What is oriental flavor ramen & is it vegan? You’d be surprised!

                by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  May 9, 2022

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Take a stroll through a grocery shop and chances are, you’ll see rows of ramen. If you see ramen packets labeled as “oriental ramen”, it refers to a distinct flavor profile.

Oriental ramen is mostly a soy sauce-flavored ramen with ginger, onion, turmeric, and garlic seasoning.

But there’s some confusion about vegan ramen. Many people claim that oriental flavor ramen is vegan.

However, that’s a half-truth because the only oriental-flavored vegan and vegetarian ramen is Nissin Top Ramen Oriental.

What is oriental flavor ramen & is it vegan? You'd be surprised!

Other ramen brands that make this oriental flavor aren’t certified vegan and contain some animal or fish by-products.

Other popular Asian ramen brands like Maruchan also make oriental-flavored ramen packets, but they aren’t vegan either.

Also read: is teriyaki sauce vegan?

What is in ramen oriental seasoning?

Oriental-flavored ramen isn’t a new food. It’s been popular for decades, and back in the day, it was extremely cheap.

However, it’s not the healthiest of meals because of its high sodium content and MSG. In fact, most brands of oriental ramen contain about 30 ingredients! That’s a lot.

But the main flavor of oriental ramen seasoning comes from:

The rest of the ingredients are additives and artificial flavorings.

What does oriental flavor ramen taste like?

This type of ramen has a savory taste. With the ginger, onion, garlic, soy, turmeric, salt, and pepper, the noodles are flavorful, but it’s a relatively mild taste.

Since it’s not spicy, it’s a basic umami type of flavor.

Some people say that the oriental flavor is most similar to beef ramen.

Also read: Will ramen help an upset stomach or worsen it?

Is oriental ramen vegetarian or does it have meat?

Nissin Top Ramen – Soy Sauce Flavor (pack of 12) Formerly Oriental Flavor, Same Great Flavor

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Most oriental ramen isn’t vegetarian. However, Nissin Top Ramen is labeled and advertised as vegetarian. Therefore, there are no animal products in this ramen.

Most ramen isn’t vegan because the packets contain fish by-products or dried animal stock. Oriental flavored ones contain the dried animal stock too, so you can’t eat them if you’re vegetarian or vegan.

Maruchan Oriental flavored ramen has animal by-products in the seasoning packets, so it isn’t vegan.

What happened to oriental flavor ramen noodles? Was it renamed?

Some brands still use the name “oriental” on their ramen packaging.

However, the Maruchan brand has renamed this particular flavor to “Soy Sauce Flavor” because it better reflects the savory taste of the noodles.

Check it out here on Amazon

Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup Oriental Flavor now renamed Soy Flavor

Check it out here on Amazon

Oriental ramen has a distinct flavor profile, but the word “oriental” doesn’t quite capture the flavor.

However, the recipe and flavor have remained unchanged. Therefore, you can expect the traditional taste you’re used to.

Nissin Top Ramen has now been renamed “soy sauce flavor” too. As well, they’re now advertising their ramen as vegetarian. Also, there’s no longer added MSG in their ramen products.

You can find that one here on Amazon

The controversy surrounding the word “oriental”

The term “oriental” is very outdated and not popular at all. It’s a problematic term, and in the US, the law prohibits using the word “oriental” in official documents. The word is politically incorrect.

That’s the reason why most brands, even Japanese ones, no longer label their noodles as “oriental” and use “soy sauce flavor” instead.

In the past, food was called “oriental” because it came from the East. In fact, “the Orient” was the general term used to refer to anything Eastern, especially during colonial times.

These days, food is renamed to become politically correct and inclusive.

Oriental flavor vegan ramen recipe

Oriental flavor ramen recipe

Joost Nusselder
Copycat oriental ramen is quite easy to make. All you really need is some packaged ramen noodles, but you shouldn’t use the seasoning packets they provide. You can also use soba or udon noodles, but if you want to copy oriental ramen, these thin packaged ramen noodles are the best choice. I recommend getting a value pack of chicken ramen noodles that are very cheap, and you'll use the noodles only, no seasoning.
No ratings yet
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Japanese, Korean
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 4 packages of 3 oz ramen noodles any flavor will do, as you’re not using the seasoning packets
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger use ½ tsp if you want a stronger flavor
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Fill a pot with water and wait until it starts to boil. Add the noodles and let them cook according to package instructions.
  • In the meantime, combine all the seasoning ingredients.
  • Once the noodles are almost cooked, stir in the seasoning ingredients and cook for about a minute or 2.

Notes

It’s a straightforward recipe, right? The key to making oriental or soy sauce-flavored noodles is to use the seasonings I mentioned. Those are the base of oriental noodles, but you don’t have all the additives. If you want to make the recipe vegan, use vegan noodles such as Nongshim vegan noodles or buckwheat soba noodles that are gluten-free and certified vegan.
Keyword Ramen, Vegan
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Give oriental-flavored ramen a try

If you miss oriental-flavored ramen, you can always buy the soy sauce flavor because it’s actually the same thing. Therefore, you can enjoy that savory taste anytime.

As well, if you want to try to make it at home, the copycat recipe will only take about 10 minutes to make, and you can feed the whole family in an instant!

Here are the 9 best ramen toppings to order or use when making ramen at home

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.