Add Sake To Your Instant Ramen

Japan is turning to everyone's favorite rice spirit to spruce up instant noodles

Instant ramen may be an archetype of college cooking, but that doesn't mean there isn't a rabid postgrad fan base dedicated to making the most out of the packaged noodles. A few slices of scallion and perhaps a plump poached egg are always welcome, but people in Japan are taking cup-of-noodle cuisine one step further with a secret ingredient: a splash of sake.

Before you write this hack off as a by-product of an inebriated late night in the kitchen, this surprising addition makes perfect sense. Classic recipes for ramen are often flavored with mirin, a sweeter, less alcoholic version of sake that's a Japanese pantry staple.

The editors over at Japan Today tried the instant noodle hack with promising results. After cooking the noodles, they suggest adding up to a tablespoon of sake—less if you're new to the spirit—with the seasoning packet. The sake adds a pleasant sweetness to the broth alongside a richer flavor without any of the burn the liquor is infamous for.