Do You Like Ramyun (Instant Noodles)? Then Consider Moving to Korea
Enjoyed by presidents and beggars alike, ramyun (ramen or instant noodles in Korean) is a truly versatile food that can be had as a snack or as a meal. The best thing about these curly noodles that come in a shiny polypropylene packaging is its simplicity: all you need is water and a large saucepan. Just bring 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil, add the soup base powder (these days they also have it in liquid form), and dried vegetable mix. Let it boil for just about a minute or two and carefully drop in the noodles (don’t break it in halves!). Gently press them down with a utensil, cover the saucepan, and let them waltz for 3 minutes tops, unless you want them soggy. Oh, many people choose to add an egg, as it adds protein to what is otherwise a mostly-carbs meal. Voila! You just made yourself a bowl of perfectly cooked ramyun noodles! As for eating it, many Koreans swear by having Kimchi as a perfect accompaniment. And believe it or not, they also love to add an extra bowl of rice when the noodles are all gone but have lots of soup left (low-carb dieters can scream now).
Okay, here is some fun facts about Korean instant cup noodles you can read while enjoying your noodles you just made. The first instant cup noodles ever made in Korea was Samyang Cup Ramen (the first instant cup noodles was introduced by the Japanese company Nissin in 1971, which also developed the world’s first instant noodles in 1958). Back then, it didn’t receive a warm welcome because it was fairly expensive compared to the living standards of the Koreans, and wasn’t in line with traditional Korean table manners where everything has to stay on the table and not in mid-air. Despite the criticism, it steadily gained popularity as people started warming up to it, and it peaked when Nongshim came out with their Yukgaejang Sabalmyeon, which had the taste of traditional Korean hearty, spicy beef soup and a container similar to a traditional bowl.
In 1988 during the Summer Olympics in Seoul, it received a world-wide fame when NBC introduced it as Korea’s favorite fast food. Today, Korean instant cup noodles are available all over the globe, including the least expected places like the summit of the Jungfrau and Golf Resorts in Brazil. It was also served by international airlines such as American Airline, Air France, and British Airways. Paldo’s Dosirac has been one of the most sold cup noodles in Russia for quite a long time. So, how much ramyun do Korean people consume? According to a research survey, Korea consumed 72.8 servings per capita in 2014, which is the highest in the world, followed by Indonesia and Vietnam with 51.9 servings.[i]