In this edition of Tofugu’s weekly Saturday Timewaster, I’d like to regale to you a story about a man who’s videotaped the creation of one-thousand four-hundred fifty-two bowls of instant ramen and instant yakisoba. How he’s done the… wait… wait…… seriously? ONE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED FIFTY TWO? Obviously the feat of strength here isn’t the videos themselves… it’s not dying of cholesterol poisoning somewhere in the nine hundreds. Holy crap, this man is a beast.
The Ramen Noodle Diary
First of all, I had no idea there were nearly 1,500 variations of instant ramen in existence on this planet. Second, over the course of around 5 years, the YouTube user tontantin went ahead and reviewed all of them. You can see how far he’s come.
His first video:
Compared to his latest video…
You can tell he found his stride and style somewhere in between while making those 1,500 instant ramen reviews. So let’s see now… Five and a half-ish years. Fifteen hundredish videos. So take the 1,500 videos and divide that by 2,000 days. That gives you .75 ramen reviews per day, or a review every 1.33 days. I hope he visits his doctor often so he can keep doing this.
Are you ready to see some of his videos? Although I haven’t seen all 1,452 of his videos, one pattern I’ve noticed is his strict scoring. I think I’ve seen a 4-star rating once (before today, when I actively went out to search for high-rated ramen), and I somehow doubt there’s a 5-star anywhere in existence out there. It’s the unicorn of instant ramen review scores. Tontantin has high standards when it comes to instant ramen, just like anyone should (seriously, wtf Costco Ramen? Where are your standards?).
It’s hard to pick favorites, but these are some good ones. I’d watch all 1,452, but then there’d probably be five hundred more new videos he’s created in the time it took to watch all the old ones.
Videos are in Japanese, though the instant ramen itself is from various countries. There’s a lot of Japanese instant ramen (of course), but there’s also Korean, Chinese, and even ramen from Poland as well (and many, many more countries too). Before today, did you know Poland made instant ramen? Neither did I. It’s about as good looking as you’d expect.
Not even a Polish sausage in sight. To be fair, though, it’s not really ramen. But still…
Anyways, prepare to get hungry. Although I don’t eat much instant ramen anymore (all done with those days), I can’t deny that some of these look pretty good.
And, just because I love you, here’s some of those mystical 4-star ones. I couldn’t find higher ones, though if you’ve found one, be sure to share them in the comments:
American Instant Ramen, Rated
Let’s see how the good ol’ classic American instant ramen fares… I think it does about as good as you’d expect. Some of these are right up there with all those sushi abominations we Americans make as well… not quite as bad though… not quite… Still, do people eat these? I guess they must…
Even Cup Noodle in America tastes different from Japanese Cup Noodle. Seriously, where are our standards? Apparently Japan just sends us the Cup Noodle Japan dregs or something… or we just have a bad sense of what’s good in cup noodle. Probably a bit of both.
And… I’m pretty sure he was just being polite when he put any stars down at all for some of these.
Obviously, Tontantin has a ton more videos if you’re interested in seeing them. There’s a website (i-ramen.net) and there’s also the YouTube Channel (user: Tontantin). Each video is about a minute long (sometimes less) so you can expect to spend around 1250 minutes watching them all, if you plan to sit through start to finish (possibly in search for the mythical 4.5 star ramen?).
But, before I let you go, I thought I should teach you a thing or two about ramen. To be a true ramen master, you have to learn from the pros: