We talked to FRANK, the amazing Ramen expert from 5amRamen about his knowledge and appreciation of all things RAMEN — including instant Ramen… we wanted to know the best versions out there to try! Here are his delicious recommendations.
Is there anything better than instant ramen for those frigid winter nights? You don’t even have to leave the house! I’m talking about “premium” instant ramen from Japan – the ones that make you feel like you’re at an actual ramen shop! This means quality soup, noodles, and toppings.
Among the hundreds of premium instant ramen I’ve eaten, below are five of my hand-picked favorites – all perfect for winter. From regional miso ramen to spicy hot ramen with crunchy onions, you’ll find these five below!
Smooth Soy Sauce Ramen
The Niigata region is one of the snowiest in Japan. Naturally, they love eating ramen during winter. This is no different in the little city of Tsubame-Sanjo. Tsubame-Sanjo is home to a hearty ramen style.
The soy sauce powered soup features a generous amount of pork back fat. This fat traps the heat and also provides a smooth-tasting sweetness. This instant ramen beautifully replicates this regional ramen, including the springy, thick noodles.
Hearty Miso Ramen
Sapporo City, Hokkaido is home to Japan’s most famous miso ramen style. In this miso ramen loving city, ramen group Sumire is king. Their official instant ramen features a thick layer of pork lard in the soup. This is just like at any of their actual restaurants.
Similar to the pork back fat in Niigata, this lard ensures that the soup remains piping hot. It also gives it a heftier body. But the soup is not just lard of course. It’s a deliciously complex blend of ingredients – this includes a beautiful miso base.
Overflowing with vegetable toppings, tanmen is a ramen style from the Kanto region (Tokyo). Ramen restaurant Tonari is a Tokyo favorite for tanmen. Their version includes a literal mountain of crunchy vegetables. This same mountain exists in their official instant ramen.
The ramen even comes with fresh ginger (which comes in its own packet). This ginger sends electric jolts through the bright, salt-seasoned soup. If there’s anything that’ll revitalize oneself on a cold day, it’s ginger!
Spicy Miso Ramen
Frosty Yamagata Prefecture is home to more ramen shops per capita than ANY OTHER prefecture in Japan. Yamgata even boasts 5 unique ramen styles. One of these styles is found in Akayu City and was created at ramen restaurant Ryu Shanghai.
In Akayu Spicy Miso Ramen, the spiciness in the soup actually comes from a garlic and miso-infused red ball. This red ball is packed with flavor and in the instant ramen version, it’s a paste with its own packet. The toppings and noodles are equally top-notch.
Tantanmen with Crunchy Onions
Rounding out our list is another spicy instant ramen! This tantanmen (a ramen derived from Chinese dan dan noodles) was specifically created to keep fishermen warm in the fishing village of Katsu-ura, Chiba.
This particular instant version (of Katsu-ura Tantanmen) is the best I’ve ever tasted. Be warned – it’s the spiciest on the list. The soy sauce centered soup has a lot of chili oil. But what stands out the most are the crunchy white onions – just like you get in Katsu-ura!
There you have it – five of the very best Japan instant ramen to help power you through winter!
Buy Premium Instant Ramen Japan HERE – we ship worldwide!
Learn more about Frank, a ramen expert, in our 5AM Ramen interview!