Why am I craving ramen? Are ramen noodles addictive?

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  September 4, 2021

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Ramen noodles are a Japanese dish made with noodles, meat broth, and either vegetables or meat. Many varieties of ramen noodles exist across different regions.

You might be wondering why you are craving ramen, and sometimes even feel like you are addicted to them.

Why am I craving ramen? Are ramen noodles addictive?

Ramen noodles can be addictive. That is because they make them with one particular ingredient, called kansui, that makes us crave them.

What makes ramen noodles addictive?

Kansui is the added ingredient in ramen noodles that makes them addictive. Ramen noodles would not taste the same or have the same texture without this added ingredient.

Kansui is a mix of mineral water, sodium carbonate, and potassium carbonate and is responsible for making ramen noodles springy and chewy.

Kansui is what gives ramen its unique flavor and eating experience. The kansui in ramen interacts with the wheat flour to give it more taste, texture, and color.

Kansui is similar to baking soda. Ingredients like these help give food its aroma, texture, and flavor.

Why are ramen noodles so popular?

Ramen noodles are a food that many people don’t give much thought to. However, they are very popular, especially among college students.

The reason they are so popular is that it is one of the cheapest meals you can eat. Even though it is simply a soup made with dried noodles and a seasoning packet, it is a delicious yet inexpensive meal that just about anyone can make.

Another reason they are so popular is that they are addictive. The ingredients in ramen are added to make it as addictive as possible so that we crave them.

What are the main ingredients in ramen?

Ramen is made with wheat flour, water, palm oil, salt, sugar, and kansui. Other ingredients that may be added vary depending on the brand of instant noodles.

Some have sodium phosphates, gums (hydrocolloids), potato starches, preservatives, and other additives.

While salt can also be addictive, it’s the kansui that makes ramen addicting. Kansui is what gives the noodles their texture and color.

Because of the way it interacts with wheat flour, it causes the noodles to become more stretchy.

Also read: are ramen noodles rice noodles or is that something completely different?

Do ramen noodles have any nutritional value?

Ramen noodles have next to nothing when it comes to nutritional value. In fact, consuming ramen more than twice per week increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and strokes and you certainly cannot live a healthy life on ramen alone.

They are considered junk food for a reason.

Instant ramen noodles that you make at home are high in carbs, salt, and fat. They are also low in protein, vitamins and minerals, and fiber.

Instant ramen may be an inexpensive, delicious meal, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best choice.

The reason they are so popular is that they are addictive. The added ingredient kansui makes them addictive and gives them their flavor and texture.

Also read: Is eating dry, uncooked ramen bad for you?

Ever had trouble finding Japanese recipes that were easy to make?

We now have "cooking Japanese with ease", our full recipe book and video course with step-by-step tutorials on your favorite recipes.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.