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With people more homebound than ever in recent years, there’s been a renewed interest in instant noodle dishes such as ramen, udon, and yakisoba to name a few. Cheap, easy, and more delicious than they ought to be, there’s an entire universe of meals that only require a few minutes of soaking in hot water.

And to find out which of these products are standing above the rest in terms of popularity, the Japan Instant Food Industry Association held their biennial survey of the state of instant noodle consumption and awareness. As part of the survey, 3,000 men and women from the ages of 15 to 74 were polled to find the top 10 most popular instant noodle products currently on the market.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the results!

Peyoung Sauce Yakisoba

Eternally proving that it’s hip to be square, Peyoung’s distinctive rectangular bowls of instant yakisoba have made it an instantly recognizable brand for decades. They’ve also come out with a slew of special edition flavors over the years, but it’s their original yakisoba sauce that keeps people coming back for more.

Assari Oishi Cup Noodle

This take on the classic Cup Noodle reduces the volume of noodles to about 80 percent and lightens the broth for a less-filling instant noodle experience. While some enjoy this for its intended light-meal quality, others use it as an opportunity to get creative by adding in other ingredients like rice or egg chawanmushi.

Assari Oishi Cup Noodle Seafood

With the same formula as Asari Oishi Cup Noodle, this edition brings in everyone’s favorite seafood ingredients like squid. It nicely fits that space between not-hungry-enough-for-a-regular-Cup-Noodle and too-hungry-for-a-Cup-Noodle-Mini.

▼ This video gives a good look at the noodle-to-broth ratio in the Assari Oishi series

Cup Noodle Curry

It’s probably no shock that the godfather of instant noodles is appearing so prominently in the ranking. Seventh place has been earned by the Curry flavor of the Cup Noodle legacy, and it will likely pick up mildly spicy steam as we approach the cooler months when its rich flavor is most appreciated.

Maru-chan Akai Kitsune Udon (East)

As you can see in the photo above, we found that even the Maasai people of Kenya enjoy the great taste of Akai Kitsune Udon with its thick wheaty noodles and thin patty of fried tofu. Also, the “East” in the name is because this brand actually fine-tunes its soup stock to suit the tastes of different regions of Japan. Now, that’s dedication!

Ippei-chan Yomise No Yakisoba

On our website, the Ippei-chan brand of instant yakisoba is known for their frightening special flavors like chocolate and strawberry cake. However, their standard taste that captures the nostalgic feeling of fried noodles from a nighttime food stall is a tried-and-true recipe for instant noodle fans. Some say the secret is that the sauce is blended in with the actual noodles for added flavor.

Cup Noodle Seafood Noodle

The seafood variation of Cup Noodle often stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the classic original flavor, so we shouldn’t be surprised to see it rank so highly. Actually, in the previous survey it was third place, but was beaten out this year by…

Nissin Yakisoba U.F.O.

And while it’s hip to be square, it’s clearly much hipper to be circular as shown by the huge popularity of Nissin’s “Unidentified Frying Object.” The countless wacky commercials and bizarre inventions U.F.O. has spawned does nothing to distract us from the simple pleasure of its incredibly flavorful sauce and seasoning.

Cup Noodle

What more really needs to be said about the definitive name in instant ramen? A true pioneer of the genre, Cup Noodle brought instant ramen into this world – and beyond – and can take it away if we don’t show this immortal brand the proper respect.

Which makes the fact that it only came in second place very worrisome. So, what could have possibly beaten it?

Maru-chan Gotsumori Sauce Yakisoba

Talk about your dark horse entries! Considering Maru-chan is mostly well-known for its instant cup udon and soba, the company seemed to even upset its own established brands. That’s not to sell their yakisoba short, however, and this special edition that was introduced in 2020 adds a zesty mustard-mayo sauce that skyrocketed it above the competition.

However, it should be noted that this sauce was crafted by none other than Kewpie which is the mayonnaise equivalent to heroin. Some might say that this is more or less bringing in a ringer, but in the end a win’s a win.

Those whose favorite brands did not make the list might prefer the results of a similar survey and ranking held by the Japanese government at the end of 2020. But regardless of whose dataset you subscribe too, the instant ramen market is always in a state of flux and while giants like Peyoung and Cup Noodle keep us anchored, there’s always crazy experiments and strokes of genius to shake things up completely.

Source: Japan Instant Food Industry Association, Limo,
Photos ©SoraNews24
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