8 Cooking Tricks to Enhance the Taste of Your Ramen Noodles

Today, I want to introduce some tips on how to cook the best tasting instant noodles. 

There are 8 simple tricks that do not require special tools or ingredients.
Knowing these 8 tips will help you drastically improve the taste and texture of your ramen. Let's take a look at each step closely.


1. Cook soup and noodles separately.

Cooking soup and noodles separately is one of the most effective ways to improve the taste of your instant noodles. Putting hot water, noodles and soup altogether into your pot at the time is very easy and convenient, but this way affects the taste of your noodles drastically. 


When you make soup, do not use the hot water you just used to boil the noodles. 
Why? The waxy flavour from the noodles stay in the water. By adding your soup packet into it, your broth will also have a waxy flavour. 
Heat up clean, fresh water separately for the soup, and put noodles into the soup.

2. Put instant noodles into hot water that has completely come to a boil.
There is a huge difference between cooking instant noodles in warm water for 3 minutes and cooking instant noodles in boiling hot water for 3 minutes.

Cooking in boiling hot water cooks the noodles evenly, and gives your noodles a nice texture and chewiness.

3. Cook noodles in a lot of hot water.

Using a lot of hot water to boil your noodles will prevent a drop in the water temperature. Doing this will prevent your noodles from getting sticky because of the starch from the noodles. 

4. Do not touch your noodles while you are boiling it.
You should not touch, mix, or poke at your noodles for at least the first 1 minute during boiling.

If you touch it, the surface of the water will break and the noodles will absorb too much water. The noodles won't become evenly cooked.

5. Follow the boiling time.
You need to set a timer for the boiling time. There is a right amount of time to cook for each instant noodle. The best boiling time is always what the brands recommend (ex. the time on the cooking directions). 

6. Put hot water in your ramen bowl before serving.
Ramen must be hot. You cannot enjoy warm ramen. Before making the soup, you should heat your ramen bowl up. To heat up your ramen bowl, simply fill up your ramen bowl with hot water for a few minutes.

After heating up the ramen bowl, get rid of the hot water, and put soup packet contents and fresh hot water in the bowl.

7. Mix right amount of water with the soup packet.
One of the most important elements of ramen is its broth. You should follow the instruction guide to make the soup. To make the best instant ramen, it should be too salty or too bland. You will need to use a measuring cup.

8. Put one table spoon of baking powder into your pot while boiling instant noodles.
Doing this makes your instant noodles taste like raw noodles. They will get a good texture and chewiness. Baking powder works like a kansui (alkaline solution).
After boiling the noodles, get rid of the water using a strainer. Do not use the same water you just used to boil noodles for the soup.

After reading all 8 simple tips to making the best instant ramen, you probably understand that it is essential to follow the cooking guide on the back of the packaging. 
Do not cook noodles according to your feeling or gut and do not “eyeball” measurements. 
There is always a right way to cook instant noodles!
Ramen and instant ramen are created in a similar manner, but did you know an additional four steps are required to make instant ramen?
Here is the process of making ramen or instant noodles:

1. Mix kansui and flour together.
2. Make the dough flat.
3. Cut into thin noodles.
4. Divide into one-meal portions.

-------Additional process for instant ramen-------

5. Steam the noodles.
6. Dry the noodles.
7. Cool down the noodles.
8. Pack the noodles into cups or bags.
Have you ever wondered what the difference between thick and thin noodles besides its size?
Most people think, “only the size and thickness is different, there’s no difference taste-wise.”
However, that is incorrect. Let's take a look at why. 
Characteristics of thin noodles are...

They have a higher surface area to volume ratio in contrast to thick noodles, so the soup can seep through and cover thin noodles better.

The combination of thin noodles with flavourful soup is wonderful! The soup can cover thin noodles better than it does for thick noodles, you will also feel a smooth texture in your mouth, tongue, and throat. 

Thin noodles are normally used for Kyushu-style tonkotsu ramen.

However, thin noodles become soggy a lot easier than thicker noodles.

Characteristics of thick noodles are...

You feel like you ate a lot since thick noodles are voluminous, chewier and denser.

Thick noodles go well with thick, creamy and salty soup.

For thick noodles, in order to create an optimal surface area to volume ratio, chefs make the noodles wavy so the soup can coat all the noodles evenly. 
You don't need to do this for thin noodles, so thin noodles are created straight without waves. There is a smoothness in your mouth when you eat thin and straight noodles that you don’t necessarily get when you eat thick noodles.

Thick noodles are used in Yokohama iekei ramen and Kitakata ramen.
So now we know the difference between thick and thin noodles, let's take a look different regional ramen and what kind of ramen thickness they use. 
The thickets ramen noodles are utilized in Fukushima's Kitakata ramen and Tochigi's Sano ramen. The thickness of these noodles are very close to Japanese udon. The thinnest ramen noodles are used in Fukuoka's Hakata ramen. The noodles are so thin they are very similar to Japanese somen. 
Take a look at the difference here! 

Whilst the bite size look similar, there are about 20 strands of thin noodles on the left whereas there are only about 10 strands of thick noodles on the right. 
You will need about double the portion of thin noodles to feel like you ate the same amount of a lesser serving of thick noodles!


  • APEX Team

    Hi Michael,
    I’m so glad that you enjoyed our article and were able to learn something new!

  • Michael Sweet

    Very interesting article. Glad I read it. I’ve been doing it wrong the whole time!

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