Hopeless ramen-tics: Alternative ways to prepare the classic student meal


PHOTO BY DREW CRENSHAW /STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

cutout ramen


Juwayriah Wright
CityLifestyle Reporter
juwright@uab.edu


College students are known to be insatiable, but when most of them are on a budget or a time-squeeze, it can be hard to fit healthy, homemade meals into their schedule. Ramen has become iconic amongst them for its ease, but also for its versatility. Just because the quick microwavable meal is simple doesn’t mean it can’t be spiced up and appreciated in different ways.

Elizabeth Jaimes, junior in communications management 

Jaimes, said she only buys 37-cent Maruchan Instant Lunch brand from Wal-Mart. While she doesn’t add additional ingredients, the way she approaches her dish makes it unique.  

“I get the shrimp chili lime flavor because it’s a good balance of sour and spicy.  I just add water and microwave it. A little secret between you and me is that I take out the veggies before I put the water in it and eat them without being cooked. I have no clue why I started doing this, maybe because of my impatience, but it’s turned into a habit. I guess I’d say now it’s more of a guilty pleasure. I know it’s not the healthiest thing to do but I like the saltiness of the uncooked peas, carrots and tiny shrimp.” 


 Alex Noble, senior in chemistry 

Noble, years after following the basics, now approaches ramen in a completely different way.  

“After a while I got tired of eating ramen plain just with the seasoning, and I needed to add some extra stuff to spice it up, like vegetables, chicken and beef.  I like crunchy vegetables like broccoli, just so there’s a texture.  A lot of my friends would make a pasta out of it, sometimes. They’d drain the broth and wouldn’t add the seasoning, and just put tomato sauce in it. It actually isn’t that bad, it’s decent.” 


Hannah Bae, junior in public relations 

Bae is loyal to only one brand of ramen, also known as one of the spiciest ramen on earth. 

 “I eat Korean Samyang fire ramen, which was the subject of all those YouTube spicy ramen challenges over the past few years. There are several types of fire ramen, but I tend to stick with the original on the typical day. It’s different because there’s no “broth” and after the noodles are done boiling, it’s briefly stir-fried in the spicy sauce that comes in a packet. I cook it according to the instructions and then on a separate pan, I fry a little bit of spam and add it to the noodles. It makes the dish a little more savory. Then you add shredded cheese of your choosing on top to help temper the spice level.” 


Juan Sanchez, junior in accounting 

Sanchez uses a recipe he found online which he said although is different, truly is the best mix of ramen possible.  “I just drain the water out of the ramen and then dump the noodles into a container. Then I add canned tuna and mix it with mayonnaise. It’s got to be the McCormick brand, though. I also add corn and green peppers.” 


IKKO Japanese Ramen and Sushi 

Julie Wang, Manager of IKKO Japanese Ramen and Sushi, suggests that adding vegetables such as bok choy and mushrooms to your ramen will both enhance the flavor as well as add nutrition. “Traditionally we don’t use a lot of vegetables, but here we really like bok choy. Mushrooms are also really good for you; most mushrooms are crispy. The noodles in ramen are soft, so we try to make something crispy on the top, so you taste something different with a different texture. I really like cilantro, after you finish cooking the ramen put some in there; it makes a really big difference.  It tastes fresher. Packaged ramen has all those chemicals but if you put some vegetables, like tomato or cilantro, and then put some cheese on the top, it really makes it taste fresh.”
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