Though my pre-pandemic visit to chef David Chang’s Momofuku Noodle Bar is in distant memory, I still reminisce about its ramen bowl.
Instant Noodle Review: Are the Momofuku Noodles Worth the Hype?
The noodles were bouncy and chewy, and mine came with melt-in-my-mouth char siu swimming in house-made simmered-for-hours tonkotsu broth. When the Momofuku-branded instant noodles started appearing everywhere I went, I knew I had to try them.
There are so many brands of instant noodles on the market, including one from another well-known celebrity chef and a freezer-aisle version that we loved. How does this one stack up?
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What Are Momofuku Instant Noodles?
Celebrity chef David Chang made his name through his Momofuku restaurant empire, earning Michelin stars, book and TV show deals, and even a microwave-ware brand that we reviewed (and liked!).
In this instant noodle collaboration, he partnered with Taiwanese instant noodle brand A-Sha, a company specializing in air-dried noodles. Its patented noodle drying technology takes 18 hours, which is more lengthy than most common instant ramen processes that call for oil frying.
Interestingly, Chang’s restaurant group Momofuku is a nod to instant ramen inventor and Momofuku Ando, who created the brands Top Ramen and Cup Noodles.
The lineup features three styles of noodles, Soy and Scallion, Spicy Soy, and Tingly Chili Wavy. In addition to featuring different sauce packets, the texture and cut of the noodles varies from one style to another. Here’s my detailed analysis after sampling all three.
Soy and Scallion Noodles
The Momofuku Soy and Scallion Noodles appeared to be a riff on the classic Shanghainese scallion oil noodles, a savory and lightly sweet dish. The Momofuku version comes with two packets, one for the sauce and the other for the dried chopped scallion for an additional umami kick.
The noodles were curly but a bit wider than the standard instant noodles; as they cooked, they soaked up the water and became more dense and heavy, which contributed to their chewy texture. The sauce was a bit disappointing: It was too thin and not well seasoned; it didn’t offer sufficient support to the noodles. The sauce also tastes too one-note and mostly of soy sauce; I was hoping for a more assertive scallion flavor.
Spicy Soy Noodles
Though the texture of the noodles was tender and chewy, the overall experience was disappointing as the sauce was a bit bland to my taste. The ultimate flaw was that the sauce didn’t have much body and didn’t mix well with the thin and light noodles. The noodles also cooked up a bit firmer than the others in the lineup.
Tingly Chili Wavy Noodles
The Tingly Chili had the widest noodles of the lineup, the width of linguine. Accordingly, they took the longest to cook, about 4 minutes. The uncooked noodles weren’t as curly as the other styles. When cooked, they became tender and offered an extra-chewy mouthfeel, which sets Momofuku apart from a cheap instant noodle brand.
These noodles had a more complex flavor than the others: The pleasant wheaty (the same kind of taste you get from chewing a slice of sourdough bread) notes were present at every bite. The sauce was thin in texture but the wide noodles were able to catch more seasoning than their thinner counterparts. The flavor of the sauce was on point and had a mildly spicy aftertaste. For those who can handle the heat, this is the perfect option.
Instant Noodle Review: Sun Noodle Makes the Best Instant Ramen You Can BuyLooking for restaurant-quality ramen at home? Sun Noodle is your best bet.
The Final Verdict: Are the Momofuku Instant Noodles Any Good?
Overall, the noodle quality is superb—it’s delightfully chewy and tender, which elevates this instant noodle to artisanal status. If you’re a diehard carbohydrates fan and like to DIY, this is the brand for you (alternatively, look at Asian grocery stores for A-Sha brand, the Taiwanese maker of Momofuku noodles). But we do prefer some styles more than the others in the lineup.
- SKIP the Soy and Scallion. Not only was the sauce too thin, the flavoring lacked the complexity required to make the noodles shine. The sesame oil is very subtle—maybe too much so.
- SKIP the Spicy Soy. Though the noodles were chewy and perfectly al dente, the sauce failed to hold up the weighty noodles.
- BUY the Tingly Chili. It’s hands-down one of the best noodles in the instant noodle category, hitting all the marks without being overwhelmingly spicy. The noodles were the highlight of the package, as they were so perfectly tender and chewy that I couldn’t stop taking one bite after the other.