The Real Difference Between Ramen And Instant Noodles

Noodles are a go-to food option for many when they need something carb-heavy, satisfying, and flavorful. You've probably had slow weeknights when you've reached out for a package of noodles with spicy seasoning. Guess what? People have probably been having those noodle cravings for a really long time. It's believed that ramen was invented in the 19th century in China. However, according to Restaurant Choice, instant noodles didn't originate in China and were, in fact, made popular by the Japanese.  

Some people might be ramen loyalists while others don't mind preparing a quick meal with a pack of instant noodles. But ramen and instant noodles are both appetizing choices for different occasions. Some people might not make a distinction, but there are some rather significant differences between the two that are worth noting such as their separate origins, cooking styles, flavors, and accessibility. Read on for more details on how a bowl of ramen noodles stacks up against a serving of instant noodles.

They barely have any similarities

As explained by a Spoon University piece, instant noodles are often wrongly referred to as ramen. The two are, in fact, very different from each other. Getting down to the specifics, ramen usually has ingredients like hand-pulled wheat noodles with chicken or pork stock and toppings like scallions, bamboo shoot, and barbecue pork. If you dive further, you'll discover that there are some interesting regional differences. For instance, Sapporo is associated with miso ramen. And make no mistake: Ramen has a loyal fan following, and there are specialty ramen restaurants devoted to the dish too.

Instant noodles, on the other hand, are convenient and are exactly what their name suggests. They're meant to be cooked quickly at home without a lot of fuss. You can opt for either cup noodles, soba, instant udon, and other options. They were created in 1958 and when they were first marketed to the Japanese public, they were regarded as a luxury and were a little more expensive than regular ramen. Thankfully, that trend changed as soon as they started getting manufactured on a massive scale. 

Simply put, ramen is a fresher option than a bowl of instant noodles, which is usually packed with preservatives. The only real similarity between the two options is the fact they're both categorized as noodle soups. Remember this: not all bowls of noodle soup are created equal and not all types of noodles are ramen.