Best Korean Ramyeon | Best Brands, Flavours and More
What is better to eat on a cold day after many hours at work, than delicious Korean ramyeon? Ramyeon is one of the most convenient Korean food dishes to eat: you can buy it at convenience stores in Korea, just add some water and you have a decent meal. Add some of your own ingredients to it – like eggs, cheese, or vegetables – and you have a delicious, balanced dish.
No wonder Koreans love eating ramyeon! And, lucky for us, there are so many different varieties of Korean ramyeon out there you can try. Some are spicy, some are hearty, and some are so spicy they inspired a challenge to see who can eat one cup of ramyeon in one go. Let’s take a look at the best ramyeon in South Korea!
Instant ramyeon, also known as ramen, is a type of Korean noodle dish that is widely enjoyed around the world. The history of Korean instant ramyeon dates back to the 1950s when the first packaged ramyeon was introduced by a company called Samyang Foods. However, it wasn’t until the 1960s that instant ramyeon became widely popular among Koreans due to its convenience and affordability. The popularity of instant ramyeon only continued to grow in the following decades, and today it is a staple food in Korea and enjoyed by people all over the world. Over time, many different varieties and flavors of instant ramyeon have been developed, catering to a range of tastes and preferences.
What Is Korean Ramyeon?
Korean ramyeon is a type of Korean instant noodles that comes with soup powder and some dried additives – like eggs, chili flakes, or vegetables. You simply add water and voila, you have a nice, warm dish. Ramyeon is characterized by the signature wavy/curly form.
Ramyeon is seen as a quick and easy meal, that is why you can buy it in many convenience stores. There, it is often sold in a cup – called cup ramyeon – and is prepared by simply pouring the contents of the flavor packet on top of the noodles, and covering it with boiling water. Close the lid, and after 3~4 minutes you can enjoy a nice hot cup of ramyeon.
Cup ramyeon is often seen as a quick dish for students or working people after a long day or eaten during hiking or a night out. You can easily fit it in your bag and add hot water from a thermos whilst you’re on the go!
You can also buy ramyeon packages in Korean supermarkets. These come packaged in plastic and you simply add the noodles, soup powder, and additives to a pot and boil for 3-4 minutes to eat. These noodles are also often added in restaurants to dishes like Kimchi Jjigae, Tteokbokki, and other soup-based foods.
You can customize this kind of ramyeon very easily by adding your favorite ingredients. You can think of adding a fresh egg – 1 minute before it is done boiling – some fresh vegetables, sliced cheese, chili flakes, and more! You can let your imagination run wild.
Ramyeon is also used as a well-known pick-up line. After a date or a night out, if you are asked to “eat some ramyeon before you go” (라면 먹고 갈래?), you are asked to stay the night and sleep over. So beware when answering this question!
Korean ramyeon is distinctly different from Japanese ramen. Korean ramyeon is an instant dish, while Japanese ramen is usually prepared fresh in a restaurant. It is very uncommon to have a ramyeon restaurant – although you can usually get it as a ‘side dish’ – but Japanese ramen restaurants are quite common! Flavors are also distinct. Korean ramyeon is usually far spicier, and Japanese ramen is often based on miso.
Not sure where to start? Want to try out all kinds of Korean snacks? Why not try a Korean snackbox which brings new Korean snacks, including ramyeon, to you every month. Click here for more info about Korean snack boxes.
Best Korean Ramyeon
Before we go into the most famous Korean ramyeon brands, let’s get one thing out of the way: the spelling. Some brands say ramyeon, others ramyun, and some even say ramen on their packaging. Generally, ramen refers to the Japanese dish, whereas ramyeon and ramyun both refer to the Korean dish. However, this spelling was standardized only a couple of years ago, so some older brands still use ramen on their packaging. So it all just depends on how the Korean (라면) is transcribed to English. Now let’s go over the best Korean noodles.
1. Nongshim Shin Ramyeon (농심 라면)
Nongshim Shin Ramyeon is probably the most famous ramyeon in Korea and abroad. In Korea, it is a staple in many households and you can always find it lying around in a cupboard. Nongshim Shin Ramyeon is quite a spicy Korean ramen, especially if you are not used to Korean spice, and contains small beef chunks and vegetable flakes.
Nongshim Shin Ramyeon has two varieties: Red and Black. The basic red variety is the standard, spicy soup. The black variety is a premium option that comes with a packet of seolleongtang (ox bone soup) to make the soup even heartier. Of all ramyeon brands, this is probably the most popular and best ramyeon in Korean.
Click here to buy Nongshim Shin Ramyeon on Amazon.
2. Buldak Bokkeum Myeon (불닭볶음면)
Samyang Buldak Bokkeum Myeon (삼양불닭볶음면) is a ramyeon that is best on a popular Korean dish: Buldak. Buldak, which literally means fire chicken, is spicy grilled chicken. This ramyeon has the flavor of that barbeque dish and is so incredibly spicy that it led to a YouTube challenge: the Korean Fire Noodle Challenge. Many Koreans and people abroad tried, on camera, to eat one whole package of the super spicy Buldak Bokkeum Myeon. As it tastes almost like fire, many people failed.
This ramyeon is not a soup-based ramyeon, as the water is drained after the noodles are boiled. What remains are noodles covered in a volcano-like sauce, which is guaranteed to make you sweat.
