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TokyoTreat Japanese Snacks BlogThese Spicy Cup Ramen Options Will Warm Your Heart

These Spicy Cup Ramen Options Will Warm Your Heart

By Terrell
September 13, 2021

Cup ramen really is amazing, isn’t it? It’s super affordable, has plenty of delicious flavors, and is perfect at home or on the go.  But some of us love a little kick too, especially in our noodles. There’s something about a bit (or a lot) of added spice that  may be a little bit painful, yet tasty and oh so satisfying. 

Combine noodles with spice, and you get the masterpiece that is spicy ramen. Let’s look at some delicious spicy cup ramen brands and flavors that are sure to warm your belly and your heart.

A Brief History of Cup Noodles

A green statue of the Inventor of instant and cup noodles Momofuku Ando in front of a gray wall.

Image via Shutterstock

Although the noodles themselves were invented centuries ago, instant noodles only date back to the 1950s. Japanese inventor and businessman Momofuku Ando invented and debuted instant noodles that made use of wheat flour supplied to Japan by the US government after World War II. Ando’s company, Nissin, released the first flavor that would become their signature chicken ramen, Chikin Ramen (literally chicken ramen). Chikin Ramen is still one of the best instant ramen noodles out there.

In 1971, Nissin, debuted instant cup noodles, also in a chicken flavor. Of course, after their widespread success both in Japan and abroad, brands like Maruchan and Nongshimin started to create their own cup noodles with their own unique flavors. There have even been some weird cup ramen flavors from these companies. 

In 2018, it was discovered that about 103 billion servings of instant noodles are eaten per year. It’s not really clear who came up with spicy cup ramen or when, but we are grateful for them nonetheless.

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Spicy Cup Ramen Products

Of course, there are plenty of brands that make cup noodles, and probably just as many spicy cup ramen products available. However, let’s look at three different brands and some of their most popular spicy cup ramen products available.

Nissin Spicy Cup Ramen

A cup of Nissin Cup Noodles Spicy Seafood flavor in front of a white background

Image via Shutterstock

As mentioned before, Nissin is the company that started it all for both instant noodles and cup noodles. Although they started as a salt company, Ando believed that he could help the world by making food to get rid of hunger. Although they started with a signature chicken flavor, today they have many different flavors, including 3 spicy cup ramen flavors featured on their website.

You also may not have noticed, but Nissin is the creator of Top Ramen and Cup Noodles, very popular brands in Western countries. 

Spicy Chile Chicken is a spin on their original flavor and uses noodles made with enriched wheat flour, containing things like niacin, riboflavin, and reduced iron. This cup noodle is packed with vegetables like, dried corn, dried onion flakes, and dried red bell peppers. For protein, you can enjoy powdered chicken, egg white, and soy protein. It gets its kick from ground habanero pepper.

Nissin also has a Hot & Spicy Shrimp flavor that uses the same type of noodles as the Spicy Chile Chicken. This version adds a little bit of flavor with dried cilantro flakes and changes up the broth by using both chicken and shrimp powder to make a uniquely tasty broth. It also has dried green onion, dried red bell pepper, and protein like dried shrimp and egg white.

Their last tongue-tingling feature is a Spicy Lime Shrimp flavor. Although very similar to the Hot & Spicy Shrimp, this flavor adds a hint of lime for a bit of tanginess to go along with the spicy flavor and adds a bit of corn to it as well.

However, there is one more that has to be added to the list. Top Ramen has a notoriously spicy Fiery Chilli flavor that you may have seen people eating on YouTube. It also contains quite a bit of red chilli powder, red chilli, chilli flakes, and cumin, so it’s packed with flavor and spice. It’s also vegetarian-safe.

Maruchan Spicy Cup Ramen

A package of Maruchan Instant Lunch Hot & Spicy Chicken flavor cup noodles on a wood surface in front of a wood wall

Image via Shutterstock

Maruchan is a Japanese-American company that originated in Japan. However, most of their products are sold in the United States and Mexico. For many, Maruchan is one of the most recognizable cup ramen brands in those countries. They have many spicy flavors, but we’ll group them into three groups.

First, we have to talk about the Hot & Spicy flavor line Maruchan offers. Of course, Hot & Spicy Beef and Shrimp are delicious, but Hot & Spicy Chicken is really the king of this line. Much like Nissin, they use enriched wheat flour to make their noodles. 

They also feature quite a few dehydrated vegetables like corn, carrots, onion, garlic, and chive. It adds additional delicious flavor with dehydrated soy sauce, turmeric, and chicken broth.

They also have two flavors in their Lime Chili line with both chicken and shrimp flavors. Both flavors feature habanero and other spices to kick up the heat and a bit of lime powder to get that lime flavor in. They also contain veggies like carrots, green peas, onion, and garlic.  

This last group is actually just one delicious product. The Chili Piquin & Shrimp flavor is unique to Maruchan’s Japanese-American roots, as it’s inspired by the Cajun flavor palette of the Southern bayous. Although light on vegetables, with only carrots, chives, and garlic, it is packed with flavor. Despite being a shrimp flavor and having dried shrimp in it, it is actually a chicken broth base, creating a uniquely delicious flavor combination. 

Nongshim Spicy Cup Ramen

A shelf with 8  Nongshim spicy cup ramen noodles at a supermarket

Image via Shutterstock

Next, we take a look at Korean brand Nongshim. Founded in Seoul in 1965, they’ve been producing cup ramen since the 1980s, and one of their most popular products is their Shin Spicy Ramen. These enriched wheat noodles provide a kick with the inclusion of  both red pepper and black pepper. 

It also uses a beef broth, contrary to many of Nissin and Maruchan’s most popular products. Other seasonings in this cup include ginger and paprika powder. It also has quite a variety of dried vegetables like carrot, mushroom, green onion, and red pepper. This is a popular option often found in Japanese convenience stores.

Did you find any new flavors that you haven’t tried yet? What’s your favorite spicy cup ramen flavor? Let us know in the comments!

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