Top 4 Instant Ramen Picks for 2024: Quick and Tasty – Bokksu Market

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Top 4 Instant Ramen Picks for 2024: Quick and Tasty

by Bokksu Staff

What do you see when you walk down the instant ramen aisle of an Asian grocery store in New York? Everything. Well, at least that’s what it feels like. There are so many options that I sometimes wonder if I’m looking at all of the instant ramen varieties in the world, which is absurd because that would run into thousands. Nevertheless, there are still too many choices.

Instant cup ramen noodles

I know for sure that I can’t be the only one who feels this way, which is why I think a lot of people would benefit from a curated list of the best instant ramen products of 2024. I was willing to sample dozens of ramen to find the best so you don’t have to.

Helping me on this quest were my trusty teammates at Bokksu Market. It took some time, immense effort, and more than a few slurps, but we finished the tasks and got the ultimate instant ramen list ready. Enjoy!

Our Instant Ramen Quest

Granted, ramen is a delicious, dare I say, universal meal. However, tasting different versions revealed that while some are great, others don’t have the best taste. We didn’t let this stop us, though. This was important work, and we saw it through to the end, with each panel member tasting at least a dozen instant ramen products in the week it took us to achieve our goal. We then sorted and evaluated them based on the sample results. By the end, we had a comprehensive list of the 4 best instant ramen varieties. Check it out below.

Omori Kimchi Jjigae Ramen - The Exquisite One

Omori Kimchi Jjigae Ramen


What we loved: Contains the taste of real kimchi. Healthy food option.

Great for: Adding to your pantry. Eating with guests or family at the table.

Whoever came up with the idea to merge two of Asia’s favorite foods into one snackable product is a genius. It may not be as spicy as most ramen noodle products, but the Omori Kimchi Jjigae Ramen more than deserves its spot at the top of our list.

The term kimchi jjigae refers to a type of stew that’s popular in Asia for its taste and health benefits. This instant ramen product includes a packet of kimchi stew for the soup base.

I must admit, we were a bit skeptical about this at first. Kimchi is a traditional, homemade Korean dish that typically contains scallions (green onions), pork, and seafood. Do the manufacturers have what it takes to pull it off at scale? Apparently they do, because the noodles tasted exactly like real kimchi!

This was an incredible feat on its own and I must commend the manufacturers for going all out for their customers.

For context, kimchi tastes better as it ages. So, if you want to get the best taste out of kimchi jjigae, one would have to make it with older and suitably fermented kimchi. This will not only bring out the best flavors but also offer more probiotics, which are microorganisms that promote gut health.

From my experience and that of other members of the team, many of whom I consider “kimchi experts,” the kimchi used in the stew was aged just right. It also complemented the ramen noodles. While this meal was spicy, it wasn’t what I would call fiery ramen. So, if you’re a lover of intense heat, you might want to consider adding some of your favorite spice while cooking. Alternatively, you could add extra spicy kimchi to it.

If you’re a fan of kimchi but can’t find the time to make it as often as you like, this product will make a fantastic addition to your pantry.

Omori Kimchi Jjigae Ramen (4-pack)

Name a better duo than kimchi and ramen; we'll wait! This kimchi jjigae (stew) flavored ramen is a popular snack in Korea. The traditional dish includes pork, scallions, and sometimes seafood. Expect a spicy, but not too spicy, flavor as you're eating this instant noodle soup.

All you need is a pan, boiling water, kimchi jjigae ramen, and four minutes for a delicious snack! Don't be shy; add some extra kimchi on top for a blast of flavor.

Common Allergens: Fish, Shellfish, Wheat, Soy. Processed in a Facility That Also Contains: Milk, Eggs, Tree Nuts, Peanuts.

4 x 5.64 oz

Hikari Menraku Ramen: White & Creamy Tonkotsu - The Elevated One

Hikari Menraku Ramen: White & Creamy Tonkotsu

What we loved: Super-delicious and creamy white broth.

Great for: Lovers of restaurant-style ramen noodle dishes.

If you ask anyone who’s lived in Japan about their favorite types of ramen, the majority of them will have tonkotsu ramen among their top 3.

This isn’t speculation. I actually asked this question to every member of our panel before we even began. People who were born in Japan or had spent time there held tonkotsu ramen in high regard, which makes sense as it’s a staple evening meal at restaurants in the country.

The Hikari Menraku Ramen: White & Creamy Tonkotsu was attempting to bring the same restaurant-grade ramen to your kitchen, and I knew that if they could pull this off, they would become an instant favorite among many members of our team. Why? Because I know the grueling process involved in the making of this type of ramen.