Besides the regular spicy option, there is also a super spicy variety for the real daredevils. You can imagine if the regular one is already thought of as too spicy by Koreans and foreigners alike, how spicy the super spicy variety will be…
Click here to buy Buldak Bokkeum Myeon on Amazon.
3. Ottogi Jin Ramyeon (오뚜기 진라면)
Ottogi Jin Ramyeon is the second most popular kind of ramyeon in South Korea. It was launched in 1988 and comes in two flavors: mild and spicy. The mild version has a very basic, hearty taste and is great for cold winter nights. The spicy option definitely has a kick to it, but is not overly spicy and can still be enjoyed by people who can only eat a little bit of spice. This brand is often taken on hikes or used at home. It is delicious when you add an egg and some sliced cheese to the soup.
Click here to buy Ottogi Jin Ramyeon on Amazon.
4. Nongshim Budae Jjigae Ramyeon (농심 부대찌개)
Budae Jjigae, or army stew, is a popular stew eaten in South Korean restaurants (and at home). It consists of all kinds of ‘leftover foods’, such as spam, sausages, canned beans, kimchi, noodles, and cheese. This delicious stew was made into an instant ramyeon, so it can easily be enjoyed at home as well!
This ramyeon includes noodles, a Budae Jjigae soup powder, and a lot of dried vegetables and pieces of sausage. Simply add hot water and you have instant Budae Jjigae at home. Add an egg and some cheese to make it even more delicious!
Click here to buy Nongshim Budae Jjigae Ramyeon on Amazon.
5. Samyang Jjajang Buldak Bokkeum Myeon(삼양 짜장불닭볶음면)
Jjajangmyeon are noodles covered in a sweet, hearty black bean sauce. This black sauce is made with Chunjang (black bean paste), which consists of a mixture of soybeans, flour, and sugar. Samyang added this sweet black bean sauce to its spicy ramyeon to create Jjajang Buldak Bokkeum Myeon. Like regular Buldak Bokkeum Myeon, this kind of ramyeon comes without a soup. The noodles are thick and chewy. It is still quite spicy, but nowhere near as spicy as the regular version of Buldak Bokkeum Myeon.
Click here to buy Samyang Jjajang Buldak Bokkeum Myeon on Amazon.
6. Ottogi Sesame Ramyeon (오뚜기 참깨라면)
If you do not like very spicy food, Ottogi Sesame Ramyeon is a great option for you. The soup is based on sesame and egg and is very hearty and warming. The package includes some nice sesame oil, which makes the soup very filling. There is a slight kick, but it is not spicy and is often handled well by most people. If you want to customize this ramyeon, you can add a fresh egg to it as well.
Click here to buy Ottogi Sesame Ramyeon on Amazon.
7. Nongshim Chapagetti (농심 짜파게티)
Nongshim Chapagetti is the instant version of Jjajangmyeon. Most Koreans say it is the best instant version of this noodle dish and resembles the flavor the most, although the noodles are thinner. The noodles are covered in a thick, sticky black sauce and boiling water is added. After a few minutes, the water is drained and you get a delicious mix of noodles and Jjajang sauce. The taste is sweet, a little oniony, and not spicy at all.
Click here to buy Nongshim Chapagetti on Amazon.
8. Jjapaguri Noodles (Famous Parasite Noodles)
After the movie Parasite, many people wondered about the noodle dish they made in the movie. In fact, it is not one ramyeon, but two kinds of ramyeon combined! Chapaghetti (짜파게티) is combined with Neoguri spicy seafood(너구리), which is an instant udon dish that comes with a spicy, kelp-based broth.
In order to make this dish, you have to cook a little bit yourself, but it is not difficult. You add the noodles from both packets to boiling water for about 3-4 minutes. Drain most of the water, leaving around 6 tablespoons and add the whole packet of Chapagetti powder soup sauce and 1/3 packet of Neoguri powder soup sauce. Also, add the vegetable oil from the Chapagetti sauce. If you like spicy food, you can add some more Neoguri powder. Mix well and serve! In Parasite, they added some steak to the dish as well. Simply cut the steak into small pieces, cook the pieces, and add them to the top of the noodles. Enjoy!
How To Prepare Korean Ramyeon Noodles
Preparing instant Korean noodles can be super easy. If you buy them in a cup, just open up all the packets, add hot water and mix everything up. But you can take your noodle experience to the next level by adding extra ingredients. We’ll go over some of things you can do to spicen things up a bit.
Start by adding some extra ingredients like vegetables (spring onions, leak, carrots, etc), eggs (add a raw egg to the hot water or opt for a semicooked egg to top things off), kimchi (make your soup a bit spicier by adding kimchi to the ramen or have it as a side) and cheese (Koreans absolutely love adding cheese to ramen. Just add it on top and let it melt all over your noodles).
Figure out what tastes best for you by trying the extra ingredients with different types of ramyeon.
Tip: don’t overcook your instant noodles. Stop boiling them once they are almost ready, as they’ll still get softer
Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the most popular Korean ramyeon brands are Nongshim, Samyang and Ottogi.
In Korean convenience stores you can buy cup instant noodles starting from 1000 krw or even less.
From all the popular brands, Shin Ramyun is supposedly the spiciest one available.