Cooking

We Taste-Test the New Cup Noodles

In a side-by-side taste test, here’s how the low-sodium version stacks up
Cup Noodles Instant Ramen
Photo: Original Cup Noodles via Facebook

For most people, Cup Noodles was always the salty, comforting, dead-easy dinner one could cook in a dorm room (or their first apartment, or their parent’s basement). It had a special place on the shelf, shining down in all its MSG-laden glory, waiting to be brought to life nothing more than boiling water.

For me, Cup Noodles was the “snack” I treated myself to after school from the ages of about eight to 11. I’d gulp it down while watching 30 minutes of television, then begrudgingly go off to start my homework, pleasantly full of brothy, noodle-y goodness. Therefore, when I heard the news that the 45-year-old recipe was changing for the first time ever, my childhood self was deeply concerned. The new recipe removes 15 to 20 percent of the sodium (depending on which flavor) and replaces artificial ingredients with things like turmeric, paprika and lime, leaving out the added MSG altogether.

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Nissin Foods USA, which makes Cup Noodles, says the change is because the brand is listening to customer feedback about dialing down the salt. This new look has lowered the sodium per serving from 60 percent of your daily allotted value to about 40.

But, do the noodles still taste as good? We had to find out.

After running to the nearest bodega and grabbing two $1 cups of the famous ramen, we at TT conducted a highly scientific, exhaustive set of taste tests, comparing the classic Cup Noodles recipe to the new “healthier” version. We have good news: A group of food-loving, flavor-obsessed TT editors could not tell the difference.

Yes, we spent our childhoods and college years enjoying the salty goodness of traditional Cup Noodles, but the new version brings back just as much nostalgia and comfort as the old. While the Internet may be abuzz with panic, we can safely say: Your favorite Cup Noodles is safe.

It’s worth noting, however, that this “healthier” version of the beloved ramen actually contains less protein and slightly more calories and carbs than the traditional version. So, is it really worth all the hype? You decide.

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