What Are Ramen Noodles?
Ramen noodles are a tremendously popular quick meal in many parts of the world. In the United States, ramen noodles are especially popular with college students because they are cheap, easy and delicious. In East Asian countries like South Korea, Japan and China you can buy ramen noodles at a restaurant and in every convenience store.
Ramen noodles are pre-cooked noodles you can buy in the grocery store. They are pre-cooked, so they are quick and easy to make. You can purchase ramen noodles in a prepared packet or plain in the bulk section. Ramen noodles are hard, like dry pasta, and come with many noodles connected together in a square or rectangular shape. Packets of ramen noodles come with a portion of seasoning powder or soup base. More expensive ramen noodles also have packets of dried vegetables and/or hot oil. Although cooking ramen noodles is recommended, Koreans eat them without cooking them and sprinkle the seasoning packet on top for flavor.
What Ramen Noodles are Made of: Enriched Wheat Flour
Ramen noodles are mainly made of enriched wheat flour, also known as white flour. Enriched wheat flour is flour made from wheat that has vitamins added to it. Vitamins are added to the flour because they are depleted in the flour manufacturing process. This type of flour is very common in western diets and is the main ingredient of many popular foods, including crackers, cookies and breads.
What Ramen Noodles are Made of: Partially Hydrogenated Oil
The second most prevalent ingredient in ramen noodles is partially hydrogenated oil. Hydrogenated oils are manufactured by adding hydrogen atoms to unsaturated fats. Food manufacturers use partially hydrogenated oils because they are cheaper and because they come in a variety of textures, which enhance the flavor and texture of foods in different ways. Additionally, they have a higher melting point than regular oils, which helps foods to have a longer shelf life. Hydrogenated oils, aka trans fats, are now known to be detrimental to your health, and many food manufacturers are switching to other ingredients.
What Ramen Noodles are Made of: Flavor Packets and Soup Base
Ramen noodles come with flavor packets that may or may not contain natural ingredients. Flavors of ramen noodles include, but are not limited to: kim chi, mushroom, chicken, beef, vegetable, spicy, shrimp and cheese. The most common, and cheapest, kinds of ramen noodles are very high in sodium and contain monosodium glutamate (MSG) and artificial ingredients. Brands of ramen noodles that are more natural have flavor packets that contain natural ingredients and do not contain MSG.