My love of instant noodles started out with Top Ramen, just like every other American kid. Now more than 30 years later, after having sampled over 670 different noodle varieties, I, the Ramen Rater, have come up with a list of favorites. It changes from time to time as I discover new ones, but here's the current list of noodles from around the world. Most of them can be found at Asian groceries or online.
10. Singapore: Koka Instant Non-Fried Noodles, Spicy Black Pepper Flavor
This stuff is amazing. It contains a block of instant noodles that are exceedingly light and low in fat but not low in taste, especially with the garnish pack's "seasonal" veggie flavorings. It has a nice peppery flavor and a little heat but not overwhelmingly so. It's a real treat and goes great with eggs.
9. Hong Kong: Doll Instant Noodle, Artificial Chicken Flavor
Yeah I know, chicken instant noodles, how boring! But not this one. The broth is very good, warming your insides on a cold day. It's another one that gets even better with eggs—add the egg(s) with about 45 seconds remaining of cooking time in the pot to make the broth even heartier. It's a very relaxing bowl of noodles.
8. Japan: Sapporo Ichiban Shio Ramen Noodles
This is a very recent addition to the Ramen Rater's Top Ten list. Having tried Shio instant noodle varieties in the past, I had a feeling this would be a good one, and it truly was. Very hearty noodles with an almost buttery-tasting broth, it's even more of a meal with added baked chicken, green onions, and a hard-boiled egg. And it comes with a little packet of sesame seeds!
7. Korea: Nong Shim Shin Ramyun Black Premium Noodle Soup
Twenty years after the introduction of the well-known Shin Ramyun, Nong Shim brought out Shin Ramyun Black. A huge block of noodles, a veggie packet that also contains freeze-dried beef, a red spicy seasoning, and onion and oxtail soup packets, this combination is a an insta-noodle onslaught of epic proportion. Best enjoyed with an egg, bok choy, and a single slice of American cheese.
6. Japan: Myojo Hyoubanya no Chukasoba Noodles, Oriental Flavor
Very good and very traditional for Japanese instant noodles. Noodles are a little chewy and the broth has hints of seafood. Yet again, it gets even better when you cook a couple eggs cooked with the noodles along with baked chicken, salt, and pepper.
5. Indonesia: Mie Sedaap Instant Kari Spesial Bumbu Kari Kental
Like spicy? Like curry? This one from Indonesia fills both criteria and then some. The noodles are good but the real star here is the broth; a bit greasy and so flavorful. Not only is there a curry hotness but also sweetness too. It's excellent with a couple fried eggs.
4. Japan: Sapporo Ichiban Japanese Style Noodles Chow Mein
This stuff is great. It's cooked with a small amount of water as the noodles gobble it all up. Sweet and salty, plus it comes with a packet of ground seaweed to make it even more enjoyable. Goes well with a little bit of roast beef and chopped onions.
3. Japan: Nissin Yakisoba with Mayonnaise / Mustard Packet
Yakisoba is a very commonly enjoyed dish in Japan, and this variety puts a unique twist on it. You fill the box with boiling water, then there's a little drain spout to get rid of excess water. Add the flavoring and stir—then comes the fun. A little packet dispenses mayonnaise out of one reservoir and mustard from another! It's quite good, especially the vegetable part. Nothing to add to this one; enjoy in its native state!
2. Indonesia: Indomie Mi Goreng Rasa Ayam Panggang, BBQ Chicken Flavor
First off, it's a jumbo pack, which means even more of it. It also comes with a whopping five seasonings, from sweet soy sauce to spicy chili sauce. The noodles are served drained without a broth. The flavorings in concert with a couple fried eggs, some pickled ginger, and fried shallots make this one unmissable.
1. Indonesia: Indomie Special Fried Curly Noodles
Truly the best instant noodles I've ever had. I love these. The noodles are flat, very tasty; the seasonings provide a broad range of flavors, both spicy and sweet. Enjoy it with some turkey, fried eggs, pickled ginger, fried shallots and Sriracha.