If there is one bond between all college students, thy name is ramen! Although ramen noodles originate from China, they were popularized in Japan. The instant variety was the brainchild of Momofuko Ando and helped make his company, Nissin Foods, the giant of the ramen industry. Toyo Suisan, a successful fish company, attempted to emulate this success and entered the ramen market in 1961. As ramen gained prominence on an international level, Toyo Suisan established Maruchan Inc. to distribute ramen worldwide.
The staple product of the Maruchan line is their ramen although they do offer yakisoba noodles as well. Maruchan ramen noodles compare favorably with any other mass-produced ramen. Each package comes with a noodle block; a half block equals one serving. There are several flavors to choose from such as the chicken, beef, and pork as well as the daunting lime chili shrimp. Maruchan boasts that its ramen has 0 grams trans fat, but the real knock on ramen in general is the sodium content.
The nutritional facts on the Maruchan packaging allude to an 800 mg sodium count with the flavor seasoning, but this is per serving. Since there are two servings per package the sodium count is really 1,600 mg. The American Heart Association only recommends 1,500 mg of sodium daily, so eating a full package of ramen is not conducive to a healthy diet. There are, however, two simple techniques to reduce the sodium content. The first is to use less seasoning and the second is to drain the noodles from the soup.
Almost all brands of ramen are inexpensive and Maruchan ramen is no different. A six-pack usually runs around a dollar and this allows a buyer to purchase other delicious ingredients. In fact, the joy of ramen is that it encourages experimentation. You can add a wide variety of food types to create unique dishes. Ramen itself is a carbohydrate, so the addition of a vegetable and a protein makes for a balanced meal. Peas, green peppers, bamboo, mushrooms, scallions and others need only be tossed into the soup. Sliced beef, shrimp, and eggs might need a little prep before being added, but they too turn into a savory delicacy once mixed in with Maruchan’s magic.
There are few foods more convenient to make or more satisfying to munch on than ramen. These noodles have always been held in high regard in the east, but only recently have they been viewed as a delicacy in the west. David Chang’s Momofuku Noodle Bar, named after Momofuko Ando, proves that ramen can reach for the culinary heights. Maruchan offers many their first taste of ramen noodles, but ramen is much more. A quick trip to a local Asian market will provide a wider range of noodles and take the ramen experience to the next level.
Wikipedia – Ramen
American Heart Association