Tonkotsu ramen is a dish that originated in Fukuoka, where it’s also known as Hakata ramen. It’s traditionally prepared by boiling pork bones in water for as long as 18 hours. Then comes the careful addition of broth ingredients such as garlic, ginger, onion, and pork fat. To take all of that effort and put it into an instant ramen would be no small feat.

I may not be a tonkotsu ramen expert, but I could instantly tell upon my first taste of the Hikari Menraku Ramen product that it was a winner. The instant ramen didn’t just try to imitate Hakata ramen, but provided an elevated take on the dish with a umami-rich and creamy white broth, which is different from the typical cloudy appearance of tonkotsu broth.

All I had to do was wait for the other members of my team to confirm my opinion. They loved it just as much. I remember them using words like “real,” “authentic,” and “quality” while praising the instant noodles.

Hikari Menraku Ramen: White & Creamy Tonkotsu (2 Servings)

At the end of the day in Japan, you’re sure to find many people sitting at a counter enjoying a bowl of hot ramen soup - one of the most popular flavors being tonkotsu! Now, you too can enjoy restaurant-quality tonkotsu ramen from Japan with these instant noodles! In addition to chewy noodles, the included broth is rich, savory, umami, ultra creamy, and oh-so-delicious!

Common Allergens: Fish, Wheat, Soy.

6.7 oz

Sapporo Ichiban Miso Ramen - The One for Every Day

Sapporo Ichiban Miso Ramen

What we loved: Umami-packed Japanese spice.

Great for: People who like to eat ramen regularly 

The Sapporo Ichiban Miso Ramen treats you to six different types of miso (fermented soybean paste). This packs all of the natural umami goodness into one meal.

The product also comes with a packet of Japanese seven-spice, also known as shichimi togarashi, which typically contains black and white sesame seeds, sesame oil, and many other ingredients. Even though the noodle tasted great, it was this seasoning packet of spice that caught our attention and made it eligible for our top 4.

Sapporo Ichiban has been making instant versions of popular Asian dishes for many years and is no novice to the industry. However, I must commend them for the work they put into this product.

This is an all-natural instant ramen that comes with no trans fat or cholesterol, which are two elements that can be bad for your health. Simply boil water, add its content, sprinkle the spice on it, and your dish will be ready to eat in minutes. One of our panelists discovered that draining out the water before mixing the spice made the noodles taste even better.

Miso generally tastes salty, and many people add sugar to counteract this taste. However, Sapporo Ichiban Miso Ramen comes with added sugar, so you don’t need to bother with that. 

If you’re looking for instant ramen that you can eat on a regular basis without worrying about too much unsaturated fat or artificial ingredients, the Sapporo Ichiban Miso Ramen is the one for you. Most of us agreed that we could eat it every week without getting bored of the flavors. Not many instant ramen products can pull that off.

Sapporo Ichiban Miso Ramen (5-pack)

This miso ramen from the Sapporo Ichiban brand combines not one but six different types of miso for a serious dose of all-natural umami savoriness. Japanese seven-spice, or shichimi, includes ground Japanese pepper, black and white sesame seeds, hemp seeds, ground ginger, nori, poppy seeds, and roasted orange peel. To round out the dish, sprinkle some in from the provided packet!

Common Allergens: Milk, Fish, Shellfish, Tree Nuts, Wheat, Soy.

5 x 3.55 oz

Shirakiku Sanukiya Nama Fresh Udon Bowl - The Unexpected One

Shirakiku Sanukiya Nama Fresh Udon Bowl

What we loved: Basically a thicker version of instant ramen.

Great for: Ramen or udon noodle lovers who prefer a fish broth.

I was already rounding up my list when someone suggested I try the Shirakiku Sanukiya Nama Fresh Udon Bowl before making any final conclusion. Like you, I remember thinking that the idea of ranking a udon product in a list of the best instant ramen was not only unexpected but absurd.

However, this suggestion came from someone with impressive culinary instincts, so I decided to take her word for it and give the product a try. It turned out to be the best decision I made since the start of the quest.

Shirakiku Sanukiya Nama Fresh Udon Bowl is not like your typical udon. The hot broth is not as light as one would expect. Rather, it contains a rich combo of bonito, a tuna-like fish that’s used to make katsuobushi, a popular Japanese cooking ingredient. The broth tasted and looked a lot like ramen noodle soup. The only major indicator that this was an udon bowl was the size of the chewy noodles, which were much thicker than those of ramen noodles. 

