No-Fair Alert: Ramen Flavors We're Missing Out On

Photographed by Ben Ritter.
Did you know that Japanese manufacturers introduce 600 different instant ramen flavors EVERY YEAR? I know, I know — that doesn't seem possible. But it is. And it's all chronicled in The Noodle Narratives, a book that's basically an in-depth history lesson into all things instant ramen. Did you also know that Japan is so obsessed with their instant noodles that they have an entire museum (nay, shrine) devoted to it? When I looked at the pictures online and saw the walls of different ramen flavors, it really drove home just how much we are missing out. Then, I started doing a deep dive of my own into all the cool flavors that are out there in the world.

Click through to check out the ramen flavors that I am supremely jealous of from Japan, Thailand, and beyond.
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The feeling of insta-ramen FOMO really started to set in when I saw this sea salt and olive flavor from Japan.
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If you want to go French with your ramen, Japan has this ratatouille flavor available.
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This website says that this Bagna Cauda ramen flavor, "[Hits the] olfactory senses a little harder with its signature anchovy bouquet, squash, and lotus root." Um, okay, the ramen I had in college didn't have "bouquets" and didn't really stimulate my olfactory senses at all. How do you say "jealous" in Japanese?
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I just have no words for this. Cheese curry amazingness (or grossness?) from Japan. I'd go there.
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Don't like the idea of cheese and curry together? Well, Japan has got your back: Its insta-ramen covers every option under the sun, including a simpler curry-only flavor.
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Someone could make this pasta in almost no time at home. If you're feeling super lazy, just add water.
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In Japan, you can just add water and have a delicious cup of pasta Bolognese.
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And just to extend my instal-ramen pasta envy, Japan also has a pasta alle vongole (pasta with clams — my personal favorite!) flavor. Though, I am not so sure about seafood and instant ramen? Thoughts?
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Anyone else love pasta with tomato sauce and chili flakes? You'll love this ramen flavor! Oh wait, sorry, we don't live in Japan (a.k.a. Insta-ramen Fantasyland) so we can't have it — boo hoo!
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In Europe, if you tire of the normal ramen noodles, you can opt for instant Soba instead.
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There are also Thai-flavored Soba noodles...
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...And teriyaki...
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...and chili, if you like spice...
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...and curry, too. Sigh.
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Japan also has a somen (thin, white) noodle option available. A quick Internet search tells me that this kind of noodle is normally served cold during the hot summer months (notice the ice on the upper right corner). Cold ramen, too? Official No-Fair status.
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Want to be transported to Spain via cup? This instant ramen is a fusion of traditional Spanish and Japanese flavors, with "garlic flavored olive oil" and "chunky toppings such as shrimp, cabbage, egg, and garlic." If you love all things garlicky and spicy, you'll also love...
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...This red-pepper-infused tonkostsu flavor. But yikes! That "5 over" on the lower left corner makes me think this would be intensely spicy! I wonder if they have customizable spice levels?
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Of course they do! Here is a slightly less spicy variety of their red pepper seafood flavor...
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And if that's still a little too hot for you, there is always this red-pepper-infused tomato chili flavor with mid-level spiciness.
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Then again, if you don't like red pepper at all, you could always go with this wasabi flavor.
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We could all forsake Thai takeout with the help of insta-ramen flavors like this Tom-Yam-Kong Creamy. (Do we have "creamy" options for ramen over here, too? I think not.)
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There is also this hot and sour Thai soup option available in Japan.
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If you still want the seafood flavor, but on the lighter side, there is this plain seafood broth option from Japan.
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Of course, there is also an option where you can have simple seafood broth with added spice.
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Thailand also offers their own version of seafood flavored ramen.
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And the grand finale: If you are a ramen fanatic, you know that real ramen tonkotsu broth takes HOURS to make. That rich, complex, umami flavor does not emerge overnight! Unless, of course, you are in Japan, where you can enjoy tonkotsu deliciousness whenever you want with the help of a kettle.
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