Shin Ramen: The Spicy Staple of South Korea's Noodle Soup Scene – Bokksu Market

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Shin Ramen: The Spicy Staple of South Korea's Noodle Soup Scene

by Theo Ponthieux

If you’re a fan of spicy noodles, then you’ll love shin ramyun, also known as shin ramen. This is the most popular brand of instant noodle in asia, particularly south korea and japan.

Shin Ramen in the store, cup noodles displayed

Introduction to Shin Ramen: South Korea's Iconic Noodle Soup

The story of Shin Ramyun began on October 1st, 1986, in the city of Seoul. That was the day the Nongshim food and beverage company first produced and distributed the Shin Ramyun to the people of Korea.

The company had released other food products before producing the Shin Ramyun, but none were as successful. People loved the bold, spicy flavors, and it seemed like they could never get enough. Today, Shin Ramyun is the most popular instant noodle brand in South Korea and many parts of Asia.

This spicy noodle has long since gone global, with over 28 billion bags sold across 100 countries. While South Koreans are still the biggest consumers, countries like Japan, Vietnam, and Nepal are also eating Shin Ramyun like crazy. People in the USA are not left out, as the world continues to enjoy this tasty dish thanks to global online shopping.


The Spicy World of Shin Ramyun: A Taste Sensation

A big part of why Shin Ramyun is so beloved is its spicy flavor, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Don’t get me wrong, the Shin Ramyun is very spicy! After all, there’s a popular saying in South Korea that goes: “Nongshim Shin Ramyun can make a man cry.” But for now, let’s briefly explore the unique flavor profile of this instant noodle.

It’s flavor is stronger than what you would be used to if you only ate Japanese ramen. It also comes with a soup packet, which provides the pepper, beef, and onion broth that gives the ramen its unique taste. You can have a spicy bowl of Shin Ramen ready in just 5 minutes.

Over the last few decades, Nongshim has produced several variations of Shin Ramyun. However, these are the popular flavors on the market:

  1. Shin Ramyun Original: The classic flavor has just the right amount of spice.

  2. Shin Ramyun Stir Fry: Spicy noodle without the soup.

  3. Shin Ramyun Kimchi: Ramen with the traditional kimchi flavor.

  4. Shin Ramyun Light: Ramen with 72% less fat than other products.

  5. Shin Ramyun Red: The spiciest of them all!

  6. Shin Ramyun Black: Ramen with a premium taste made for lovers of spice.

Black Shin Ramen customized with green onion and egg

Shin Ramen Black vs. Shin Ramen: What Sets Them Apart?

Two of the most beloved noodle flavors in South Korea are the Shin Ramyun Spicy Ramen and the Shin Ramyun Black. I’ve tried both, and I think they taste fantastic. But what are the differences between the two? I’m going to compare them so you can make an informed choice before buying.

Nongshim Shin Ramyun Spicy Ramen

Here are the most popular instant ramyun noodles in South Korea and Japan. Ramyun is the Korean take on ramen and is, most remarkably, stronger and bolder tasting than Japanese-style ramen. As to be expected, these Korean spicy noodles are very hot and flavorful, with a beef and vegetable-based broth. Add water and cook for 4-7 minutes on the stove or in the microwave.

Common Allergens: Fish, Wheat, Soy.

4.3 oz


Shin Ramyun was developed from the original flavor of the first option ever created. There have been slight improvements over the years, but it pretty much remains the same. Shin Black, on the other hand, was developed more recently, after three years of researching what consumers wanted in their noodle.


When you handle both products, they seem to weigh the same. In truth, the Shin Black weighs 130g, which is slightly heavier than the Shin Ramyun, which weighs 120g.


When you take both products out of their package, the most obvious difference is the number of seasoning packets you find.

The Shin Black contains more packets (three) than the Shin Ramyun (two). This extra packet holds the base for a beef and anchovy soup broth.

Vegetables Size

Both options come with one vegetable packet. However, Shin Black contains larger vegetable chunks and extra slices of beef.

Salt and Spice

The standard Shin Ramyun has a stronger taste of salt and spice than Shin Black. I recommend you take Black if you want to enjoy Shin Ramen with less spice.

