History of Korean ramen
In 1963, after the Korean War was over, people were barely able to get enough food to eat Ramen was first introduced to the country during these desperate times. In the early 1960s, the majority of people in the country could not afford to have three meals a day. People used to cook sujebi (hand torn noodles soup) which is made with flour. Almost all Koreans only had two meals a day on average. Back then, Ramen played an important role for Korea in overcoming food shortages and since then it has made a mark in the culinary culture and became one of the representative foods.
Ramen originates from the Chinese noodles ramen later Japan developed instant noodles and Korea used this technology. This shows how Korea ramen was born. Ramen was sold at 10 won or a penny when it first came out but the price has risen up from seven or eight hundred won on average in the span of half a century, ramen has become a staple food for Koreans. Ramen is inexpensive and easy to cook, plus the variety in taste and flavor is the reason why instant noodles are called a revolutionary food of the 20th century.
The unique hot and spicy taste is now being loved around the world and winning the hearts of many ramyeon enthusiasts. Korean ramen is both appealing to people in Korea and around the world. The more popular Korean ramen gets, the more visitors coming to Korea want to experience Korean ramyeons flavor. So, there have been many new attempts in the Korea ramen industry to produce healthier and better ramen.
Popular Korean Instant Ramen Packs
Kimchimyeon has dried kimchi flake instead of Kimchi soup in a pack. Kimchimyeon is less spicy than Sinramyeon. If you cook Kimchimyeon (bongji ramen), why don't you add tuna to make kimchi broth? It's really similar to original kimchi stew. Remember you should avoid adding green onion and seaweed as they don’t go well.
Yuk Gae Jang - Beef Ramen by Nongshim
Most people in the country enjoy yuk gae jang, traditional Korean soup. This is why many Koreans love this ramen. Basically, this ramen is very similar to yuk gae jang and is called as yuk gae jang. Especially, young children find this ramen since it is not that spicy and inexpensive. It is one of the popular ramen among the Nongsim products.
Jin Ramen by Ottugi
Jin ramen is a standard traditional ramen. They have two tastes, mild flavor and spicy flavor. Interestingly, the mild flavor is made of soy sauce and has a little bit different taste compared to other ramen. It's very rich and savory. It is very common and one of classic ramen that Koreans love. If you don't like spicy flavor, but you want to eat ramen, how about mild flavored Jin Ramen?
Sari Gomtang by Nongshim
It has white soup and looks like having no flavor, but it's very creamy and not strong tasty. At first, when this ramen came out, people didn't want to buy this ramen as it is not spicy like other ramen. However, this ramen is for people who want to put rice into this white broth. It's very similar to Korean bone soup called gomtang. If you eat sari gomtang with kimchi, you will enjoy this ramen more. Many Koreans recommend this ramen for mixing up rice and ramen soup.
Jjamppong - Seafood Ramen
Bul jjamppong has bone broth and rich dried flakes. This ramen is not spicy as much as other jjamppong ramen like matjjamppong. There is a pack of flavored oil( that adds smog flavor in the noodle. Many gourmets have complimented this ramen as it is very close to jjamppong of Chinese restaurents. Also, this wide noodle soaking in the soup is a little sticky and very tasty.
Mat Jjamppong by Nongshim
Matjjamppong is the high verson of Ojingeojjamppong and stresses the taste of seafood. It's cleaner and less greasy than other jjamppong ramen. If you want clean but rich taste, it would be a clever choice to pick up this ramen. However, it’s so spicy like burning your mouth, but the noodles are scored very finely so that you can experience the unique flavor.
Neoguri - Seafood Ramen by Nongshim
It's get little seaweed bits in it which is quiet cool. The noodles are slightly thicker than usual. It gives a real seafood flavor but not like in a good way. They're a bit fishy. It's like a seafood sort of flavor.
