Eva’s Eats: Instant Ramen…the first noodles in space!


The title might seem a little weird, but seriously, they were! If nothing else, their inclusion in NASA’s interplanetary meal plan speaks to the popularity and convenience of this inexpensive, no, dirt cheap, Asian expat. Some claim that if one were to eat a package of “ramen” for every meal for a year, they would only accrue an annual $150 grocery bill!

Now, I’m not saying you should go out and do this (it may be just about the unhealthiest meal plan I’ve ever heard of), but the point stands: instant ramen is pretty much a must for anyone on a tight budget! It goes without saying, that there is a flavor for just about everyone, and all for an average of about $0.37 a package!

By now, everyone pretty much knows there are about six thousand different ways to eat instant noodles, or ramen: cooked, uncooked, with a slice of cheese, or an added slice of pork. I’m going to take this opportunity to elaborate on these options and provide you with 3 ideas to get you started on getting the most flavor out of your noodles.

  1. Chex Mix:

The first time I saw someone eating an uncooked brick of ramen, I thought they had come out of some weird, parallel universe that lacked the ability to boil water. imagine how shocked I was when I found out it wasn’t all that uncommon; Chef David Chang of Momofuku fame has been doing it since he was a child. Despite that, I wasn’t about to open up a package and sprinkle on the seasoning just because. What I did find, though, is that crushing and mixing the noodles up with something crunchy made the transition a little easier. Below is a recipe for a quick, unbaked, non mini-fridge necessary spicy ramen snack:

  • 1 package Nongshim Shin Ramyun- Gourmet Spicy (this is my favorite noodle variety. It’s a Korean variant and it is so so good and has a nice kick to it on its own. If the spice is too much as a soup, I recommend adding a slice of melted cheddar cheese (to counterbalance the heat)
  • 1 c Chex (I like the honey kind as it adds a nice sweetness)
  • 1 c broken mini-pretzels (plain or mustard)
  • ½ c peanuts or other nut if allergic
  • 1 c Garlic bagel bits and/or cheese crackers
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • While still in the package, break the noodle brick. Empty it into a large bowl. Discard (or keep for something else) the package of dried vegetables. Add the Chex, pretzels, peanuts/nuts, bagel bits and/or cheese crackers. Drizzle oil over the top. Mix until everything is coated. Add ramen seasoning packet and garlic powder. Mix together. Store in an airtight container.
  1. Asian Ramen Slaw:

This one I needed a little help with, because in my mind, traditional slaw is made with mayonnaise(and the thought of ramen noodles and mayonnaise just did not do anything for me). Luckily, I found a great recipe that fit the bill, and with a little tweaking, was able to make it dorm friendly.

  • 1 package Maruchan Oriental Flavor noodles
  • 1 bag pre-mixed/shredded coleslaw (cabbage and carrot)
  • Salt (add at the end because there is salt in a lot of the other ingredients)
  • pepper to taste (I like white pepper for this, but it’s a bit more expensive, so black is fine as well)
  • ⅓ c soy sauce mixed with 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 scallions chopped or snipped on a bias (not sure what the dorm rules are on knives so clean scissors will work as well)
  • Break apart noodles and combine with shredded coleslaw mix in a large boil. Snip or slice the green onions and add them in . In a separate bowl, combine vinegar, oil, honey, soy sauce, and noodle seasoning packet. Pour over the slaw mixture and combine well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and store in the fridge. On a side note, slaw is usually better a few hours after being made, as it gives the vinegar time to ferment the cabbage.
  1. As authentic as we can get from a package of instant noodles, ramen:

From Bennington, the closest you can get to real ramen is this delicious little shop an hour away  in Albany called Tanpopo Ramen and Sake Cafe. The closest you can get to really delicious ramen is Gaku ramen about 2 ½ to 3 hrs (depending on who’s driving) in Burlington which is fabulous (if you get a chance, go!). They’re both worth a trip but unlike in Japan, a bowl is going to put you back at least ten bucks, depending on what you want in it. The cheapest and most convenient option is to make it yourself, which is impossible to do in a dorm if you want the authentic bone-dashi broth. All is not lost though. You can make something close to real ramen with just a microwave, a package of chicken flavor ramen, scallions, an egg, and just a few other ingredients right in you dorm. Here’s what you need.

  • 1 package Sapporo Ichiban chicken ramen
  • 2 eggs (hard boiled would be best, here’s how to make them in a microwave https://m.wikihow.com/Hardboil-Eggs-in-a-Microwave) peeled
  • 3 scallions (cut or snipped on a bias)
  • 1 c frozen spinach
  • 1 pat butter
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced, chopped, pressed…however you can get it done)
  • 1 tbsp chili sauce or sriracha (optional)
  • 2 c water
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • Prepare spinach with pat of butter, ginger, and garlic in the microwave according to directions on the package.
  • In order to make the ramen, microwave 2 c of water on  high for 2 minutes in a microwave safe bowl. Add the ramen, soy sauce, and seasoning packet. Microwave for another 5 mins, but be careful not to overcook- no one likes bloated noodles!
  • When noodles are done, stir in hot spinach. Cut boiled eggs in half. Add along with scallions. Top with chili sauce if you are so inclined. It’s not authentic ramen, but it’s not bad, and with the cold weather on its way, this will certainly hit the spot.


I hope these recipes make your instant noodle experience a bit more interesting! With October on the horizon, next week I’m thinking about hitting us all where it hurts: the sweet tooth!