People Are Obsessed With This TikToker's Viral Ramen Challenges

TikTok appears to have a fast-rising star in Ivan McCombs. The social-media marketing expert from Decatur, Ga., (via LinkedIn) is missing from lists of top TikTok food influencers (including one from Sweety High), but that's only because he's so new. McCombs started posting ramen videos to TikTok only two months ago, and he already has 1.3 million followers. He must be pretty good at his social-media-expert day job.

While we want to give McCombs a lot of the credit, there must be something about those rectangular packages of deep-fried wheat noodles that gives them such broad appeal. Simply put, ramen is cheap and yummy. In an Instagram post promoting his ramen TikToks, McCombs said he has been eating ramen for as long as he can remember, especially in college. "All I know is ... they helped me through some tough times," he wrote. Ramen, in other words, is the ultimate comfort food.

Beyond that, as McCombs' TikToks prove, ramen offers endless possibilities for the creative cook. His commenters are trying to stump him with increasingly wacky ramen challenges, but he's aced every test so far.

McCombs went from making prison ramen to baking ramen cookies

McCombs started his ramen TikTok series by demonstrating recipes from the book, Prison Ramen: Recipes and Stories from Behind Bars. Then he took suggestions from his followers. The first one was ordinary enough: ramen, alfredo sauce, grilled chicken, salt, pepper, and cheese. McCombs whips that up and tastes it on camera. He gave the recipe an enthusiastic 10 out of 10.

Soon enough, McCombs' followers were raising the degree of difficulty. He met the ramen pancakes challenge by mixing cooked ramen noodles with pancake mix. McCombs ended up enjoying the end result: "I thought it was going to be nasty, but," he then finished the video with what has become his tagline: "What else ya got?!"

Someone commented on the pancake video: "I bet you won't make ramen cookies. It's impossible." Challenge met, this time by adding raw ramen noodles to cookie mix. "This is really weird, but it's really good," he said. "What else ya got?!"

McCombs outdoes himself with his delicious ramen smoothie

McCombs scored huge numbers with his ramen lasagna (19.7 million views), which he made by layering in raw ramen. He swore it was good and gave it an eight out of 10, although one commenter noted, "This is offensive to both ramen and lasagna."

Someone else on the lasagna video challenged McCombs to make a ramen smoothie. In his reply, he sounded like he wasn't up to it: "Ooooo hahaha wait ... is this possible?" In a video uploaded on Dec. 7, McCombs not only met the ramen smoothie challenge, he hit a home run with it.

McCombs blended avocado, mango, and raw ramen. He took the result, which had the consistency of baby food, and poured it into a half-coconut shell. He ate the smoothie with a spoon. "Obviously, you don't taste the ramen," he said. "You just taste the avocado. I don't even taste the mango whatsoever. ... This is so good!"

McCombs may have outdone himself with the ramen smoothie, but we're excited to see "what else he's got." At this rate, he may have to quit his day job.