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What makes ramen noodles so special? (thetakeout.com)
71 points by hhs 28 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 27 comments



This was a wonderful article. So much more lyrical, while informative, than I've come to expect from a random article on the interwebs. It was a delight to read from beginning to end, and I learned a lot. I've bookmarked it for reference to continue to study, because I definitely find the "don't try to at home" comment to be a challenge I'm willing to except.


I love restaurant ramen, but I haven't found anything approaching its quality to make at home. I'd love to just buy some fresh/frozen noodle nests like they have in the picture. Are there any good brands of packaged ramen noodles in the fridge/freezer aisle in the bay area? Broth seems a little easier for a home cook to try vs pulling noodles from scratch.


Sun brand noodles are used by a lot of shops and I imagine you could find in the Bay area if you called around.


I eat a lot of noodle soup and gotta agree… in other soups, noodles are just invisible filler, but in ramen, the noodles actually standout. Have to give a shout out to Chinese hand pulled noodles too. It’s all about the chewiness.

That said, ramen is over-hyped. I prefer beef pho instead if I eat noodle soups with any frequency. I feel better after eating a bowl of pho than ramen.



Pho, korean and chinese noodles are amazing. Yet, all that people can talk about is japanese ramen :(


I eat broth-based noodle dishes often. Maybe once every two or three days (I even review them on Instagram). I have to agree with sentiment - some of my favorite dishes, besides tonkotsu ramen:

Lhaksa - curry-based broth with thicker round noodles. Usually pretty spicy!

Pho Ga - chicken-broth based pho; nice departure from beef pho, and seriously delicious.

Khao Soi - a Thai dish; from what I've had of it, seems like a lighter Thai curry broth with noodles similar to lhaksa. Delicious! Had it my first time the other day.


Khao Soi is northern Thai dish. Originated in Chiang Mai or surroundings aka Lanna.

It is very difficult to find it in Thailand outside of Chiang Mai not to mention outside of Thailand.

The few times I’ve had it outside Chiang Mai it was very different. Too sweet, and crispy noodle was always a round, factory type.

But for sure it’s top 5 noodle dishes for me.

Other notable favourites:

- Taiwanese beef noodle

- Boat noodle with wonton


It'a not difficult to find in bangkok


>Lhaksa - curry-based broth with thicker round noodles. Usually pretty spicy!

Guessing you mean https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laksa

It has two main variants based on coconut milk or tamarind. Also more variants, see article linked.


I don't eat beef, and pho does nothing for me. Ramen is delicious. I conclude ramen's magic is in the noodle as much as the broth, whereas pho is mostly the broth.


Yeah, pho broth is pretty fantastic, but a lot of the flavor is in the beef stock, so if you don't eat beef, I don't see much point in pho (yes, I've heard veggie pho is a thing, but that just doesn't seem like the same dish at all). I judge a pho place almost entirely on its broth.

But yeah, the noodles aren't really anything special. I treat them like rice and eat them with other stuff (meat and veggie toppings), dipping it into some sriracha. I don't add sriracha or hoisin sauce to the broth unless it's not good, and I don't bother coming back if I feel that's necessary.

So, if you're not going for the broth, you might as well not bother with pho. Ramen is good, as are a number of other Asian noodle dishes. In fact, if you haven't already, consider trying Korean-style jajangmyeun (black bean paste noodles), which is fantastic as a vegetarian dish, and also good with pork belly if you're fine with that.


Honestly it sounds like you had American pho, not vietnamese pho


Pho ga?


Honestly, I much prefer udon to ramen. Ramdon doesn't hold a candle to it imo.


I like pho, and the standard noodles on it. But you know what’s even better? Pho but with ramen noodles instead.

Lots of places that do pho and wonton noodle soup (the style where they use ramen/egg noodles AND put the wontons in) will do it for you.


Is that basically just pho with egg noodles rather than rice noodles? If so, I agree.


Why not talk about all of them? There's not enough good and affordable noodle soup choices where I live anyways, and I want this to change.


Love Pho. Havent tried much Korean noodles but Chinese noodles simply cant compare to the texture/taste of ramen, imo.


Chinese noodles is a big term to encompass a huge variety of noodle soup. Go to hongkong and get some noodle soup and you'll forget about ramen. Unfortunately you can't get good chinese noodles in the US hence this type of reaction :(


The hand-pulled and fried type are decent.


My favourite by far is Taiwanese beef noodle soup. If you like soups and noodles - that’s not to be missed.


It’s partly due to the popularity of anime.


I was thinking it's more of a college thing. It was a staple of early college life and sometimes after graduation due to how inexpensive it was when bought as a bulk purchase. Combined with some cheap spices and veggies and this is your basic college survival life for under $50 a month. At least it was like that 15-20 years ago. Prices don't seem to have gone up too much since either.


A pack of ramen noodles with a can of mushrooms, canned chicken or spam, and a little chedder cheese tossed in is still my guilty pleasure. It's terrible for you, but it's delicious and cheap.


I used to love ramen w/o soup with fried egg (runny yolk) and fried spam. It's also not healthy at all, but it's delicious and easy. If you want to get fancy, squirt some lime juice or something on it to make it not feel so heavy.


It was the staple of many of my college meals. I would cook some young bok choy in the broth and then sprinkle it with scallions and some garlic chips I fried up while the broth was going. All very cheap and tasty veggies to garnish with.




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