Here’s the thing: college students will forever and always be poor. As a result, the staple food of our diets consists of pizza and ramen. Just because we eat cheap ramen does not mean we should eat terrible ramen. There are also cheap things that can be added to bad ramen to make it taste ten times better.
1. Two words: NOODLE BOWLS. This stuff is dank. It’s more food than what you get with Maruchan Ramen. It’s also ten times better. You can indulge in wonderful flavors like: chicken, spicy chicken, hot and spicy, and kimchi. But be careful. Eat too many of these noodle bowls and they will all start to taste the same.
Average price: $1.06
2. For all my vegans and vegetarians, there is a relatively cheap vegan ramen option: Dr. McDougall’s Vegan Ramen. Yes, it’s real. And yes, it’s really good. Some of the more popular flavors are miso and chicken. Get this, there is actual seaweed and tofu in the miso. If you don’t like ramen but are still a vegan, Dr. McDougall has other items like tortilla and split pea soups.
Average price: $2.00 (It’s a bit on the more expensive side of ramen, but you can buy it in bulk at places like Wal-Mart)
3. Indo Mie Ramen is an option that you should think of as Maruchan’s more attractive older sibling. It’s just as cheap, but tastes so much better. What makes this ramen different than others is that it hails from Indonesia. Most popular ramens today come from Japan or Korea. The difference in origin probably explain the different spices in that little silver bag of joy. Keep in mind that this one is harder to find than others. Most of the time, only ethnic grocery stores sell this brand.
Average price: $0.99 (if you go to the right place, you can actually get it for cheaper)
1. Sriracha is a must. Who care’s if it’s mainstream? Go out and buy a bottle right now. The only reason to not buy it is if you can’t handle spicy stuff. This will take any terrible flavorless ramen and make it ten times better. Plus, it goes well with the other portion of your college diet. It’s a solid thing to own and carry around with you because Sriracha will improve that horrendous excuse of food they serve at dining halls.
Average price: $3.50
2. Kimchi is a must too. For those that don’t know, kimchi is a Korean side dish made of fermented cabbage adorned with chili pepper. One thing to keep in mind is that kimchi is a bit of an acquired taste. You might not like it the first time you try it, but you definitely will the second. This isn’t something you’ll find at an average grocery store, so you might need to venture to an Asian market. Nothing tastes better than taking some cool kimchi and dipping it into the bubbling ramen broth.
Average price: $3.00-$20.00 (The cost is all relative to the quality of kimchi you decide to purchase. Whole Foods sells an organic kimchi brand, but it is kind of pricey and not recommended for your wallet.)
3. Seaweed will improve just about any ramen you choose to buy and Target has it. Annie Chun’s organic seaweed snacks are great for ramen. They are dehydrated so when you add them to the broth, the seaweed comes back to life. It’s a relatively large piece, so cutting it up and throwing it into your bowl is a solid call to make. The seaweed is flavored, sesame or wasabi, so it’s a great snack too.
Average price: $1.00. (Yes! Only one dollar for about 10 pieces of seaweed that you can spread across ten meals. Or one sitting for snacking.)
4. As a nod to the basics of ramen making, simply boiling an egg and putting it into your ramen bowl will help it feel like a more legitimate excuse of a meal. You’ll get some real nutrients into your system too by putting an egg in there. Some people prefer frying the egg sunny side up, and then breaking the yolk in the middle so it runs all over the noodles. This does require more effort than the other improvement suggestions.
Average price: Varies on if you buy in dozens or halves.