Jjajang Myeon - Black Bean Sauce Ramen
Basically, in Korea there is a really popular noodle called jjajangmyeon. It' one of the Chinese foods. It is thinner noodles than original jjajangmyeon though. This is the ramen version of it. If you are not used to eating jjajangmyeon, you can feel that it's like babeque sauce, coffee or wine, but It is made from black bean. They come with sesame seeds. People in the country love this fake jjangmyeon as its flavor is very different from Korean original jjajangmyeon. It’s sour as well as sweet.
Buldak Bokkeum Myeon by Samyang
This ramen is fiery and unique. You just get like the heat, without being able to taste it. You might need a glass of water or milk while eating this ramen. If you try this at least once, you cannot forget this taste for good. It has attractive spicy flavor and has been loved from people all over the world. Many YouTubers have tried this ramen and showed that Koreans are very familiar with spicy foods. There is an extra pack with roasted sesame seeds and crispy seaweed garnish.
It was launched as an instant ramen in 1992. In 2006, Snack Myeon ranked No.1 through a Sponge experiment on a KBS TV show for finding the most delicious ramen which fits rice with ramen seasoning. Almost all gourmets in the show chose this ramen. Snack myeon's seasoning is less spicy and salty. If you are not good with Korean ramen, it is such a good choice to eat snack myeon.
Where do Koreans enjoy Ramen?
Ramen is a much-have grocery item for Koreans. Koreans often cook ramen at home. When they set the table, they always put kimchi out of the fridge. They are the best combination. It is an advantage to cook your own noodles by adding other ingredients or putting fermented Kimchi.
Many Koreans skip their breakfast and go to work. They want to eat something since they should endure hunger until lunch time. So, they go to a breaking room for having ramen very quickly and come back to work. They also have ramen while working overtime in order to get energy. There are so many convenience stores like CU, MINISTOP and SEVENELEVEN in Korea. They have some tables, seats and a microwave for those who want to have meals. So, many people get there and eat instant cup noodles.
How about bring a thermos and chopsticks for having ramen on the mountain?
Koreans in their 40-50s love wrapping some foods and go hiking on the mountain. Some people bring a thermos and chopsticks for eating ramen and gimbap. The soup is really awesome to fill up your stomach and noodles are tastier than eating at home. Also, even if you are not on the mountain, you can eat ramen on a beach or park. Most Koreans think that ramen is always the best dish wherever they are. You can add seafood like shrimp or lobster.
Why do Koreans love Ramen?
Ramen is spicy and has a hearty flavor. People say that I crave for ramen on a rainy or a gloomy day. Eating ramen creates a certain atmosphere. In Korea, you are able to purchase ramen wherever you are even in a mom and pop store. Besides, you can see a variety of ramen advertisements on TV or Internet. Why do Koreans are into eating ramen? There are three main reasons why ramen have been loved for over 50 years.
Ramen makes it possible to reduce your meal time.
From time to time, people in the country don’t have enough time to cook or buy meals for many reasons like preparing for mid-term exam, doing a crucial assignment and doing the job. In these cases, they can easily go to a convenience store and get instant cup noodles with triangle gimbap or cook ramen at home. The cooking directions are on the ramen’s pack. Just follow the guide. Even you are not at cooking ramen well, you can buy instant cup noodles instead of BONGJI RAMEN (ramen in the bag).
Top.1 midnight snack, Korean ramen
Their shopping lists have ramen all the time and they save them in the kitchen. All most Koreans have experience having ramen as a late night meal at least once. They find ramen in the late night since they get the munchies and want to fill up on something. They think that ramen’s smell is super tempting especially before going to bed.
New try and new recipes
Korea has big instant noodle brands, Nongsim, Ottugi and Samyang. Three companies have been struggling to launch new ramen to satisfy Koreans as well as people around the world. As they keep developing new goods, Koreans are busy uploading the review after eating them and doing the mukbang (*eating broadcast). Many Youtubers show us the frank comment with mukbang. So, their videos catch their eyes and make them try the new ramen.
