Korean Spicy Noodles and Ramen


For those who love all things spicy, Korean food often comes to the rescue by offering both amazing tastes and hot, hot spices in many of their traditional dishes. Korean spicy noodles embody a love of spicy food for people around the world, and are commonly enjoyed as a lunch or dinner meal. In Japan, however, a love of spicy food has yet to take hold of the country, and as such most people prefer what others would call ‘bland food’. Instead of trying to burn a person’s tongue, it would seem that Japan is more into creating deep, rich flavors that put a smile on a person’s face instead of tears in their eyes.


Korean Spicy Noodles

Traditional Korean spicy noodles can be made with many different kinds of noodles. The encompassing term for Korean noodles or noodles dishes in Korean cuisine is called ‘guksu’ or ‘myeon’. The creation of the Korean noodles still used today came about in BCE 6000, much to everyone’s delight. Most of the varieties of noodles used can be served hot or cold. The noodles themselves can be made from buckwheat, sweet potato starch, dried corn flour, wheat flour, acorn flour, pumpkin and wheat flour, and more.

Korea has beef broth-based noodle soups, cold noodle dishes mixed with vegetables, knife-cut noodles, noodles with a cold soybean broth, cold buckwheat noodles, stir-fried cellophane noodles, and plenty of other dishes that can easily be spiced up in the blink of an eye. One of the more popular Korean spicy noodle dishes is called ‘Jjolmyeon’, which has noodles made from wheat flour and starch. The spicy flavors come from the addition of a sauce made with chili pepper paste, garlic, sugar, and vinegar.



Traditional Japanese ramen has four well known soup bases that are staples of this Japanese cuisine: shio (salt), miso, shoyu (soy sauce), and tonkotsu (pork bone). Of these four main broths, none of them are inherently spicy, but do offer a wide variety of spices and flavors. The noodles are quite simplistic, and are usually made of wheat flour or rice flour, though the later is not commonly used everywhere. Due to the fact that each restaurant uses their own specially prepared broth and toppings, it’s nearly impossible to have identical bowls of ramen in two different shops.

Shio ramen is the traditional way of flavoring ramen soups, and is often the most salty of any other broth styles. Miso ramen gets its distinctively savory flavor from the miso (fermented soy paste) used in the broth. Shoyu is generally one of the more common broths used in restaurants and shops, though the amount and type of shoyu used varies from place to place. Tonkotsu ramen is the cloudiest broth used for ramen, and due to having both salt and soy sauce it gets its own special place in the most popular ramen broths. Though these are the main four broths used in Japanese ramen, there are also vegetable and seafood varieties, as well as combinations of multiple flavors and ingredients that are used.


What’s Similar?

Both Korean spicy noodles and ramen used the same basic formula for creating a delicious dish: broth, noodles, and toppings. Korean spicy noodles and ramen are also beloved by many in their home country, as well as people around the world. They both have their own varieties of instant soup packages, as well as multiple styles and techniques for preparing the dish. Korean spicy noodles and ramen both have hundreds of recipes that can be found online for making your own unique soup, which allows everyone to make and tweak these popular dishes to fit their taste and preferences.


Korean spicy noodles and ramen are both loved by those around the world and are often recreated in restaurants in different countries. There’s such a need in many countries for the taste of both soups that their deliciousness has spread across boarders and into the hearts and stomachs of noodle lovers everywhere. In simplistic terms, ramen and Korean spicy noodles are the same dish on two sides of a spectrum of heat and taste. Ramen focuses on deep rich flavors using simple, minimal ingredients, as does Korean spicy noodles. They both rely on the natural tastes components of the soup provide to create a satisfying, delicious meal.


What’s Different?

Korean spicy noodles definitely beat ramen in terms of noodle varieties. Ramen noodles can have many different looks and shapes – such as straight, curly, thick, or thin – but are almost all composed of the same base ingredients. Korean spicy noodles can be made out of many different types of starches, and almost any noodles topped with spices can be called Korean spicy noodles. You can put Korean spice sauces on top of a bowl of ramen noodles and call it Korean spicy noodles, but you can’t throw cooked spaghetti into bowl of ramen broth and call it ramen.


The biggest difference between the two lies in the fact that ramen is not inherently spicy. There are people who like to add hot sauce to their ramen due to their own personal preferences, but it’s almost impossible to find a Japanese chef in a traditional Japanese restaurant that only makes spicy ramen. Even those that do offer extra condiments or an actual ramen dish that claims to be spicy can’t compete with the heat and spices of Korean spicy noodles.


Which Is Better?

Honestly, it’s a hard choice. Ultimately it depends on your preference for noodles and spices. If you want a more mellow meal that won’t make you gasp for a glass of water after every bite, ramen is the way to go. If you want tears streaming down your face because the food is so delicious and the spices are hurting in a good way, then grab a bowl of Korean spicy noodles. Either way, you’re bound to have an enjoyable experience eating Korean spicy noodles or ramen. Just keep a glass of water nearby in case the spices get the better of you.


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