Nutritional Value

Shin Black contains a larger amount of nutrients like protein and carbohydrate. It also contains more sugar, fat, and sodium.


The Secret to Shin Ramen's Delicious Meal Experience

What makes Shin Ramen so irresistible? There are several factors involved, but the biggest has to be it’s salty and spicy flavor. Nongshim was able to achieve this unique taste through the ingenious blend of the following ingredients in their broth:

  • Shiitake mushrooms

  • Chili pepper

  • Beef stock

  • Soy sauce

  • Scallions

These are the basic ingredients in the many Shin Ramen options. 

Nongshim Shin Ramyun Black Spicy Ramen

Here, black means luxury. This premium flavor of instant ramyun (the Korean take on ramen), was three years in the making, involving intensive research and development. The featured element of these Korean spicy noodles is the thick, rich broth, with red peppers and onions adding a kick of spice. On top of all that, there is no added MSG and has less sodium than other noodle brands.

Common Allergens: Fish, Wheat, Soy.

4.58 oz

Nongshim Shin: A Legacy of Quality and Flavor

Another, less talked about reason for the success of Shin Ramyun is the dedication of its parent company, Nongshim.

They started out on the 18th of September, 1965, in Seoul, South Korea. Back then, they were called Lotte Food Industrial Company. They wouldn’t bear the name “Nongshim” until 1978, two years after becoming a publicly traded company.

Upon producing their first ramen, Lotte Ramyun, the company faced stiff competition in the market. There were at least seven other ramen brands in South Korea. This did not deter Nongshim, as they focused on producing quality products through research and development.

In 1986, their search for excellence paid off with the development of Shin Ramyun, a product that would quickly go on to make them the biggest noodle producers in the country.

Shin Ramen making at home

Customizing Your Shin Ramen: Adding Shiitake Mushrooms and More

You can make your Shin Ramen more flavorful and nutritious by adding ingredients that don’t come in the packets. This is an optional strategy that allows you to customize the dish to your taste. Here are my favorite ingredients to add:

  1. Shiitake mushrooms

I like to add sliced shiitake mushrooms to my Shin Ramen noodles. You can add the mushrooms to the boiling water along with the noodles. Another method is to fry the mushrooms in a small amount of fat (saute) before adding them.

  1. Tofu

Add some tofu to the hot water along with the noodles. You can add the tofu directly or fry it in a pan to make it crispy before adding it.

  1. Seafood

Feel free to add shrimp, crabs, or any fish of your choice. Simply cook your raw seafood separately before adding it to the Shin Ramen.

  1. Bok choy

Bok choy is a cabbage that goes well with spicy ramen. Add it in the last one or two minutes of cooking the noodles. You don’t want it to be too tender.

Shin Ramen in Korean Cuisine: More Than Just a Quick Meal

There are many reasons why Shin Ramen is so popular in Korea. The biggest one is that Koreans love a spicy dish. The majority prefer their food served red-hot, and Nongshim successfully met that need with Shin Ramyun.

Ramen is a staple food across the whole of Asia, but Shin Ramyun is “Korean ramen.” No other food encapsulates the fiery and fast-paced lives of the people more than the spicy instant noodle.

The product is so ingrained in Korean culture that it now has a variety of unorthodox uses. For example, many Koreans eat Shin Ramen the morning after a night out to help overcome hangovers - think Americans and Bloody Mary. Shin Ramen has also become a necessity to bring when camping. 

In the kitchen, the soup base is used to add flavor and spice to any kind of stew. It’s difficult to see life without Shin Ramen for the average Korean.

Cheese Korean Shin Ramen

Conclusion: Why Shin Ramen is a Must-Try for Spicy Noodle Lovers

Wherever you are in the world, Shin Ramen can be a staple food for you. It’s easy to make, super tasty, and only takes a couple minutes to make. No doubt, this is the best spicy noodle soup in the world, and it’s hard to see that changing anytime soon, especially with the wide variety of flavor options available and Nongshim’s dedication to consumer research.

Do you want to learn more about ramen? Check out this Bokksu Market page. It has all of the information you need and more!

Author Bio

Shin Ramen: The Spicy Staple of South Korea's Noodle Soup Scene


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