Often, food reviews target restaurants with pricey or extensive menus. The former becomes irrelevant when a reader is a college student under a tight budget, while the latter only scratches the surface when a reviewer tastes a small selection of a large menu and decides on the quality of an establishment based on the seating and lighting and a small fraction of the food available.
Thus, we at The Vector have conducted a blind taste test of Maruchan and Nissin’s shrimp and hot & spicy beef instant ramen noodles. These two brands were selected as they are the most common and thus most accessible forms of instant ramen to NJIT students.
This experiment was conducted blindly, so samples from the same package were all distributed among identical bowls, labeled A through D. Once all four ramen bowls were tasted, the subjects ranked the noodles based on which ones they liked the best.Birju Dhaduk – Senior Staff Writer
I liked the hot & spicy beef flavor the best, while not seeing much of a difference between the two brands. The shrimp flavor was much too bland for my taste as it probably would be for anyone who grew up in a household full of spice. The hot & spicy beef flavor included much of the needed spice in order to make ramen flavorful.Zane Nogueras – Senior Staff Writer
I found that the Maruchan brand ramens were better than the Nissin, similar to my preferences prior to the blind taste test. In last place was the Nissin hot & spicy beef, which I found to have a very unappealing taste. It was the only ramen I truly did not like at all; the ramen tasted like someone added a taco bell sauce packet to add spice to the food. Next was the Nissin shrimp, which was not particularly good, but also not inedible compared to the hot & spicy beef. Both Nissin ramens also suffered from having very thin noodles. Both Maruchan ramens were pretty good, with the deciding factor between the two being that I personally like the shrimp flavor more. Either Maruchan ramen is a good option for anyone looking for a cheap college meal.Mark Pothen – Senior Staff Writer
Immediately after trying all four ramen bowls, Zane and I agreed on the order of ramen in terms of flavor profile. While I enjoyed all but the hot & spicy beef flavors at first, after trying it a second time I now believe that my distaste was misplaced. Maruchan shrimp won first in my eyes because, while it didn’t completely satisfy me, it left me wanting more. The flavor profile may have been a little more bland in terms of spice and saltiness, however, where it fell short it let other aspects of the ramen shine. This is especially true about the texture of the noodle, none of the other bowls of ramen delivered the balance of soft yet well-structured noodle that Maruchun shrimp did. While both beef noodle brands provided marginally better flavors than the shrimp ramen, there is so much more to a bowl of ramen than just the flavors and saltiness in it.
Cover photo by Yumi Kimura