Giving Your Next Ramen a Little Bit of Flair

There is seldom a sense of refinement in the area of ubiquity. But Stacy Austin takes a shot at it with the anytime-anywhere meal that is Korean ramen.

It’s a common problem to have in Korea. You’ve been out all night and you’re hungry. What do I do? I go to the closest 24-hour convenience store to conduct the quintessential Korea food experiment that is instant ramen. 

I know, I know. You might be thinking, “Ew! Yuck! Why?” There are plenty of 24-hour soup restaurants, but honestly, at that hour, I’d probably suffer a first-degree burn from boiling dwaeji gukbap. Also, I’d probably already have eaten McDonald’s that week. And, last time I went to Lotteria drunk at night, I woke up with three bulgogi burgers in my purse the next morning.

Regardless of whether you’re getting payday drunk or not, ramen and any additional ‘upgrades’ – as I like to call them – are extremely affordable. You can’t really mess it up, per se, but I will provide you a few tips to improve your next ramen dining experience.

First off, pick your ramen.

It’s easy to be crippled by choice, as there’s a lot of variety out there, such as spaghetti, cheese bokki, tteokguk and cheese curry. For that matter, why pick one? Pick two.

Yes, two! The MBC TV program, Where are you going, Daddy?, made the combination of Japaghetti (black bean sauce Chinese-style noodles) and Neoguri (instant udon) extremely popular.

Korean Ramen variety

A cup of buldak bokkeum ramen (or the squid version) is like punching yourself in the stomach. This is not a food you can devour on a daily basis. It’s just too extreme. But if you’re just having one of those days where you have a gnawing feeling in your gut that cries out to be punished, you can do no better.

Shin Ramyun is the highest selling brand of noodles in South Korea. They are consistently tasty, but their premium Black version is an unsung hero in my book and has real addictive potential.

Find your upgrades.

Adding a one-extra-item upgrade to your ramen is usually enough. Here’s my list of favorites: American cheese, tuna, ground pepper, kimchi, peanut butter, dried seaweed, potato chips, microwavable rice, boiled egg, dried fish, squid or beef. Try at your own risk.

Once you’ve completed your purchase, locate the hot water dispenser. Before splitting your chopsticks in two, wedge the edge of the ramen top between your two chopsticks, so no steam can get out. Then, when your noodles are done cooking, drain some of the water out. (Too much liquid is always the mark of a ramen noob.)

Mix in the ingredients and whatever additions you have. You can happily start slurping from your bowl at this point, or you can fold your ramen top into a cone to put your steaming noodles into. Either way, you’re gold. Enjoy!

The Latest Haps


Kim Young-ran Law May be Altered in March

The amount of the food allowance in the Kim Young-ran law may be altered from March in order to help domestic demand.

Philippines Police

Korean Man Reported Kidnapped in Philippines Last Year Found Dead

A South Korean man who was reportedly kidnapped in the Philippines in 2016 was recently found dead by local authorities there.

busan population

Busan’s Population Falls Under 3.5 Million

The population of registered resident in Busan has fallen under 3.5 million two months earlier than was originally expected.


Mongolian Consulate Moves to Haeundae

The Mongolian consulate in Busan has moved to a larger facility in Haeundae.


Monthly Ha Ha Hole Returns Friday Night

This Friday, January 20th, at HQ Bar KSU sees the return of the monthly Ha Ha Hole, Busan’s only live English comedy show.

Image: Wikicommons

Shinhwa to Perform in February at BEXCO

Legendary K-pop boy band Shinwha is performing a concert in Busan on February 11th as part of their “Unchanging” tour.

Image: BIFF

Busan International Film Festival Announces 2017 Dates

The Busan International Film Festival will begin a little later than usual this year because of the Chuseok holidays.


Video: Al Jazeera’s 101 East – Fleeing South Korea

Watch an episode of Al Jazeera’s 101 East which focuses on why Korea’s youth are fleeing their home country for life and work overseas.


Korea Grand Sale Underway Nationwide

The Korea Grand Sale is underway until February 28th and offer great discounts and cultural performances for visitors.


Where’s the Cheapest Place to Buy Food this Lunar New Year’s?

Are you wondering where the cheapest places food are to buy food for the Lunar New Year’s holidays?


Sulbing to Open First Location in Fukuoka

Sulbing, Busan’s famous patbingsu dessert chain, will open its first location in Fukuoka on February 3rd.


Hard Rock Cafe Offers “Global Day” Discount for Foreigners

Hard Rock Cafe Busan is offering a Wednesday night “Global Day” discount for foreigners.

Image: Gorilla Beer Co.

Gorilla Brewing Hosting Special Beer Event Tonight

Gorilla Brewing Company is hosting an “all-you-can-drink” event tonight at the brewery in Millak-dong.

Sapa Vietnam

The Traditional Cultures of Sapa Vietnam

Take a look inside the traditional cultures of the Vietnamese highlands

incheon airport immigration

South Korea to Beef Up Security at Airports This Year

Officials said today, starting in April, South Korea will check information on inbound air passengers to sort out potential terrorists.


2017 Winter Travel Season Events in Busan

Busan City is holding the “2017 Winter Travel Season Program – Morak Morak Busan Winter Story”, where tourists can enjoy eateries at traditional markets and hot springs in Busan through January 30.

figure skating

ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2017 Schedule

The ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2017 is taking place February 16-19 at the Gangneung Ice Arena.

baseball lotte

Giants Hwang Jae-gyun to Leave the KBO

Infielder for the Lotte Giants Hwang Jae-gyun has decided to leave the Korean Baseball Organization to challenge the Major Leagues.


South Korea to Spend $780 Million on PyeongChang Preparations

The sports ministry said that South Korea plans to spend 937.2 billion won (US$779.7 million) this year in support for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games preparations.





HQ bar