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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.

The Videos

Ramen Videos
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:

P.S. If you’re hungry for some sodium and noodles, feel free to let us know about it on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+

  • Kuwagata498

    Wow! So much Ramen!

  • Anonymous

    German Ramen.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEYpTZe-fSY

    Czech Ramen.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PY0sq7cx_k0

    AKB48 Ramen.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tB-HB8V1rZE

    Spider-man Ramen.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tzwr2PMG5U

    And I found this in the YouTube comments by Bekll

    “From what I counted (and double checked), dating back to 1997 (on his
    site) from no.4290 (the latest posted at the time I did this), there
    have been 101 given a 4 star rating. And there have also been 5 given a
    4.5 star rating: 2449; 2448; 2420; 2277; No.c77. I’ve seen 0 with a 5
    star rating (since I bet only authentic ramen gets a 5 from tontantin).”

  • Anonymous

     2448 – 日清具多 GooTa 中華海鮮 八宝菜麺 豚骨塩味  4.5 stars (on website)

    2449 – 日清具多 GooTa 手包雲呑麺 清湯醤油味   4.5 stars (on website too)

    These are ramen from 2002-12.

  • http://www.twitter.com/christaran Chris Taran

    “Still, do people eat these? I guess they must…”
    This is sarcasm, correct?

  • Jheri

    He rated my favorite ramen 2/5 D: ahah

  • Anonymous

    I can’t eat most instant ramen. If it has a liquid packet I can’t eat it. So basically just cup noodle. And I think there’s another but that one tastes like shit. I actually only recently discovered that I DON’T hate absolutely everything with soy sauce in it. Yay for the amazing Japanese restaurant where I live.

    I’ll have to try cup noodle when I go to Japan in May though. Maybe something other than “seafood curry & cheese.”

  • Hinoema

    What, no Korean ramen?

    *slurps HooRooRook*

  • http://twitter.com/WackoMcGoose Kimura Okagawa

    I got a stomachache just looking at the video thumbnails. *urp* お腹とても痛い。。。

  • Jim

    He has Shin Ramyun up there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dogjuice Hans Lienesch

    Hey – there’s also someone in the USA doing this;l maybe not video based though, but I’m up to 655 instant noodles reviews on The Ramen Rater ( http://www.theramenrater.com ) – I’m hot on tontantin’s heels and should catch up with him in just over a year hopefully – maybe two… Noodle power!!!

  • http://www.tofugu.com koichi

    ohhh, I shoulda known. GooTa really is amazing instant ramen.

  • MilkyChocoxD

    I think the reason that American ramen sucks so bad is because Americans don’t know what real ramen is supposed to taste like, so Japan is able to send us cheap food and get away with it, no one will notice because they’ve never had real, authentic ramen. You can’t trick Japanese people the same way.

    Also, are you going to do more obvious posts or are those done?

  • MilkyChocoxD

    Also, TonTanTin noodles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_a9NxJdYOY&feature=related

  • AbelSayuri

    Oh Ramen how I miss the……NOT

    Actually all the people I know that have eaten American ramen have been poor college students and things don’t get cheaper than that american ramen. Truly it is terrible but really what else would we eat that is bad for our health but is the least expense thing in the grocery store.

    To bad I didn’t know about this guy and these videos when I was stuffing that terrible mess down my throat and deteriorating my brain. now this is truly the problem with american schools today, to many people eating the world’s worst ramen.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/3AGZIKP5RTGIDWNOI6AB3SYDSE Mycha

    :) Actually in Poland we call it “Chinese soup” :) 

  • http://www.facebook.com/nature.of.reality Uli Juli

    Are there any good vegetarian ramen?

  • http://profiles.google.com/jonadab.theunsightlyone Jonadab the Unsightly One

    I can’t believe he gave the American “Cup Noodles” 1.5 stars.  I’ve had those:  they might legitimately rate 0.5 stars, tops.  About the best thing you can say for them is they’re technically edible and easy to prepare.  I’ve also had the Maruchan ramen, which he gives 2 stars.  They’re not great, but they’re at *least* four times better than the Cup Noodles.  

    Actually, 2 stars is probably a pretty fair rating for the Maruchan ramen, assuming that the scale goes up to 5 for packaged/instant stuff.  Good homemade food would have to be rated in the range of 50-100, and restaurant food might score as high as 15 or so, on a good day.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jonadab.theunsightlyone Jonadab the Unsightly One

    Sort of.  On the one hand, some people (by which I mean college students) will scarf down virtually anything, up to and including Treat (the chintzy off-brand competitor of Spam).  On the other hand, there’s some question about whether ingesting Cup Noodles actually counts as eating.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jonadab.theunsightlyone Jonadab the Unsightly One

    > You can’t trick Japanese people the same way.

    Well, not with ramen, of course, because that’s a Japanese food.  You could probably, however, feed them nasty bottom-of-the-barrel comes-in-a-blue-box the-cheese-is-neon-orange-powder macaroni and cheese (hopefully I don’t have to name the specific brand; you know the stuff I mean) and they’d likely never know it was different from the real thing.  

    What do you mean, Americans eat macaroni and cheese made from real noodles, three kinds of actual cheese plus Velveeta to make it smooth, and real sauce made from real milk, seasoned with garlic and onion, baked to golden-brown perfection?  My English teacher who doesn’t actually speak English never taught me about that!

  • Anonymous

    Lol, the cheese yakisoba’s on here (and he only gave it a 2/5) :D  It’s pretty good… if you add a generous amount of your favorite shredded cheese (that’s what I like to do). 

  • caro

    I don’t think Hoo roo rook is a ramen and it’s not similar to Japanese ramen. It’s more of an instant Korean-style noodle soup.

  • caro

    I just looked at a Korean commercial and it likens the soup to kalguksu which is Korean knife-cut noodle soup.