The not-so-worthy, three-headed guardian of the ramen underworld, Wicked Ramen Itaeweon Chamggae Majemat, combines the flavors of Japan, South Korea, and China to create a barely smoldering, one-dimensional bowl of noodles that won’t be missed in your pantry. I had hoped that this package of instant noodles would bring something a little more respectable to the game of ramen, but now, instead of light at the end of the tunnel, there is only darkness…
The Wicked Ramen Series has promise with the branding and flavor combinations, but consistently fails to bring a bountiful amount of high quality ingredients to justify the price tag. Itaeweon Chamggae Majemat is the second package of noodles I have tried from the series that offers, unsurprisingly, a near identical experience to the first, other than a change in flavors. The actual instant ramen noodles are great and the flavors have been notably good as well, but these ramen noodles are much too formulaic and predictable. Maybe the phrase, “third time’s the charm,” might actually ring true, but until I open a third package of noodles, we’re just going to have to continue trudging forward through the murky swamps of Wicked Ramen.
On first bite, you’re hit with the fabled Malatang seasoning that overwhelms your senses with its spicy and earthy flavor profile. The spiciness soon kicks in, which is just enough to provide a bit of euphoria, while being gentle enough for most. The spiciness is well-balanced in these noodles. Towards the end of a bite, the sweetness of the noodles rounds out the flavor a bit and leaves you with a slightly muted spiciness that lingers well after a bite.
I find this particular package of instant noodles in the Wicked Ramen Series to be dry, mostly Malatang flavored instant noodles with a satisfying kick. The lack of ingredients is again, frustrating… The only ingredients you will find in this package are: instant ramen noodles, red pepper flakes, Sichuan pepper flakes, black pepper, and sesame seeds. There’s not much to these noodles, which puts them in a similar disappointing class with the Vongole-flavored instant ramen. You’re only having noodles with a simple sauce…
Itaeweon Chamggae Majemat smells like it could give you superpowers with its near nuclear meltdown level aroma, coming entirely from Malatang spices / Sichuan peppers and black pepper.
Unfortunately, the smells of Korea became lost in this mix. There was absolutely no chamggae (sesame) aroma to these noodles whatsoever. The heavy blanketing of various red peppers smothered the scent of sesame. This was disappointing, because sesame smells and tastes like a piece of heaven.
The noodles were also lost in the dense atmospheric cloud of Sichuan peppers. This makes me wonder… Does the desolate Martian surface also smell of Mala?
I find the aroma of these noodles from the Wicked Ramen Series to be too one-dimensional. The smell of the spices are fun at first, but quickly become boring. I guess it really depends on your preferences or prior experiences with Malatang or Chinese Hot Pot. If you’re a mega fan of those overwhelming spices, you might find the aroma satisfying. I just prefer to have a more dynamic and layered experience with my ramen noodles.
The noodles are definitely spicier than Vongole Flavor, but they still aren’t notably hot either. The spiciness is a bit more pronounced in the flavor due to being a drier style of noodles. Without the liquid absorbing much of the spice, these “bibim-ed” noodles pack a far more concentrated burst of flavor intensity.
Itaeweon Chamggae Majemat uses malatang seasoning for the spice, which is a mixture of dried red chili peppers and Sichuan peppers. It has an interestingly earthy, foreign taste, that’s unlike anything you’ve probably tasted, unless you’ve actually tried Malatang.
I find the Malatang spice to be appealing, but this is definitely not for everyone as it is one of the main characteristics of this particular ramen. If you already love the flavor, you’ll be pleased with these instant noodles.
Luckily, the noodles are still fantastic in this package of Wicked Ramen. They are chewy and springy with a great tasting flavor. They cut extremely well. Again, these noodles are the best things about this package of instant noodles, which is unfortunate to say the least. This leads me to the negatives…
These noodles literally turned into a hockey puck before my eyes as I was writing down my thoughts for a few minutes. Make sure you keep quite a bit more of the liquid when adding the sauce so this doesn’t happen to you! So far, I think I prefer the more soup based offerings in the Wicked Ramen Series, but these are just okay for bibim-style noodles.
Son of a mama! Once again, there is a serious lack of ingredients in these noodles from the Wicked Ramen Series.
Maximizing profit margins much?
Seriously. I just want a few extra ingredients with my ramen, even one will do.
Is that too much to ask!?
Now… I think I understand. Maybe the folks making Wicked Ramen want to keep things simple and let the simplicity speak for itself? That’s an interesting strategy, if these noodles were priced competitively. As for right now, I’m feeling more like my wallet is getting sexually abused by some furry ramen beast.
In my opinion, the Wicked Ramen Series has been relying too heavily on sauce packets to provide the punch of flavor necessary for a delicious bowl of noodles. Each package of noodles I have tried from the series is completely missing an important flavor layer by deleting all other auxiliary ingredients from the ramen blueprint. It really is a shame, because these noodles could be that much better!
So, who is Itaeweon Chamggae Majemat for you ask?
Well, like I mentioned above, I would say these are for you, if and only if, you’re a seriously hardcore fan of Sichuan peppers or Malatang flavors. Other than that, this package of ramen is beautiful to behold on the outside, but missing the most important piece of any ramen entity, a multifaceted and delicious soul…
What are your thoughts?
Do you prefer your instant ramen noodles dry or wet? With or without soup? Have you ever had Chinese Hot Pot or Malatang in a restaurant? What was the experience like? Let me know in the comments!
If you’re interested in hearing more about Korean snack nuts or instant ramen, check out my on-going series, Noodle Story: An Exploration of Korean Instant Noodles and my other series, I Think I’m Going Nuts: An Eyeful of South Korea’s Little Snack Nuts, here on Medium.