The first thought that crosses most people’s minds when the word ramen is mentioned is college students, especially students who have moved out and are living independently in a college dorm. However, another time that ramen might become a household favorite is during a time such as the global pandemic. Since the early weeks of the quarantine, I recall shuffling my way through Costco behind families that have shopping carts full of ramen packages.
For many AU students, ramen may be a quick, cheap source of carbohydrates packed with flavor, but, for myself, trying different flavors of ramen has almost become an obsession. Here are some of the newest flavors that I’ve found in the local supermarkets. These could be hard to find at your standard big box supermarket, but they’re worth the hunt, and shouldn’t be too tough to find if you can get to a nearby Asian market.
While I’ve tried other flavors from this brand, it was my first time trying cheese ramen. I never thought it was possible, in fact, for the two unlikely ingredients to be in the same bowl. If you’re looking for a more adventurous flavor, this is your best bet. The package contains a cheese powder packet with some chilli paste. Like other flavor options from this brand, the spice level is quite hefty for those with lower spice tolerance. The cheese adds a cooling effect that helps with the spice that sparks more interest than your average ramen packet.
As a big fan of the more glamorous black garlic tonkotsu found in local Japanese restaurants, I was curious to try this package of Nissin’s newest flavor on the shelf. I knew it wouldn’t be entirely up to par with the restaurant edition, but I was surprised to find the strength of the garlic flavor. The powder pack is full of a rich garlic cream that creates a thicker tonkotsu broth than Nissin’s regular tonkotsu flavor. I’m also a big fan of the black garlic oil that adds a sesame scent to my noodles.
Nissin has some of the most creative flavors that I decided to go with their newest flavor. The roast beef caught my eye because the regular five spice beef was already a favorite among my family. I was hoping for a flavor that reminded me of my childhood in Shanghai. In classic Shanghainese street food, these noodles would be available every evening in local night markets. While this instant version did not have the richest broth, it did manage to remind me of my favorite Chef Kang’s instant beef noodles. The package also has a beef paste that packs more flavor than the usual powdery base most North American instant noodles contain. If you’re looking for a unique beef flavor that doesn’t remind you of Mr. Noodles, this one is a must-try.