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Ramen Hacks: Upgrade Your Instant Noodles into Gourmet Meals

Instant noodles are high in sodium and low in nutrition, but they will always have a special place in my belly. It is one of my favorite comfort foods that I occasionally eat late at night when I want something quick, hearty and not necessarily healthy. There are many varieties and many brands of instant noodles to choose from, but my all-time favorite is Mama Shrimp Flavor (Tom Yum) Oriental Style Instant Noodles. I eat this brand exclusively. No other brand can come between me and my Mama instant noodles, not even the widely popular and husband's favorite, Nongshim Shin Ramyun instant noodles. Both ramens are always well stocked in the pantry, enough to sustain us in a zombie apocalypse.

As a kid, I ate instant noodles dry, straight from the bag. An after school snack was a bag of Mama instant noodles, crushed into small pieces and sprinkled with the accompanying seasoning packet. It was a poor man's snack, but it was one of my favorite childhood memories. Kids these day will never know the awesomeness of dry instant noodles straight from the bag.

My instant noodles have gotten a lot more sophisticated over the years. I pimp my instant noodles with lots of veggies, proteins and always an egg. Boom. Instant noodles are now full-blown semi-healthy meals. Best of all, they are quick to make. Proteins are usually leftovers and vegetables are whatever I have in my fridge or freezer at the time.

I love trying the real ramen in ramen shops but there are times when I just rather have my favorite instant noodles with some simple additions. Below are my three favorite combinations of toppings that can turn boring instant noodles into ghetto-fabulous meals. 

Common instant ramen toppings: Kimchi, shrimp, dried seaweed, sesame seeds, green onions, eggs, corn, bok choy, fish cakes, Chinese roasted pork, and roasted chicken

Common instant ramen toppings: Kimchi, shrimp, dried seaweed, sesame seeds, green onions, eggs, corn, bok choy, fish cakes, Chinese roasted pork, and roasted chicken

Instant Noodles with Roasted Chicken, Hard-Boiled Quail Eggs, and Corn

Instant Noodles with Roasted Chicken, Hard-Boiled Quail Eggs, and Corn

Instant Noodles with Fish Cakes, Shrimp, Kimchi, and Fried Egg

Instant Noodles with Fish Cakes, Shrimp, Kimchi, and Fried Egg

Instant Noodles with Chinese BBQ Pork (Char Siu/Xa Xiu), Baby Boy Choy, and Poached Egg

Instant Noodles with Chinese BBQ Pork (Char Siu/Xa Xiu), Baby Boy Choy, and Poached Egg