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[ Currently Eating: TJ's Peppermint Tea ]

I didn’t feel like writing too long of a post today. Shoulder acting up. What to do? Why, put up something controversial and let everyone else write the post for me of course. Via the comments.

No, I know it’s not exactly controversial. But people tend to either think it’s the food of the gods for college kids and cheap eaters, or it’s an unpalatable, salty disgrace that has less nutritional value than marshy sawdust. I think the true answer may be a surprising combination of those two opposites…

This particular variety is called “Creamy Chicken Ramen”. I’m not even going to talk about the ramen; it’s the same in every package. Just the seasoning packet changes. If by “creamy chicken” they mean “original chicken flavoring plus random dairy solids” then this is a pretty good description of how it tasted.

You know, it’s sort of surprising that we haven’t featured Instant Ramen here at Cheap Eats as of yet (we’ve only talked about “real” ramen). I was sort of saving it for a full-featured spread whereby I went and tasted all the different possible varieties. I know there’s books that have been written exclusively about Instant Ramen.

But I don’t think that’s gonna happen, since ramen is sort of off limits for me for the time being. What? A Cheap Eater dieting? Sorta. Perhaps more later in the month on that.

In any case, my own opinion of instant ramen in general is that it’s a decent staple to have around for people on a budget, BUT you absolutely cannot eat this stuff every day. For that matter, I never eat it as a meal but only as a snack. I also discard the cooking water after making the noodles and then add fresh hot water with only 1/2 the seasoning packet.

How about you?

Price: $0.15
Found At: Ralph’s
Cheap Eats Score: 5/10

24 Responses to “Creamy Chicken Ramen”

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  1. Gwen Says:

    Asian varieties of instant noodles have really done justice to this product so reviled when you only have Mr. Noodles and Ichiban as an option. OF COURSE it is better when you add vegetables. And you can save yourself probably 1/3 of the sodium intake if you don’t drink the “soup.”
    On the contrary, I don’t eat it as a snack; if I’m to have instant noodles, because it has so many calories, it will have to replace a meal!

  2. Marvo Says:

    I’m sooo tempted to just live off ramen for a little bit to save money, but my blood pressure is already high enough. I’m surprised none of the ramen companies have tried to make low-sodium ramen. I wonder what that would taste like.

  3. Orchid Says:

    I’m not a big noodle fan and I only ate this kind of stuff on occasion the first year I lived in Japan because it was fast and easy. However, it does essentially “fill the space” and add little nutrition. The noodles are bad carbs (high glycemic index), the oil used in them, palm oil, has trans fat, and it’s full of salt.

    That’s not to say it’s any worse for you than eating fast food or other types of instant food but I think the main problem is that it’s little but cheap energy and the sort of cheap energy that is bad for your blood sugar at that.

    The main problem with any processed food is it’s bound to be bad for you as had most of the good natural stuff stripped away, had salt and bad fats added, and has probably been overcooked as part of its preparation then recooked before consumption (and heat kills nutrients in addition to altering molecular structure in ways which can make foods carcinogenic). Instant noodles are probably one fo the worst types of processed foods but certainly don’t stand alone in the pantheon of cheap, nutrionally suspect foods.

    As an aside, in my office, the office manager frequently buys a Japanese version called a UFO (which you can look up on amazon if you want to see what it looks like and the contents) into which he’d squeeze an entire mini-bottle of mayonnaise for his lunch. Eating this on top of smoking like a chimney all day, I figure he will be bringing down some Japanese longevity stats.

  4. jim Says:

    i admit that i like ramen. i seldom fix it just as soup tho. i add vegetables, eggs, meats, whatever i have on hand. for me it’s not a snack but a meal. it may not be the best nutritionally, but it is filling. i visit this site every now and then to see what’s new.

    http://www.mattfischer.com/ramen/

  5. Peggasus Says:

    For me, it’s a guilty pleasure every now and then. I know it’s nutritionally a nightmare, but damn, sometimes it just hits the spot. I also add to it: chicken, green onions, bean sprouts, hot sauce, snow peas, stuff like that.

