TASTE
10/17/2013 08:45 am ET Updated Oct 17, 2013

The Best Maruchan Ramen Flavors, In Order (PHOTOS)

Getty

We've certainly hit the point in our lives around here where packaged ramen noodles are an occasional nostalgic indulgence and not a major dietary staple. But we did go to college once. And maybe one of us made it her personal mission to try every flavor of packaged ramen she came across. Okay, I am talking about me. For some reason, when it came to cheap, instant noodles that of course bear very little resemblance to miracle of real ramen, I always liked Maruchan best.

Maruchan (whose name kind of translates to "lovable round-headed kid"?) estimates that they produce 3.6 billion packages of ramen noodle soup a year. If you strung together all those noodles, they would stretch from Earth to Mars and back again. Seriously, their website says that. Like all things, there is a hierarchy when it comes to flavors. The best ramen flavor is salty but not too salty, complex but not too weird, umami-laden but not fake-tasting. For this ranking, I stuck to the ramen you can buy in a plastic package, and excluded ramen soup cups -- which, as an added bonus helps us avoid the cheddar and alfredo flavors. Which, yuck.

  • 15 Creamy Chicken
    Amazon
    NO, GUYS.
  • 14 Lime Shrimp
    Amazon
    Fake lime flavor has an incredible ability to taste like bathroom cleaner.
  • 13 Lime Chili Shrimp
    Amazon
    The addition of chiles marginally improves this.
  • 12 Picante Beef
    Amazon
    Sigh.
  • 11 Picante Chicken
    Amazon
    Double sigh.
  • 10 Beef
    Amazon
    Definitely the most MEH of the traditional flavors.
  • 9 Chili
    Amazon
    Isn't this what Sriracha is for?
  • 8 Oriental
    Amazon
    Aside from the inescapable feeling that this a rather racist thing to call a ramen flavor, I'm pretty sure it just means "soy sauce," right?
  • 7 Mushroom
    Amazon
    Totally solid.
  • 6 Roast Beef
    Amazon
    I'm pretty sure this one has been discontinued and is therefore really hard to find. Roast Beef-flavored ramen is to Beef-flavored ramen as actual roast beef is to clammy boiled beef.
  • 5 Chicken Mushroom
    Amazon
    One of the most delicious combinations ever, ramen or otherwise.
  • 4 Pork
    Amazon
    Ramen and pork just go together.
  • 3 Chicken
    Amazon
    This is a traditional, stand-by classic.
  • 2 Shrimp
    Amazon
    If you have been too afraid until now to try shrimp-flavored ramen, let me tell you something: TODAY IS YOUR DAY. Toss some peas in there like the label says and enjoy a delicious new treat.
  • 1 Roast Chicken
    Amazon
    Like roast chicken potato chips, Roast Chicken ramen nails the salty chicken ramen flavor we've come to expect with the exact amount of umami we need to be intrigued. Do not miss.

*As usual, this post was neither sponsored nor influenced by the brand mentioned. No amount of advertising money could produce love this nerdy.

Want to read more from HuffPost Taste? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

PHOTO GALLERIES
Recipes Using Instant Ramen
Subscribe to the Lifestyle email.
Life hacks and juicy stories to get you through the week.

CONVERSATIONS