Instant Ramen Soup is a staple of college dorms and office lunch rooms all around the world. It’s cheap, easy to make, filling and tasty. Now that it’s winter, hot soup is a great way to help keep warm. Over the years, I’ve tried many different brands and flavors. Some have been good and some were downright horrid. Since Pho and Noodle Houses have become more popular, higher-end gourmet ramen has come to market. While the taste and quality has improved, the “healthy” factor hasn’t…until now. If you look through the isles of your local asian market, you will see a small selection of “healthy” and “non-fried” varieties. The thing with most of these new varieties is lack of flavor. They tend to be bland and or they compensate by adding way too much spice.
I came upon Nongshim’s HooRooRook one day while perusing the ramen isle. The packaging stood out from the others and the tagline “So good, Slurping is allowed!” made me read more. The biggest surprise was the lack of MSG and Low Sodium. Most ramen has a ton of MSG and sodium. There’s some with over 3000mg of sodium per serving. HooRooRook lists sodium at 1420mg, the lowest of all the ones I saw on the shelf. It’s still high, but not as outrageous. It’s also low in fat (1g) and zero cholesterol. The numbers looked good, so I picked up a couple. At $1 each, it was worth a shot.
I was fully prepared for a letdown. The nutritional numbers might have been promising, but that doesn’t always translate to good taste. Preparation was easy as expected. I normally use half a packet of “flavoring” when making ramen. But this time I put it all in. I was surprised by the quality of the dried vegetables and seaweed. They had a nice color to them and looked appetizing. Once everything was mixed in it looked and smelled promising. The consistency definitely has a “premium” feel to it compared to the usual stuff.
I’m happy to report that it actually tastes good! If your used to the overly salty taste of most ramens, this will taste a little mild to you. But ultimately, overall flavor is good and not overdone. The noodles have a good consistency and the broth isn’t overly oily. It’s not spicy by any means but you could easily add a few shots of sriracha to it. To really turn it up, add some bok choy and/or dumplings to it. Chinese broccoli would be good as well. You could even put in a few slices of thinly sliced beef and call it dinner!
In the end, this is a very good ramen. It’s not as salty as the others and it has good flavor. You could easily add salt if you want. It also takes well to adding ingredients such as vegetables, meats and seafood. If you see this in your local market, it is definitely worth a try. Highly recommended!