To further enrich the meal, I recommend that you top it with some tempura shrimp or fish cake.

Shirakiku Sanukiya Nama Fresh Udon Bowl: Original

Chewy, thick udon noodles with a delightful bonito broth and veg, need we say more? This fresh udon bowl is an easy (and quick!) way to craft an authentic Japanese meal with minimal cleanup. Eat it as a snack, or top it with fish cakes, spring onion, and tempura shrimp for a satisfying meal.

Common Allergens: Fish, Wheat, Soy.

7.76 oz

Our Research

Now that I’ve revealed our curated list of the 4 best instant ramen in 2024, it’s time to let you in on our entire process. Tasting, sorting, and evaluating ramen noodles is a lot more complex than it might seem. One would need a suitable understanding of Asian cuisine and a discerning palate. Thankfully, the Bokksu team has all of that and more. Let’s take you through our credentials, the testing process, and the products that almost made the cut.

Our Qualifications and Process

Our story starts in 2015, when founder Danny Taing returned to the United States from Japan with a box full of local specialty snacks. Everyone who tasted these treats agreed that they were exquisite, but David couldn’t find them anywhere in the US.

Spurred by a drive to bridge cultures through authentic food, he launched the Bokksu Snack Box subscription service in 2016. Five years later, Bokksu Market emerged with the same guiding principles but a focus on Asian grocery essentials for cooking and eating.

To curate this list of instant ramen varieties, I enlisted the help of core members of the Bokksu team, including bloggers, food critics, editors, QA experts, and content creators. Each member had ample knowledge of ramen noodles and the tastes of our ever-growing audience.

Our Process

The first step we had to take was to decide which noodles were worth testing out of the thousands of varieties on the market. To do that, I had everyone else hand me a list of their top 5 instant ramen.

From there, I had reduced my sample size to just 43 products (Shirakiku Sanukiya Nama Fresh Udon Bowl was added as a late entry, taking the number up to 44).

We split the tasks and tasted each product twice: first by strictly following the package instructions and second by adding toppings such as eggs, meat, and vegetables. We then scored the products based on the following criteria:

  • Broth flavor

  • Aroma

  • Uniqueness

  • Noodle texture

  • Broth consistency

  • Spiciness

  • Improvement level after adding topping

Next, we ranked the products based on their scores and came up with a reliable and honest top 4 list.

Our Disappointments

I’m very happy with the products that made the top 4. However, I can’t help but reminisce about some of the varieties that nearly made the cut but fell short for one reason or another. Sapporo Ichiban Original Ramen came as close as any other sample. However, it did not have the same flavor depth as its miso version. I know Samyang Buldak Ramen Bowl: Jjajang Hot Chicken is considered a classic thanks to its hearty chicken flavor, but it failed to match our top 4 in terms of quality and taste. The story was the same with Nongshim Shin Ramyun Black Spicy Ramen, another product with a worldwide reputation. 

Why Instant Ramen

Instant noodles

Ramen is an affordable and awe-inspiring representation of Japanese food culture. It’s not just a staple meal in Asia but in many other regions of the world, including the United States.

Instant Ramen Varieties: From Brothy to Dry

Instant ramen is one of the hardest foods to categorize. There are just so many unique varieties. Some are brothy, filled with soup packets that are responsible for all of the noodles’ flavor. Samyang Buldak Ramen: Hot Chicken is an ideal example with its bouncy noodles and buldak-flavored broth.

Other kinds of instant ramen are on the dry side, such as the crunchy Tokyo Ramen Noodle, which can be eaten as a lone snack or sprinkled on salads.

Instant Ramen Pairings

Ramen may taste good on its own, but you can hardly get the complete experience without pairing it with other dishes and ingredients. Eggs are probably the most common toppings for instant ramen in the world. Other foods or ingredients that pair well with an instant ramen recipe are kimchi, frozen vegetables, furikake seasoning, cheese, nori seaweed, rice vinegar, bok choy, soy sauce, chili crisp, and more.

The Culmination of the Journey

Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to get to the best part: eating a bowl of instant noodles. Simply explore the Bokksu Market Instant Ramen Collection to find countless products, including some from our top 4 list of the best instant noodles. 

This article is the third in a series focusing on the personal exploration and meticulous selection of Asian grocery products, with each piece a narrative of discovery, quality, and unmatched flavor.

Author Bio

Top 4 Instant Ramen Picks for 2024: Quick and Tasty


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