The Best and Worst of Korean Spicy Noodles (Warning: Try at Your Own Risk!)
You’ve seen it all. Countless of spicy noodle challenges attempted by social media influencers, family, friends, or even yourself! Team MTC decided to attempt to beat the heat and rate 8 Korean ramen instant noodle bowls according to the level of spice, taste, as well as texture of the noodles on a scale of 1 to 10. All of the instant ramen bowls can be conveniently found in local supermarkets as well as Korean marts.
To allay any potential bias and second guesses, I assigned an alphabet to each ramen bowl to conceal its identity. After each bowl of noodles was cooked, they were taken out and placed in bowls with their corresponding alphabet labels. Members of Team MTC then jumped right into tasting every bowl. It was hilarious watching members perspire and crying out for water.
Time for the big reveal!
Bowl A – OTTOGI SESAME RAMEN BOWL ($1.80)
The broth is seasoned with a sesame-flavoured oil that has a very mild heat. The added egg block created a richer texture for the broth. It is good enough a bowl to pair with some leftover vegetables and eggs in your fridge if you’re feeling too lazy to grab lunch. The noodles had a slight spongy bite.
Bowl B – OTTOGI YUEL RAMYOM BOWL ($1.60)
Overall, a very satisfying bowl of instant ramen. The soup is a beef-based broth with a subtle mushroom flavour. There is a slight fire to keep spicy lovers interested but I found it to be more peppery than spicy. The texture of the noodles was ordinary, though.
Bowl C – NONGSHIM SHIN CUP ($1.60)
This has been one of my go-to instant noodles since I was young. I realized it pales in comparison to the other ramen bowl contenders. The soup had a thin texture, with hardly any discernible spice. I found the noodles thick and chewy, but the soup does the noodles injustice.
Bowl D – SAMYANG HONEY CHEESE BIG BOWL ($2.60)
The honey cheese big bowl delivers an assembly of dry ramen with an interesting sweet cheese seasoning. Just like it sounds, the seasoning was overwhelmingly cheesy and sweet. Unlike the other spicy ramen, this instant noodles takes on a creamy white appearance. However, there’s a sharp spiciness that sets in seconds after you bite into it. The texture of the noodles leaves much to be desired though.
Bowl E – SAMYANG CHEESE HOT CHICKEN ($2.60)
The cheese hot chicken was definitely one of the better dry ramens we had. In terms of spiciness, I’d definitely rank it on the hotter end of the scale. The cheese does help to douse the fire, so you’ll get a lingering fiery heat that might last for minutes (or hours for some). Beyond the heat, I guess I could describe the seasoning as savoury spicy chicken with melted cheese. The noodles have a good, thick and chewy texture.
Bowl F – NONGSHIM CHAMPONG CUP NOODLES ($1.60)
The broth had a light seafood seasoning that pairs well with the, at best, average noodles. Though it was slightly spicier, it did not leave much of an impression.
Bowl G – SAMYANG HOT CHICKEN FLAVOUR ($1.90)
The little cup that took the world by storm, this baby is the reason why the Korean spicy noodle challenge began in the first place. Like Samyang’s other family members, the noodles are thicker and chewier as compared to other ramens in this article. Mixing the noodles well will quickly coat it with the fragrant and lightly sweet Chilli sauce. An irrepressible fire kicks in soon after, which may leave you crying out, just like a few of our team members did.
Bowl H – SAMYANG CURRY HOT CHICKEN FLAVOUR ($2.60)
The spiciness of the sauce is surprisingly nowhere near it’s predecessors’, though the heat is still comparable to that of the instant ramen bowls. The sauce takes on a sweet curry layer that I found slightly overwhelming. It was more hearty in comparison, with discernible bits of potatoes and carrots.
Taste Test Results: Revealing The Best and the Worst Spicy Korean Instant Noodles
The Worst: Bowl D – SAMYANG HONEY CHEESE BIG BOWL. The team unanimously rated D as our least favourite in terms of the level of spice and taste. It has a slightly funky aftertaste that we did not really appreciate. The heat was also somewhat inconsistent, with some MTC members getting the heat (unfortunately) while the others unable to detect any fire.
The Best: Bowl E – SAMYANG CHEESE HOT CHICKEN. The team unanimously voted bowl E as the best too! Though the lingering shiok heat might make you lose your tongue, the taste was superb in comparison to the other 7 instant ramens.
We definitely had a lot of fun conquering the ramen bowls. Of course, our views on the instant ramen noodles aren’t absolute. Let us know if we have missed out on any noteworthy ramen bowls!
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