Ramen noodles are a tremendously popular quick meal in many parts of the world. In the United States, ramen noodles are especially popular with college students because they are cheap, easy and delicious. In East Asian countries like South Korea, Japan and China you can buy ramen noodles at a restaurant and in every convenience store.
Enriched Wheat Flour - Ramen noodles are mainly made of enriched wheat flour, also known as white flour. Enriched wheat flour is flour made from wheat that has vitamins added to it. Vitamins are added to the flour because they are depleted in the flour manufacturing process. This type of flour is very common in western diets and is the main ingredient of many popular foods, including crackers, cookies and breads.
Partially Hydrogenated Oil - The second most prevalent ingredient in ramen noodles is partially hydrogenated oil. Hydrogenated oils are manufactured by adding hydrogen atoms to unsaturated fats. Food manufacturers use partially hydrogenated oils because they are cheaper and because they come in a variety of textures, which enhance the flavor and texture of foods in different ways. Additionally, they have a higher melting point than regular oils, which helps foods to have a longer shelf life. Hydrogenated oils, aka trans fats, are now known to be detrimental to your health, and many food manufacturers are switching to other ingredients.
Flavor Packets and Soup Base - Ramen noodles come with flavor packets that may or may not contain natural ingredients. Flavors of ramen noodles include, but are not limited to: kim chi, mushroom, chicken, beef, vegetable, spicy, shrimp and cheese. The most common, and cheapest, kinds of ramen noodles are very high in sodium and contain monosodium glutamate (MSG) and artificial ingredients. Brands of ramen noodles that are more natural have flavor packets that contain natural ingredients and do not contain MSG.