There are a vast variety of instant noodles in Japan. From globally-known ramen to other oft-mentioned alternatives such as yakisoba (fried noodle typically seasoned with a sauce similar to Worcestershire sauce), udon (thick wheat noodle), soba (buckwheat noodle) or somen (very thin noodle made of wheat flour).
With so many varieties to choose from it might be difficult sometimes to choose the best noodles, so here at Japanese Taste we have curated 10 of the most popular instant noodles other than ramen available on our site. If you still feel you have not found your favorite noodles you can also access and explore the full list of noodles we have on our site.
Nissin UFO Yakisoba is the most famous and popular instant yakisoba in Japan. According to Nissin, more than 5 billion UFO yakisoba cups have been sold since its launch and the product has maintained the No.1 position as the most sold instant yakisoba in Japan for 25 successive years.
The rich and spicy sauce pairs very well with the thick noodles, pork bites, and chopped cabbage. All you need to do is pour hot water, wait for 3 minutes, drain the water, add condiments and sauce into the package, mix it, and take a bite. We offer three options for this product: a single cup, a set of 3 cups, and a set of 6 cups.
This yakisoba is also produced by Nissin but not part of the UFO series. It's a standard instant yakisoba which contains specially blended sauce and flaked aonori (dried green laver). Although you need to prepare a frying pan, it's easy-to-cook: boil the water in the pan, put the noodles in it, heat and disentangle noodles, add sauce and aonori flake just before all the water get absorbed by noodles, and mix it together.
No other condiments nor toppings are included. This means, however, you can add any topping you like. Time to use your creativity and make your only original yakisoba in the world! Topping customization is another way to enjoy instant noodles.
This is a square-package version of Nissin yakisoba. The noodle got renewed that compared to previous version its texture is closer to the fresh noodles. The sauce consists of 11 spices which has mild savory, still it has outstandingly rich flavor.
Making this type of yakisoba (as well as the UFO mentioned earlier) is a bit tricky. First, peel the lid to about a third and take all packets inside it. Second, pour the hot water into the cup. Make sure all noodles are under water, and don't pour sauce at this moment. Third, the cup usually has small seal on one of the four corners of the lid. Find it and peel it so you can see the built-in water drainage holes. Fourth, use these holes to drain the water. Make sure to drain all water and hold the opened lid with your hands otherwise the noodles will also fall down! And finally, you can add sauce and other topping onto the noodles. We offer this Nissin's long-seller instant yakisoba with a set of 3 units.
The most famous Japanese instant soba is the "Donbei" series, or Nissin's another product brand. Nissin has developed the instant soba noodles making its texture closer to that of a raw soba noodle. The soy sauce soup is made from low fat katsuobushi dashi (dried bonito soup base), which won't be a heavy burden to your stomach compared to a full-bodied ramen. Also, a tempura is included in this cup; its crunchy texture makes your soba time more enjoyable. Even a soaked tempura is delicious because it absorbs the tasty soup.
This is the most vastly sold instant udon in Japan, and probably in the international market. Like the Donbei soba, this product also has katsuobushi-based soup stock which nicely suits with the noodles and toppings. You may get amazed at a large deep fried tofu once you open the cup. This topping makes the udon more attractive and tasty because the contrast of texture between fried tofu and chewy noodle is definitely amazing. And again, if you soak this fried tofu in the soup, it gets more delicious. Although you have to wait for 5 minutes after you pour the hot water into the cup container, it's worth trying!
Amano Foods is a Japanese firm noted for producing freeze dried instant foods, especially miso soup. Amano also provides nyumen (thin noodles made from wheat in a warm dashi soup). To eat this product, open the packet and put the freeze dried food in to the bowl. Next, pour the hot water into the bowl and wait for 30 seconds. It's a new generation instant noodles that you don't have to wait for 3 minutes!
Noodles are handmade, all ingredients are free of additives. This product has four flavors: soy sauce, yuzu citrus, chicken broth, and five veggies. A perfect instant Japanese food for those who wish to have light meal without spending too much time, even a single minute.
Here's another recommended instant yakisoba. It's from Maruchan, a Japanese instant noodle brand owned by Toyo Suisan Kaisya, Ltd. "Gotsumori" means big serving. Generally, the normal-sized instant yakisobas contain approximately 100g of noodle, but this one contains 130g.
What makes this yakisoba distinctive is a mustard-added mayonnaise originally created for this product. This is a collaboration with a company called Kewpie which specializes in manufacturing seasonings especially mayonnaise and dressing. The mixture of spicy sauce and mild hot mustard is truly fabulous. A single bite of this yakisoba, and you'll get melted.
If you're a great lover of tempura, and also has a desire of eating it with a warm bowl of Japanese noodles, this is a must try. This instant udon includes large kakiage (a mixed-vegetable tempura) mainly consists of onion. Give your first bite on this kakiage; you'll never forget its crunchy texture and the sound when you bite it. Another way to enjoy this veggie tempura is to soak it into the soup (katsuobushi flavor). The texture gets mushy but the soup-absorbed kakiage goes yummy. In short, this is an ideal instant foods which can enjoy two major Japanese dishes at once: udon and tempura.
Technically, this product belongs to ramen. But this mug-sized noodle is a snack which is rarely eaten during the main meals. Therefore, we decided to include this into this article.
This instant noodle has two different flavors, consommé soy sauce and seafood, with cute dog-designed and panda-designed slices of naruto (fish cake) included, respectively. Further, both flavors contain Vitamin B1, B2, and Calcium, making this noodle an ideal snack for growing children, and adults looking for relatively nutritious instant noodles. It's worth trying, don't underestimate the MUG Noodle just because it's snacky! We offer this product with a set of 3 units.
Do you wish to have noodles other than those solely seasoned with dashi? Then let's make some changes. This one is so-called a curry udon, literally an udon seasoned with a curry. The soup has distinctive umami thanks to the lovely combo of soy sauce based soup and pork extract. By adding these, it makes the curry soup milder, so for those who can't handle spicy foods can eat this. Eating this udon without any change is of course tasty, but if you add some toppings like cheese, chicken, potato, or mushroom, your curry udon will be fancier.
By the way, one thing you may have to know when eating curry udon is that if you don't have a bib, be careful when eating because the curry-coated noodles are prone to splash curry soup on your clothes. Indeed, many Japanese face similar troubles when eating the curry udon, especially when they wear freshly washed white shirt!