    But I NEVER eat at places like Mcdonald’s or BK or Wendy’s, so once a month or so isn’t going to kill me if I have some ramen late on a Friday night.

    OR WILL IT? Time will tell.

  6. denisekc Says:

    this topic reminds me of my first time away at college, where all I ate was ramen, and the occasional cheese sandwich! despite nutritional drawbacks, the noodles are a great ‘base’ for leftover veggies/meat. I very rarely make soup with it, and never use the whole pack of flavoring. my favorite ‘flavor’ is pork.

    my cheap meal tonight – 1 sausage (got a 5-pack for $2.50) and tater tots (HUGE 48oz store-brand bag for $2.99). yeah, very very tough to diet and eat cheaply at the same time!

  7. Cheap Eats Editor Says:

    gwen – my brother claims he gets an MSG headache from drinking the soup. I usually don’t drink too much of it either.

    marvo – hehe, low sodium ramen… that would indeed be interesting.

    orchid – I’ve had the UFO brand b4… a whole bottle of mayo! is it true everyone in japan puts a ton of mayo on everything?

    jim – oh yeah, i have heard of that site. i was considering asking him if he wanted to do an “interview” for cheap eats, hehe.

    peggasus – oh yeah, bean sprouts are a nice addition to it.

    denisekc – mmm.. sausage and tater tots. sometimes i get a giganto pack of sausage at costco and freeze it. then we live off sausage n’ pasta for the next five years…

  8. Orchid Says:

    Cheap Eats – Yes, it is true that they put mayonnaise all over everything in copious quantities. My Aussie boss used to say mayo is a food group in Japan.

    To be honest, I don’t know how the Japanese stay so healthy given their high level of salt and fat consumption, high rates of smokers, and high alcohol consumption. I also don’t know how they manage to consume as little as 2050 calories a day on average with such ingredients in their food. I guess it’s a testimonial to portion control since they don’t tend to eat all that much at once.

  9. skibs Says:

    The thought of that much mayonnaise is grossing me out.

    I really like ramen, but each time I have it my stomach is not happy with me. Still I continue to try it when in the mood. I was interested to read about your brother’s MSG headaches. I totally believe it. I get that from hot dogs.

  10. shawn21 Says:

    Too much MSG just makes me feel strange – with a headache – so I definately don’t drink the cooking water.

    Chicken Ramen with Libby’s Chicken Vienna Sausage and whatever veggies I can find. Now that’s some cheap eats. Specially when you can find Ramen for 10 cents a pack and the CHICKEN vienna @ about 40 pennies a can on sale. I only use half the seasoning pack BTW…

  11. 11yrs.old#11 Says:

    Why do most of you hate Ramen noodles, I LOVE them they’re also filling. My stepdad puts chili pepper powder and eggs in the origanal chicken. I’m not even sure how I found this website but I have to admit I think all the flavors besides chiken and beef sound nasty but I’ve never tried them

  12. 11yrs.old#11 Says:

    Also I like the Ramen noodle styrofoam cups wich come with vegetables and you can make them quikly in the microwave

  13. Cheap Eats Editor Says:

    Orchid – I think I agree with you on portion control, but it might also be that Asian people are often of smaller build too so the portions are going to be smaller. (I’m japanese and i know I eat a whole lot less than many of my non-asian friends… I was just brought up that way) but i think the tide is turning.. i think the unheatlhy things that they are eating in Japan are going to catch up with everybody in a big way in like 10 years.

    skibs – i’ve never gotten MSG headaches yet, but it does give me a funny stomach often.

    shawn – woo, that IS cheap eats. Vienna sausages… camping food again for me. I used to love those… i wanted to review them but I haven’t the stomach to try them right now.

    11 – i don’t think we hate ramen per se. It’s mostly that it’s not very healthy or nutritious. I do like to put eggs in it though … er, if that’s your real age, it’s probably an even better idea not to eat ramen every single day.

  14. Duderino Says:

    Most Instant Ramen is pretty worthless stuff: trans fat, high sodium, no nutritional or vitamin content.

