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Noodles are my favorite food. I could not tell you what kind, because I just love everything noodle.

Maybe it’s the satisfaction of seeing those plumes of steam slowly but steadily rising out of a bowl generously filled to the brim with a soothing hot broth. Or maybe I just have an affinity for the taste of flour

Whatever it is, it doesn’t change the fact that noodles are to this day still my favorite (category?) of food. And I only have the existence of instant noodles to thank for my unwavering devotion.

Now, unfortunately I’m not one of those people who loves to eat microwaveable ramen out of a pre-packaged bowl (sorry, Nongshim Bowl Noodle Soup). The taste and texture just aren’t quite on par with ramen done in a pot over a stove. But college kids don’t have the luxury of laboring over some stove located in the basement of some residential college when what we really want is just some food and fast.

But for those daring souls aspiring to take it up a notch, the following playbook might be just the place to start:

Spicy index: *

The Classics

For those new to the world of instant noodles but not ready to commit, this mild selection offers a little slice of the action

  • Nissin Top Ramen
  • Nongshim Shin Ramyun*
  • Ottogi Jin Ramen*

Hot & Spicy

For those seeking a departure from the standard taste and stiff texture, this hot selection is sure to keep one refreshed and alert

  • Paldo Kokomen*
  • Paldo Bul Jjamppong***
  • Samyang Hot Chicken Flavor Ramen****

Cheap but Classy

For those craving some real noodle dishes, these instant-noodle twists on classic menu items are an excellent substitute

  • Nongshim Chapagetti
  • Paldo Jjajangmen
  • Paldo Bibim Men**

Of course, many of these items are available in pre-packaged bowls as well, but on the word of a self-professed noodle-lover, trust me, the effort is worth it. Or you could always go out and grab some real food while you’re at it.

Adelaide Choi is a student at Washington University in St. Louis double majoring in French and IAS with a concentration in International Affairs.
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