Food & Beverage

The Rise of Korean Instant Noodles: Exploring Top 10 Flavors

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Check out the top 10 instant ramen noodles from South Korea, which are so delicious & mouthwatering that you won’t be able to stop eating this Korean snack!

The global popularity of Korean food has surged, especially following the Oscar success of the movie Parasite. For ages, instant ramen noodles have been among the favorite go-to meals for people who are always on the run, specifically college students. Due to their deliciously flavorsome taste and easy cooking, instant noodles are now irreplaceable on many kitchen shelves. Instant noodles are an affordable option that requires just an electric kettle or a microwave for preparation.

According to a latest report, the numbers go something like this – the export value of South Korean ramen for the first half of 2023 has hit a record high, thanks to the increased global demand. The instant ramen exports for the first half of this year tallied in at an all-time high of $446.2 million, a 16.4% increase from a year ago. The increase in demand can be attributed to the higher demand during the pandemic and the rise of K-wave, including music, films, and drama. Last year, BTS’s Jin became a spokesperson for the instant noodle brand Jin Ramen. In 2019, Chapaghetti and Neoguri — products of South Korea’s top ramen seller Nongshim — were featured in the award-winning film “Parasite.”

instant ramen noodles

The Emergence of a Scrumptious Meal

Instant noodles rose to fame about 60 years ago in Japan after the 2nd World War to feed the starving Japanese population. Firstly, these noodles were launched by Momofuku Ando under the label name ‘Chickin Ramen.’ Over the years, instant noodles came into the limelight globally and became one of the favorite comfort meals for people from all walks of life. 

The Ever-Increasing Sales of Korean Instant Noodles amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

The nation’s semi-annual exports of ramen posted $103 million in 2015, $122 million in 2016, $174 million in 2017, $216 million in 2018 and $219 million in 2019. The growth rate of the nation’s ramen exports gained traction, particularly in 2020, when data showed that the country saw a 37.3 percent jump in its semi-annual exports of ramen, reaching $302 million.

The instant noodles by Shin Ramyun have begun to garner immense popularity in the mainstream retail segment of the US. This popularity is largely attributed to the establishment of a strong distribution network in the market. Also, Nongshim Ramen is considered among the preferable foreign food brands sold across the US.

Shin Ramyun witnessed an impressive growth of up to 25 percent in the first half of the year, with around $48 million in sales. On the other hand, Shin Ramyun Black also recorded noteworthy sales accounting for $13.5 million during the first half of the year, with an overall increase in growth of 49 percent. Also, its product was ranked first amongst the 11 others in the category of The Best Instant Noodles by Wirecutter, functioned to The New York Times.

The Top 10 South Korean Instant Noodles to Soothe your Taste Buds

There are diversified variants of delicious instant noodles available that are native to South Korea. You will find an impeccably delectable taste that is worth every penny you spend on these noodles.

Like in any other country, there are some excellent options in the range of instant noodles native to South Korea. Manufactured in South Korea, these noodles are now easily accessible worldwide through international e-commerce platforms like Alibaba and Amazon.

You can get your hands on hundreds of varieties of instant noodles and other instant snacks from Korea. Here are the ten best South Korean instant noodles you can easily buy online or from your local supermarket to satisfy your hunger pangs immediately.

Nongshim Shin Ramyun Black

These are thick Ramyun noodles with a spicy taste. It is like a traditional Korean ramyun with chunks of beef, vegetable flakes, and the ‘sul-long-tang’ broth base.

shin ramyun noodles korean instant noodles

Paldo Cheese Noodles

Amazingly good instant noodles where the cheese intermingles with the spicy red broth, and the noodles are thick and lovely.

paldo cheese noodles korean instant noodles

Ottogi Cheese Ramen

These cheesy noodles come with three seasoning packets – regular seasoning with vegetables, regular soup powder, and powdered cheese. You can make it in a cheesy variation or make cheesy, spicy noodles if you like.


Paldo Rabokki Noodles

These noodles are a tasty representation of tteokbokki, a Korean dish of thick cylindrical rice tubes. They have a pleasant chewiness, and a thick red sauce that is both spicy and sweet accompanies them.

robbaki ramen

Samyang Ramen Spicy Chicken Roasted Noodles

The noodles are thick, chewy, and delicious. Although, unlike traditional Korean noodles, the ramen broth comes with a chicken base. These noodles are referred to as buldak-bokkeum-myeon, commonly known as fire noodles in Korea. Its literal translation is accurate to its texture – stir-fried chicken noodles.

Samyang-Ramen-Chicken-Roasted-Noodles korean instant noodles

Samyang 2X Spicy Hot Chicken Flavor Ramen

It is a two-times spicy variation of the original ramen, Samyang Ramen Spicy Chicken Roasted Noodles.


Nongshim Budae Jjigae Noodle Soup

The noodle soup combines South Korean flavors to give you tasty goodness. It is instant ramen noodles with bits of processed meats and dried cabbage. Budae Jjigae translates to ‘troop stew’ or army stew’ as it originated during the Korean War through donated rations from US forces.


Ottogi Yeul Ramen Noodles Hot Pepper Flavor

This is a pack of ramen in a delicious spicy red pepper broth that packs punchy flavors with a combination of vegetables, green onions, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, and cabbage. The Ottogi Yeul Ramen Noodles are thick, chewy, and soft.

Ottogi-Noodles-Pepper-Flavor-instant ramen korean instant noodles

Nongshim Chapagetti Noodle

It is a Fusion Style Chajang Noodle that takes the form of spaghetti noodles in a Chinese black soybean sauce, “Chajang.” This is a tasty and sweet ramen dish made using various spices that have been uniquely mixed with ingredients such as carrots, onions, ground beans, and other grains.

NongShim-Chapagetti-Chajang-Noodle-packet ramyun

Nongshim Champong Noodle Soup Spicy Seafood Flavor

It is a seafood flavor spicy noodle soup. It imitates the beefiness of a Korean ramyun but without the beef. Instead of meat, it contains a seafood flavor that works well with the chewy ramyun noodle.

Since the release of the Oscar-winning movie, Parasite, instant ramen has taken over YouTube searches about ‘how to ram-don‘ videos. It comes from a moment in the film when the rich housewife (Cho Yeo Jeong) interrupts a rainy drive home with her husband and two children to phone her newly-hired low-income housekeeper (Jang Hye Jin), instructing her to get a warming pot of “ram-don” going. The housekeeper asks, “What the hell is ‘ram-don’?” and just like that, this mystery dish comes up.

In videos, ‘ram-dom‘ is prepared using instant black bean ramen noodles from the South Korean brand Chapagetti and Neoguri’s spicy seafood-flavored Korean udon. It is combined in a broth made of boiling water and the contents of their accompanying seasoning packets, which are then topped with cubes of seared sirloin.

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About Anyaa M

Anyaa is a versatile writer passionate about capturing the diverse facets of Korean lifestyle, beauty, fashion, tech, and everything in between. As a wordsmith, she possesses the unique ability to delve into the intricacies of the Korean lifestyle, sharing valuable insights and personal experiences that resonate with readers. Whether it's exploring the vibrant streets of Seoul, uncovering the latest beauty trends, curating fashion inspiration, or delving into the world of cutting-edge technology, readers are always captivated and informed.

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Comments (1)

  1. Wonderful article and I really appreciate your hard work.

    Best regards,
    Thomassen Raahauge

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