Our previous intern, Dandi Meng, challenged future interns to write about ramen. Well, challenge accepted! She and Cali Kopczick, our editor, focused more on gourmet ramen. So I thought I’d give instant noodles the attention it deserves. In fact, did you know there’s a museum in Yokohama dedicated to ramen? You can even make your own cup of noodles with your choice of flavoring! I haven’t had the opportunity to visit it, but being a college student, I’ve had my fair share of the delicious, deep-fried noodles.
Ramen noodles originated from China and began to be sold in Japan after it opened its ports near the end of the Edo period. About a hundred years later, the first instant ramen noodles came into existence (thank you Momofuku Ando!) and the world changed. Ramen lovers everywhere could enjoy the dish in the comfort of their own homes, dorms and space. Yes, you read that right, in space. Instant noodles were the first noodles to be consumed in outer space. So when you’re eating instant noodles, you’re basically eating astronaut food! Well at least that’s what I like to think when I’m eating it.
But my days of eating instant ramen didn’t start in college. Growing up, crushed up raw instant noodles with the seasoning sprinkled on top was a common snack. If I wanted it as a meal I would add an egg and top it off with a nice heap of kimchee. My favorite was Shin Ramen, which was named as the artist Enfu’s favorite ramen for getting over a hangover. While I haven’t had the chance to use it for that purpose, if I want a piping hot bowl of instant noodles, these are always my top pick. Sometimes, if I’m really feeling crazy, I’ll add a bit of cheese.
Speaking of crazy, one ramen to try would be the Buldak Fried Noodles. You might recognize the name from the popular fire noodle challenge that you see popping up on social media. This ramen is one of the spiciest noodles you can get on the market. If you’re curious, then you’re in luck, because I’ve tried it for you! My friend gave me a pack (not sure if she genuinely gave these to me as a gift or if I’ve angered her in some way…) and I took up the challenge, no sweat! Well, maybe a little sweat. OK a lot of sweat. Fine, fine, honesty time, I cried… a lot.
So I challenge you, fellow ramen lovers, to go try different types of ramen and maybe even take that pilgrimage to Yokohama. I’ll see you there.
By the way, there’s a girl, Georgi Readman, who ate nearly nothing but ramen for 13 years. I feel defeated...