$50 for Instant Noodles? – Ichiran Ramen

I was at the local Asian Grocery store yesterday and saw an interesting display.

That’s right, a box of 5 packs of instant noodles for $49.99. That’s about $10 a serving. A far cry from the typical price of instant noodles. For example, Nongshim instant noodles are selling for about $0.70 a package on Amazon. That puts the Ichiran variety at about 14x more expensive.

Lets take a step back for a second, these are not your average instant noodles, they are Ichiran instant noodles. Ichiran, was founded in Fukuoka, Japan in 1960. Some food bloggers and other food writers have proclaimed it the “best ramen in Japan”. I have never been so I cannot comment on how good it is or how the instant version resembles the restaurant version. However, I will be comparing the instant version to other, far less expensive brands, and coming up with an opinion. When travel normalizes, I will make a point to visit a restaurant and update this post.

When you open the box, there are 5 packages.

…and here is what one of them looks like.

Inside, there are the noodles, a soup base, and a spice packet.

One thing I noticed is that unlike other instant ramen, the soup base was not in powdered form, but liquid. Just like other Ramen, you start by placing the noodles in boiling water (this one was 3 minutes), and then add the soup base.

Once that is done, transfer to bowl and add the spice. The package has a guide to how much spice to add depending on how spicy you want it. I added it all and found it was just spicy enough. Not as spicy as Nongshim for example.

After that, time to eat.

The broth had a mushroom or earthy type flavor and was good. The noodles were not that different from other instant noodles. What I did notice was that I did not get a feeling or taste of overly artificial ingredients that I get when eating other types of instant noodles. So was it worth it? In the end I would say no. Its an interesting experience, the broth is of better quality, but eating instant noodles for me, is an occasional guilty pleasure like eating junk food. The pleasure derived from this $10 pack, was not 14x more than from an average pack of instant noodles. If I want high quality ramen, I would wait and go to a restaurant. If it was late at night and I had a craving for it, a 70c package would easily satisfy and the $9.30 saved could go towards the real thing the next day.

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