    I still cant shake my need for two types of ramen though:

    1. The ultra hot and spicy Korean Ramen in the red package. This stuff is like medicine. Its so spicy that when I eat it, I feel so mellow and dopey. I swear they could give this stuff to ADD kids and it would calm them down.

    2. Sapporo Ichiban Chow Mein noodles. I dunno the sweet tangy flavor has me hooked. Also you sprinkle this little packet of day-glo green seaweed onto it that really adds something to the noodles. A guilty pleasure.

  15. Amanda Says:

    Ramen especially the oriental, shrimp and chili variaties are my absolute favorite hangover food. Last weekend I prepared the soup as directed, but I didnt use the cooking water, then I added scallions, chili powder, and a touch of low sodium soy sauce. The high sodium made me drink a ton of water and the heat was soothing. If you can stomach food this is a great super cheap alternative to like a fast-food burger.

  16. crazy4ramen Says:

    I love ramen noodles its very tasty so wht if its full of salt and bad stuff i eat it for a meal like lunch or dinner my favorite flavors are creamy chicken/hearty chicken/and plain chicken flavors

  17. clunkthecat.com rocks Says:

    $0.15 for ramen???????? I’ll have to buy if I get the chance!!!!!!!(But 5/10,I think is not a good rating……No offense!!!!)

  18. Pucca Says:

    i understand Duderino’s first sentiment–though i know ramen is soooooo bad for me, i just love those intensely spicy Korean ramen. curse salty chili powder!

  19. Shady Says:

    I always put the whole pack in the cooking water and lap it up, it’s so yummy and warm. The Maruchan cups for $0.27 is the best you just put (purified) water in them and mic for 2 minutes and they are awesome. I love the spicy maruchan cups of ramen they rock. You can buy like 10 for two dollars and they come with like 3 whole bits of carrot. I eat ramen for snacks or for lunch with a turkey sandwich.

  20. SunGoddess728 Says:

    While I agree the sodium level is out of control in this particular product, the carbs are pretty rediculous at 13% and there is 10 mg cholesterol or 3% daily in each serving of instant ramen I have to dissagree with the person who said it contained any trans fat since it does not. I am holding a package of the shrimp variety in my hands (I only eat the shrimp and chicken variety instant soup) and it contains no trans fats of any kind. This stuff is not a nutritionists best friend, lets face it but it is no where near as bad as eating fast food lets be realistic here people and stop the bs! A serving of ramen has 290 calories, and yup, lots of fat between the saturated fat and cholesterol but a mcdonalds extra value mean of a quarter pounder and french fries has a whopping 510 calories just for the sandwich with a huge 230 of them being fat calories! Then there is the french fries which come in at 570 calories for a large serving with 270 of those calories being from fat. YUCK! So, if I had to choose I would eat the ramen any day over the fast food.

  21. Zxyan Says:

    I agree with SunGoddess728. I get free food due to my job being under the McD management, yet I don’t actually work at a McD’s. Angus burgers alone are 770 and up in calories. If I had to buy it myself, that’s about $7.00 USD that I’m paying for just one meal. I could go out and get chinese takeout, and some ramen packets, and make a soup that will last me all day long. The biggest bummer of them all is the fact that the variety isn’t all over the place. Sure, you get the basics, but I used to be able to get creamy chicken ramen at 18 cents a pack, til they took them off the shelves. I’ve been trying to find more of them, but no one else sells that flavor. And yes, I believe it has some healing powers. The flavoring is nothing more than bullion, so thats all I eat when I get sick. And it’s especially good when you get white pepper powder and add it in for a sinus buster meal. Sure it’s spicy, but that’s the best way to drain your sinuses.

  22. Fioana Says:

    GO RAMEN NOODLES!!!

  23. Cera Says:

    Do they still make the creamy chicken? I can’t find it anywhere! The only place I was able to find it will charge me $64 in shipping costs for $20 worth the top ramen. I live in Alaska, so I get screwed when it comes to that kind of stuff… but really?? I am craving that specific flavor of top ramen like you wouldn’t believe, and I can’t eat any of the other flavors.

  24. Christy Says:

    I live in Illinois. Can’t find the creamy chicken anywhere, either! That is my favorite flavor.




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