Let's be honest, when you look up at the desk hutch in your dorm, you see three things: overpriced textbooks you will never read, shot glasses, and instant ramen. You are so #college. There's a reason for your ramen stash, though, and that's the fact that college students are broke. Like, I-have-$40-in-my-bank-account broke. And for less than $1, ramen is probably the cheapest meal out there, not to mention extremely quick to make and quick to eat. It's a college student's food dream.
But ramen has not always been known as the extremely cheap, extremely unhealthy meal choice for college students. In fact, real ramen is a gourmet Japanese soup dish, made with wheat noodles that are not designed to be cooked in 3 minutes or less. Crazy, huh?
Like many other Asian foods, ramen has been completely "Americanized." And this time it's not for the better. Here's how America ruined ramen:
1. It's "Instant"
Ramen was not designed to be prepared and cooked in under three minutes – in reality, ramen can take up to an hour to make, and that's not even taking into account the broth preparation. In order for the noodles to be made quickly and still keep its texture, a chemical called propylene glycol is added, which is also used in antifreeze and tobacco products. Ew.
2. It's loaded with salt
One package of instant ramen has 1,875 milligrams of sodium, which is higher than the recommended intake of 1,500 milligrams per day. So much salt can mess up your kidney function and blood pressure and can increase your risk of a stroke. Which brings me to my next point...
3. It's not meant to be eaten every day
Real ramen is not as far behind the sodium bandwagon as instant ramen, but it's also not supposed to be eaten as often as Americans eat it. In Japan, ramen is typically served in speciality restaurants that exclusively sell a variety of ramen dishes.
4. Three letters: F-A-T
I don't think there exists a sentence that doesn't contain the words "American," "food," and "fat" all together. Top Ramen brand instant ramen contains seven to eight grams of fat, four of which are saturated fat. And that's not the good kind of fat, people.
5. It's in a styrofoam cup
Soup in styrofoam just sounds nasty, not to mention that styrofoam can leak BPA chemicals into the instant noodles themselves. Japanese ramen should be served in a bowl, chopsticks and all, not out of a cheap coffee cup.
6. Chemicals, chemicals, chemicals
Okay, so even real ramen isn't the healthiest of options out there, but it's also not infused with chemicals like MSG and TBHQ. Not really sure what those stand for, but I'm going to go with they're not good for you.
7. It doesn't have the proper toppings
You know that swirly pink food emoji? Yeah, that's supposed to be on ramen noodles alongside pulled pork or chicken, scallions, and a soft-boiled egg. Instant noodles only have dried up peas and orange crunchy squares that slightly resemble carrots.