Food Review

Instant noodle review

Ramen is classic to college campuses all around the US. Have we ever considered which brand is the best? Members of The Poly, including Anna Koenig ’21, Serge Piskun ’20, Crystal Vejar ’20, and I aim to find out.

For this tasting, we have sampled the following products in beef flavors: Nissin Noodle Bowl “Hot & Spicy,” Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup, Nissin Top Ramen “The Original,” and NongShim Shin Ramyun Noodle Soup. As alternatives to ramen, we have also considered: NongShim Pho, a Vietnamese rice noodle soup, and Maruchan Yakisoba, a teriyaki beef-flavored noodle. Each product was graded in the following categories, using a one to ten scale: aesthetic, smell, noodle, and broth. The sum of each category gave a total out of 40. This value, along with general comments from the Poly reviewers is listed below.

Nissin Noodle Bowl “Hot & Spicy”

21 pts
420 cal

This noodle bowl is most definitely both hot and spicy as advertised. However, it took away from the flavor itself. There is no beef taste in the broth, but rather an oily feeling and a strange aftertaste. The noodles are thinner than traditional instant ramen, but it is aesthetically pleasing. Noodles and aesthetics is where this noodle bowl shined.

Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup

16 pts
380 cal

Another contender for a classic pack of instant ramen, Top Ramen has the same type of noodles as the Maruchan Ramen noodle soup. A differentiating factor is this product’s flavorful, and less salty, broth. Aesthetically equal, this product had better broth and smell than its direct competitor.

Nissin Top Ramen “The Original”

18 pts
380 cal

This is what may be referred to as one of the classics. The noodles are thicker and more reminiscent of what one would expect from instant ramen. However, the broth is very salty and tasted only of warm water. This product won most of its points from noodles.

NongShim Pho

25 pts
200 cal

Immediately, the broth is fragrant with hints of cloves and cinnamon. Its taste was just as flavorful, and salty. The rice noodles, which are gluten-free, initially felt rubber-like, but paired well with the broth. This option felt the healthiest, considering its vegetables, spices, and calorie count.

Maruchan Yakisoba

25 pts
500 cal

It offers a sweet alternative to the otherwise sodium filled soups. Its sauce was smooth and paired well with ramen-style noodles. Although it lacked smell, this product was both aesthetically pleasing and a refreshing alternative. When asked which of the alternatives the reviewers would purchase again, three of the four volunteers opted for this product.

NongShim Shin Ramyun Noodle Soup

23 pts
500 cal

Labeled as “gourmet,” this noodle soup is spicy and flavorful, winning in the broth category. It includes mushrooms, and various vegetables, which increases its aesthetic appeal. Although it lacks in smell, it makes up for it in all other categories.


Out of the ramen options, NongShim Shin Ramyun Noodle Soup won in terms of points, but not in price. This product had the most flavorful broth, but at a cost. When considering the two cheapest alternatives, Nissin Top Ramen was a better contender than Maruchan in terms of taste. As for alternatives, both NongShim Pho and Maruchan Yakisoba are interesting to consider as they match in score. However, the style of food largely differs. Ultimately, each meal took roughly five minutes to cook and required limited kitchen tools. As a college meal to enjoy in a dorm room, all instant ramen comes out a winner.