Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 11 a.m.
tudents at Cal State Fullerton are protesting the massive fee hike today by rolling out a soup kitchen that serves only Top Ramen, the classic fare of starving collegiates. Upon learning of the event, my friend David simply remarked, "I wish students at my alma mater could have picked a better quality of ramen for this protest!"
While we commend the young scholars for sticking it to the Man in a creative way, he's got a point. Sure, Top Ramen is probably the most symbolic of dire economic times, but savvy college students have long turned to more edible instant ramen options at similar prices, even if it would require a trip to 99 Ranch or Mitsuwa Market.
Here are some alternatives to Nissin's Top Ramen that are equally unhealthy, but at least taste pretty good.
Usually sitting on the shelves next to the Top Ramen is a dizzying array of Instant Lunch varies, manufactured by Irvine-based Maruchan. All of the varieties have the standard flimsy, six-bites-and-you're-done noodles, but this Mexican-inspired flavor--enhanced with limón, chile and habanero--is actually tasty. The spicy broth has a pronounced lime flavor, and there's a good amount of tiny veggies and shrimp in the mix. For an added kick, douse some Tapatío sauce on top.
The ultimate comfort food, this Korean noodle soup is a college campus staple in Southern California. The blaring red broth can clear sinuses for days and the soft noodles glimmering with oil can soothe the deepest late-night hunger pangs. Add an egg and some kimchi, and it's a completely legitimate meal (says me).
Much pricier than the others at $1.99, many say it's the closest you can get to "real ramen" from a package. The noodles are chewy, as if they were handmade. The soup is robust and savory, clinging to the noodles as it should. A great instant-ramen splurge.