I’m exhausted by ramen hacks. Each time I open TikTok or have a look at Instagram, I’m bombarded with alternative ways to improve a bowl of immediate ramen. I’ve added peanut butter, I’ve added mayo and egg, I’ve added a slice of cheese. And whereas all these “hacks” are tasty, they don’t handle to eclipse the soul-satiating nature of a basic-ass bowl of immediate ramen.
Instantaneous ramen was invented in 1958 by Momofuku Ando, the founding father of Nissin Meals Merchandise, in an effort to each create a fast, reasonably priced lunch choice for Japanese staff. Ando found that if he flash-fried the noodles after drying them, they could possibly be reconstituted with scorching water with out shedding any of their textural attraction. Ando additionally invented Cup Noodles within the Seventies, making it much more handy for shoppers to benefit from the dish, and immediate ramen turned standard in lots of international locations the world over, together with america.
Instantaneous ramen, nearly at all times Maruchan model, was a staple in my family rising up. My mother used to make it for herself — precisely because the directions required, including nothing however scorching water — and the scent of the soy-sauce-scented broth wafting throughout our home was sufficient to make my brother and I demand a bowl of our personal. After I turned sufficiently old to boil water on my own, it was each an everyday after-school snack and simple weekend lunch. Rooster, pork, beef, or the now-cringe-inducing “oriental” taste (which has since been rebranded to “soy sauce” in an effort to “higher mirror the distinct taste profile of this tasty dish,” based on Maruchan), regardless of the flavour profile inside these flimsy plastic packets, I cherished all of them.
Plain immediate ramen is eminently satisfying in its simplicity. As soon as boiled, the noodles are bouncy, straightforward to slurp, and lend a nice oily sheen to the broth, which is fortified with sufficient MSG to trick the mind into believing that this skinny, salty soup is definitely wealthy and unctuous. Chemical magic or not, it really works, and seems like sufficient even once I’m undecided that my abdomen can deal with the vegetal sharpness of scallions, or when the concept of coagulated egg floating round in my soup is by no means appetizing. There’s a sensory simplicity in a bowl of solely tender noodles, broth, and salt, one which my physique craves most once I’m overstimulated and frazzled, or weakened by the throbbing, low-blood-sugar-induced headache I’ve inevitably given myself by ready too lengthy to eat lunch.
This isn’t to recommend that low cost ramen is someway higher than a $4 packet of Shin Black ramyun, one of many top-tier manufacturers available on the market. The truth is it’s objectively worse, much less flavorful, and utterly missing a tiny sachet of dried greens. However that’s the level: It’s so salty that it feels transformative once you’re hungover or underneath the climate. Simply name it an “electrolyte complement,” a savory Gatorade that may replenish your physique’s shops of sodium and fill your stomach on the identical time. (Sure, immediate ramen has an eye-popping quantity of sodium, however a packet of ramen each infrequently isn’t going to kill you.)
There are such a lot of extra ramen manufacturers than there have been even 15 years in the past, once I was a broke 20-year-old with a really meager meals finances and a robust affinity for Maruchan beef-flavored ramen. It’s what I grew up with, and the second the scent of that beefy broth hits my nostrils, I’m immediately comforted. It’s at all times what I attain for once I’m dehydrated from a hangover, or combating a abdomen bug. We’re in an period when a bowl of immediate ramen could be as distinctive as you need it to be, and all I would like is a plain bowl of beef-flavored, oil-slicked noodles.