"Emily is just starting out—and on a budget. Like a ramen-noodle-every-night budget. She thought Allstate car insurance was out of her reach."When you hear the word "ramen," what do you think of? If you are a Westerner, African or West Asian, chances are you think of dried noodles with some strange powder, served in a styrofoam cup. You pour boiling water into the cup, wait for three minutes, and serve. Ramen is also usually inexpensive, leading to the quote above where having to eat ramen on a daily basis is an implication that you're close to broke. Which companies and brands you see most often will depend on the country you're from:
- Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and South Africa: Maggi's Two-Minute Noodles (actually from India)
- Some Australians (in particular recent uni students) prefer Indonesian brand Indomie's Mie Goreng,note which are also produced by the Nissin's Indonesian operation.
- United Kingdom: Unilever's Pot Noodles
- The United States and Latin America: Maruchan's Instant Lunch and Nissin's Cup Noodles and Top Ramennote
- Canada: Mr. Noodles, Nong Shim, and Sapporo Ichiban.
- In an example of Brand Name Takeover, "ichiban" is often used as a generic term in Canada to refer to any type of ramen. In the original Japanese, it means "number one".
- Poland: Yum Yum, Vifon and Knorr Nudle - the last one has many unusual flavors for ramen, including Hungarian goulash and very popular locally tomato soup.
- Russia: Korea Yakult's Doshirak and local Rollton brand,note although recently Nong Shim started to make a dent. Chinese/Taiwanese brand "Master Kang" and Vietnamese "Choice", "Mivimex" and to the lesser extent "Mivina" (which is more popular in Ukraine) are the locally popular imports, as are the Japanese brands, which are seen as a more upscale product, often costing as much as a freshly made dish of ramen in the Japanese restaurant.
- Germany: Maggi 5-Minuten-Terrine
- Indonesia, Nigeria and The Middle East (minus Israel): Indomie, favored for being fairly good and halal. In Jordan and the rest of the Levant, Indomie just refers to any instant ramen.
- Philippines: Lucky Me and Payless.
Dehydrated noodles as seen in media
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Anime and Manga
- Part of Haruhi's "commoner food" in Ouran High School Host Club.
- The heroes in Cowboy Bebop always find themselves eating dried noodles of various types due to their constant lack of money. It becomes a Running Gag. This being the future, the cups have a little steam-making device built into them.
- Lucky Star has a few scenes with instant ramen, discussing the tendency to forget about it while it's cooling.
- Resident ojou of Seitokai Yakuindomo also appears to be quite fond of ramen.
- One of the Project X nonfiction business documentary mangas is about Nissin and the creation of the Cup Noodle.
- In one episode of Patlabor, the prince of a Middle Eastern nation comes to visit Japan to check out their mecha police program. After becoming friends with the show's police squad he becomes enamored with "commoner" food and demands to be provided with every flavor of dried noodles they can find.
- Despite living with a very good cook, Kazuki Yotsuga and Ken Sanada of Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure wind up sneaking instant ramen at midnight, saying they need that cheap junk food taste.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, Cup Ramen is specifically stated to be Jack Atlas' Trademark Favorite Food. Justified, in the sense that he (along with Yusei and Crow) grew up as an poor orphan in Satellite, and they were so deprived that even eating cheap Cup Ramen is a considerable luxury for them.
- A specific brand, Red Demon's Noodle (a reference to his Signature Card) was a focal point in one episode.
- In one chapter of Area 88, McCoy sells Shin a case of cup ramen, which Shin much appreciates as a taste of home. Meanwhile in Japan, Ryoko decides to just have a cup ramen instead of eating anything fancy. The chapter closes with both of them waiting on their serving of cup ramen to finish cooking—Shin with a huge grin on his face.
- Dragon Ball Super: Vegeta bribes Whis with instant ramen to get Whis to train him.
- In A.A. Pessimal's Discworld and The Big Bang Theory crossover The Many Worlds Interpretation, Ponder Stibbons is introduced to instant ramen in a laser research lab at Caltech by Leslie Winkle. He tastes them and instantly realises there are Dibblers on Roundworld. He deduces this because like a Dibbler sausage, you can't believe what you're eating, you sense the plastic pot would be more nutritious and less harmful than the contents, you have suspicions as to what nameless stuff goes into it, and yet knowing all this, you still want to eat the stuff.
- In Uglies, they have tons of types of dehydrated meals, many involving noodles, which are all written in CamelCase, and so would all be Wiki Word-ed here.
- In The Tomorrow Series, city girl Fi is entirely unfamiliar with Two-Minute Noodles. Jack tells her about him subsisting on Two-Minute Noodles for a whole week when living with his father before the war.
Live Action TV
- In Red Dwarf, Lister refers to "Pot Noodles" as a meal of last resort. He eats dog food over them in "Marooned", and in "Angels and Demons", when on a "perfected" version of the Red Dwarf, he tests its perfection by ordering Pot Noodles from the food dispenser.
