According to the World Instant Noodles Association, South Korea ranks number one in terms of consumption per person of instant noodles in 2013, consuming about 74 packets per person (roughly one serving every 5 days).
Instant noodles, known as 라면 (ramyeon) in Korean, is one of the favourite foods of Koreans. Very often, you can see the characters cooking and eating ramyeon in the following way in Korean dramas: cooking ramyeon in a yellow aluminium noodle pot, adding an egg and some green onions to the noodles, and using the lid of the noodle pot as the plate to hold the ramyeon before eating. You can watch this video for the typical Korean way of cooking and eating ramyeon demonstrated by Jiyeon, a member of the idol girl group, T-ara.
It is interesting that although ramyeon is one of the staple foods of Koreans, it did not originate in South Korea. Ramyeon originated from Chinese noodles, developed into instant noodles by the Japanese and then adopted by the Koreans. The first ramyeon in South Korea was produced by Samyang Foods in 1963 when South Korea was very poor after the Korean War. The introduction of ramyeon helped mitigate the food shortage problem at that time.
Currently, there are over 200 types of ramyeon available in the South Korean market. The most popular type is 辛라면(Shin Ramyun), which is well-known for its spicy taste. You can watch the video of the Arirang Issue dated 17 February 2013 mentioned in the References below for an introduction of the more popular types of ramyeon in South Korea.
Apart from being eaten on a stand-alone basis, ramyeon is often added as one of the ingredients to the hot pots – ramyeon becomes very tasty after absorbing the soup of the hot pots – I really enjoy it!
Reminder: The next blog post will be published on 9 January 2015. Watch this space!
“Korea’s ramyeon market looks to make inroads overseas“, Arirang News, 2015-01-05
“Korea ranks number one in ramyeon consumption“, Arirang News, 2014-12-19 – you can find more detail on the World Instant Noodles Association’s report
“Korea Today – 50 years of Korean ramen“, Arirang Issue, 2013-09-24
“Korea Today – The Best Korean Ramyeon Noodles“, Arirang Issue, 2013-02-17 – this video introduces the more popular types of ramyeon in South Korea