Canned ramen is gaining popularity among many busy ramen lovers. In this ever-increasing fast-paced world, people have lesser and lesser time to enjoy a piping hot bowl of hand-made ramen. So how do you end the craved for ramen? Buying a canned ramen and having it at home in front of your TV.
But is canned ramen any good? We will dive into that in this article. But before that, let’s understand what exactly is this food called ramen.
This simple Japanese Cuisine staple has grown in popularity over the years and has earned a top spot in our favorite Japanese food list along with Tempura, Sushi, Curry and Sashimi. In fact Ramen Houses have been popping up like mushrooms everywhere, each boasting of their own recipe and earning their own set of loyal customers.
Ramen is composed of a thin wheat noodles bathing in a savory broth. Each region in Japan are known for their own traditional recipes varying from the broth used usually meat – based like fish, or pork and some even add miso paste to make the broth more rich and flavorful.
Like any food addiction, the longer the wait, the longer the line, the more satisfying every noodle and slurp of savory broth is. In fact, more often, the waiting time is way more than the consumption time of one bowl of ramen. They’re delicious, visually appealing and great subjects for Instagram – they are perfect! It’s a Ramen Love Affair! And this love affair appeals to all the senses not just taste.
Personally, part of what I enjoy about Ramen is the experience. In Ichiran, a famous ramen chain in Japan, you order and pay for your food through a touch screen kiosk. Then, you are led to your own cozy cubicle which comes with a water and tea dispenser, utensil, and tissue. It even has a bag holder and a coat hanger, they really thought of everything. I like that private moment I have with this masterpiece and the fact that I can slurp as loud as I can which is acceptable in Japanese culture.
Instant Ramen – An ode to Instant Gratification and Personalization
There are times when you want that ramen hot, fast, and yesterday. Plus, you want your guilty pleasures private and unjudged – like maybe adding some fried eggs, sausages, squid balls, kimchi, Spam, or even veggies without insulting that secret recipe.
Skip the line, cook them at home or simply pour hot water over them and put whatever you want on it, and make it your own masterpiece. It’s a different experience versus being in a legit Ramen place, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless especially if you’re watching Netflix and chilling at home. To me, that sounds just as appealing as being in my own food cubicle.
The next level Ramen Experience: Canned Ramen
Just when you think the ramen experience has reached its peak, this Ramen love is about to go on a whole new level –CANNED RAMEN. Yup, you read it right its ready-to-eat ramen in a can.
These canned versions has ready-to-eat chewy noodles, meat, and savory broths like Tonkotsu (pork bone marrow) or Curry. You can find these in vending machines around Akihabara, Tokyo which is known for its anime and video game shops as well as a huge selection of rather interesting vending machines.
To top that, the cans are not just ordinary cans. They are self-heating cans. Surely, you don’t want to eat cold ramen right?
For me, that ups the coolness level of this invention and the experience that comes with it.
Canned Ramen: An innovation based on past innovations
You would be surprised to know that Canned Ramen is made possible by innovators of the past.
Self-heating cans are in fact a thing of the past.
Self-heating cans are not really new, in fact, they were said to have been invented by a Russian Engineer way way back in 1897. In the 1900’s, these cans were commercially made specifically for explorers, mountaineers and for the army. These regained their popularity again in the US in 2006 and have since been more available in the market. But as you may guess, these cans are bulkier and more costly to produce which is probably why Spam cannot heat itself.
So here’s how they work. The cans are made with double chambers: the inner chamber holds the ramen goodness while the outer chamber holds the chemicals that do the heating job.
To start heating your ramen, you simply press the bottom of the can. This will cause a barrier inside the outer chamber to break allowing two chemicals to combine and react. Chemicals usually used are: Aluminum and Silica, Calcium Oxide and Water, or Copper Sulfate and Zinc. When any of these two chemicals combine, they react and raise the temperature of the can thereby heating its contents.
But a word of caution, don’t hold onto the can after pressing the button. Place it on a flat surface and test the heat of the can before enjoying your ramen.
Traditional noodles make a come-back.
I know what you’re thinking. Okay, it’s self-heating but those noodles are going to be mushy and gross once you pop that can open. You will be happy to know that contrary to fresh ramen, the canned version uses Konnyaku noodles, which are made from Konnyaku potatoes cultivated for food only in Japan for the past 1,500 years. Unlike traditional ramen noodles, Konnyaku is firmer and chewier in texture which prevents them turning into mush.
Also known as Shirataki Noodles or Miracle noodles, this 1,500 year old traditional noodle actually offers a lot of good stuff your body–dietary fiber, no fat, low in calories, rich in minerals, low in carbs, and keeps you full longer.
So Canned Ramen, should you try it?
Picture this, it’s late at night and you get a hankering for ramen. Then, imagine yourself getting a canned ramen from your cupboard, pressing a button to heat it, and it 20 seconds or less you’re eating hot ramen that’s actually good for you and won’t make you fat the next day.
All that ramen goodness minus the guilt and made possible by innovations of the past. Did I mention it comes with a fork too? So canned ramen? It’s a yes for me.
Besides if you’re a ramen lover like me, wouldn’t you want to try it in all its forms?