- In a first-season episode of Breaking Bad, Walter White gives a pack of ramen to his old business partner Elliott Schwartz as a memento from their days working together as struggling graduate students.
- An early episode of ER had Dr. Ross catching Dr. Carter preparing to feast on a cup of instant noodles, despite being from a very wealthy family. Turns out, his family cut him off due to a disagreement.
- In Once Upon a Time, when Mr Gold is banished from Storybrooke and moves in with Ursula the Sea Witch, he's shown making ramen noodles in the microwave as an illustration of how much he's fallen. Ursula explains to him how it works, to which he irritatedly points out that he's been in the real world almost as long as she has.
- On Orange Is the New Black, the inmates use ramen seasoning packets to season the disgusting food that is introduced after the corporate takeover of the prison.
- In Ace Attorney, Dick Gumshoe frequently finds himself eating ramen... when he can afford it.
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater takes place in 1964, and ramen is an uncommon item that offers excellent stamina recovery, and doesn't rot like other foods.
- In a not in the least bit subtle example of Product Placement, Final Fantasy XV prominently features Nissin Cup Noodles as both a food item that can be eaten at camp and as the subject of an entire sidequest where Gladiolus convinces the party to find a special ingredient of the player's choice to make the perfect cup. It has to be seen to be believed.
- If that wasn't bizarre enough, one of the game's recent DLC items is a giant Cup Noodles hat for Noctis that originally appeared exclusively in a Japanese TV spot aired around the time of the game's release.
- One subplot in Yakuza 3 revolves around a food conglomerate trying to replicate the signature dish at local ramen restaurant in instant form.
- Cup 'O Ramen is a very cheap quick meal available in The Sims 2: University.
- In Undertale, Instant Noodles are a food available in Dr. Alphys's lab. Unlike other food items, however, when consumed, you are described the entire process of preparing them (it doesn't take quite as long, but...it gets the point across), and are about as healthy as in real life, as they only grant you 4 HP. If you use them in one of the possible final bosses, however, you instantly consume them and they max out your HP. "They're better dry".
- Implied in a few NPC thoughts in The World Ends with You — they don't specify, but 100-yen ramen is probably not a fresh bowl from Ramen Don's. Incidentally, that very shop does offer insta-noodles in exchange for a 100-yen pin (cash not accepted for this product); unlike Ken Doi's other fare, this one is no good for Stat Grinding as it only boosts your sync rate.
- The students in PHD feed off of dried ramen and free food.
- Despite being French, Mona Montrois in C'est la Vie is incapable of cooking: she appears to live on cigarettes, strong drink and pot noodles (instant ramen).
- Noblesse has the main character having ramen as his Trademark Favorite Food despite his high-class background.
- There is a video out there (on YouTube) where purely for scientific interest, two willing volunteers prepare and consume a twelve-year-old Pot Noodle found in the forgotten dark depths of a food cupboard. What worried them was that while it looked grey and unnappetising, it still tasted broadly as if it were still fresh. Preservatives are there for a purpose, it seems...
Fresh ramen as seen in media
Anime and Manga
- The eponymous character in Naruto is a fan of ramen, referring specifically to the fresh kind (and the dehydrated one, too, which he eats on a daily basis). The series has a ramen bar, Ichiraku Ramen, that's internationally famous.
- It's telling that even after everything Naruto went through (up to finally becoming Hokage and starting a relatively well-off family of his own, he still brings his family and friends to Ichiraku, as a mark that he remembers his roots.
- Ramen Fighter Miki focuses on competing ramen delivery services.
- In One Piece, Wanze fights using ramen noodles as armor and as grappling.
- Oishinbo has devoted chapters here and there to ramen and other noodles.
- AIR: Kunisaki Yukito is dirt-poor, third-rate street performer who will do anything for a bowl of real ramen.
- Tampopo is considered the classic Japanese ramen movie.
- The Ramen Girl, a movie about an American woman who follows her boyfriend to Japan, ends up getting dumped by him and left stranded there, and later drowns her sorrows at a local ramen restaurant. To cope with the loss, she vows to become an expert ramen cook and convinces the restaurant owner to train her in cooking ramen. She also gains the ability to create empathetic food - putting her tears in the broth - and uses it in the closing scene of Probably Happily Ever After back in the USA.
- In The World Ends with You, there's a ramen restaurant (Ramen Don) whose food affects the player characters' stats. In Week 2, Day 3, a mission revolves around Ramen Don and a rival ramen shop which opens a few doors down.
- Persona 3 had Hagakure Ramen as a typical hangout location, usually important for Social Links.
- Ramen has apparently become an Earth delicacy in the Mass Effect universe by the time of Mass Effect 2. Kasumi speaks about her grandmother preparing it, and a cook at a restaurant on the Citadel can also be overheard talking about it. Alternatively, the chef is trying to con some Citadel tourists into eating "genuine" Earth cuisine.
- In one of the levels of Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan the cheerleading squad has to help the owner of a failing ramen shop revitalize his establishment.
- In Pokémon Sun and Moon, the restaurant in Seafolk Village is famous for its ramen.