Have you ever heard about jjapaguri or buldakghetti? They are mixed noodles with two different ramen. Jjapaguri is a new ramen which jjapaghetti and neoguri are blended. Buldakghetti is the other one that buldak bokkeum myeon and jjapaghetti are compounded. Koreans have been trying to develop a new recipe and sharing their ideas through SNS.
The difference between cup ramen and bongji ramen
Nongsim have recently brought out twigim udon(fried vegetable udon) as a different verson, bongji ramen. It has attracted many people's attention and has been given positive feedbacks from them. It is served with much more dried flakes, fried fish paste, bonito flakes and imitation crab with flower patterns. In other words, It has hearty ingredients. It is such a successful case. However, It is too rare that the same ramen with two different versions, cup noodle and bongji noodle, have plenty of demand.
Why this does has happened a lot? What is the difference?
Bongji ramen's noodle is thick and has high portion of flour, but cup noodle is thiner because it should be only heated with hot water. Cup noodle is made of potato and corns more than flour. Besides, it has a lot of breathing holes so that it is cooked for about 3 minutes.
Cup ramen's soup is more rich than bongji ramen since people mostly have ramen outside without kimchi or any side dish. That is why cup noodle's soup is darker than bongji ramen's soup.
Do you prefer cup ramen or bongji ramen? Even though cup noodle and bongji ramen are the same product's name but they have difference as for noodle, soup and packing container. If you want to eat ramen outside, cup noodle is better and if you want to cook ramen with your special recipe, your choice will be bongji ramen.
Hidden tips for making ramen more delicious
The best direction Back Jong won says in a cooking show called JIBBAP Back's teacher.
- Put ramen soup and dried flake into water at first to get high boiling point.
- Boil them to get rich flavor in soup.
- Put noodles into a pot.
- One noodle starts cooking, spread noodles.
- Whisk an egg in a cup.
- Put noodles out of the pot and put them in a bowl.
- Put an egg and chopped green onion into soup.
- Pour soup into a bowl and then put noodles on it.
Do you add the noodles first or the seasoning first?
It's important to boil ramen with a standard recipe on the back of the pack for the most delicious ramen. Most consumers don't follow the guide, but the standard one is the best recipe since they have been researching on how to cook more delicious for many years. If you add seasoning into water at first, water might will be boiling over.
Japanese Ramen vs. Korean Ramen
There are a lot of restaurants which specialize in Japanese ramen like Aori ramen in Korea. People in Korea didn't care for Japanese ramen at first, but it's starting to grow on them. Many Koreans stand in line in front of the restaurant’s to enjoy the flavor of the unique Japanese ramen.
What is the difference? Soup is the biggest difference between them. All almost Koreans prefer spicy and clean flavor and mostly use chili pepper, pepper flake, garlic and kimchi to get red and spicy soup. On the contrary, people in Japan make soup with soy sauce and miso (Japanese traditional bean paste). Japanese foods don't have strong flavor as they usually cook foods with bamboo sprouts and mung bean sprouts. Also, Korean ramen is made of fried noodle but Japanese ramen is cooked with raw noodle (uncooked and fresh noodle). Korean ramen is greasier and al-dente (stringy) compared to Japanese ramen.
Cheese ramen and butter ramen
Are you a cheese person? The cheese suit ramen very well. Even if ramen's got some heat but the cheese subdues it a little bit. If you are not good with spicy food, you can handle cheese or butter ramen. How about adding cheese to make it soft and creamy? It is very simple, but if you want to make them more special, put milk or bone soup with water. It will make your ramen more creamy and cheesy. If you love eating spicy noodle as well, add some chopped red pepper or put sinramen seasoning or yeol ramen seasoning. There is one thing you should care of. Don't put mozzarella cheese. Once you put it, it gets stuck in a pot and doesn't melt it in the soup. Mozzarella cheese and ramen soup do not go well together. Don't forget it. You have to add sliced cheese cheddar if you want cheese ramen.
Real Cheese Ramen by Ottugi
Compared to classic ramen, it is a little different since real cheese ramen has cream and cheese seasoning. The taste will blow you away!
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