlier in the year, I shared my top ten list of pillow pack instant ramen. Now for the other side of the coin; after sampling over 1,100 instant noodle varities over the years, I've narrowed down my top ten instant noodle bowls of 2013. Check 'em out below!
#10 JFC Japanese Style Noodle Soup Curry Flavour (South Korea)
#9 Ottogi Spaghetti Ramen (South Korea)
#8 Little Cook Spicy Beef Flavor (Thailand)
#7 Nongshim Chapagetti Roasted Chajang Noodle (United States)
#6 Paldo Kokomen Spicy Chicken Flavor King Cup (South Korea)
#5 Little Cook Mushroom Vegetarian Premium Noodle (Thailand)
#4 Yamamoto Ponpoko Tempura Udon Fried Noodles Bowl (Japan)
Thick, slightly chewy noodles and a broth with bold soy flavor. Tempura adds a satisfying crunch. Check out the original review to see why this one's got a great name.
#3 Maruchan Midori No Tanuki Instant Soba Bowl (Japan)
The only one from last year's list to remain. Although it slipped out of first place, this is a seriously excellent bowl of noodles. The buckwheat noodles have a delicate crumble and the broth is nice and rich. The disk of tempura is a real treat.
#2 FoodMon DJ-DOC Instant Ramen Rice Toppokki (South Korea)
#1 Nissin Raoh Rich Soy Sauce Flavor (Japan)
For more info about these and the over 1,000 different other varieties, check out The Ramen Rater.
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