I’m back again today with the review for the first entry into the Wicked Ramen Series, their Vongole-flavored package of noodles. And, don’t you worry! I’ll be covering the rest of the instant noodles in their series, over the course of the next few “how-to guides” and reviews.
Wicked Ramen Vongole Flavor stands out when compared to other packages of ramen noodles with its stunning artwork. I talked about it in more detail in my latest guide, but let’s just say that I like where they’re heading with the design.
One thing I have to mention is that no amount of fantastical artwork and branding can make up for a subpar product. So, I hope the Wicked Ramen Series can bring something new into the wild world of ramen noodles. I guess this review will set the stage for their other products to either fail miserably with a lack of internal character, also known as flavor, or truly “wow” everyone with some sort of new, insanely palatable flavor cocktail.
Let’s hope the makers of Wicked Ramen are ready, because I’m not going to take it too easy on a newcomer to the scene, especially one that calls for a 20–30% price increase over its established competitors! There aren’t really any bulk deals with this ramen either, as most physical stores tend to sell only singles. I can’t blame the makers for that, but that at least gives you a reference point to where the current market stands with these ramen noodles.
So far, these noodles have been treated differently and are sort of an outlier when compared to all other types of ramen in South Korea. I guess you could call them exotic ramen packages? Maybe unique is a better word, but I’m no word wizard… Anyways, it is time to get ourselves suited up for battle with the gnarly beasts from Wicked Ramen. May the foul beasts find peace in review.
Let the battle for ramen supremacy begin!
Wicked Ramen Vongole Flavor has an intense flavor of garlic, ramen noodles, and a gentle touch of clams. I really enjoyed the flavor of the creamy, yet slightly runny soup, but that’s about all there is to these noodles! There’s only a short list of ingredients which include: ramen noodles (no surprise here), a tiny bit of red pepper flakes, and what looks to be some chives. Aside from the soup, that’s all you’re getting! These vongole-flavored instant noodles rely heavily on the flavor found inside the powdered soup packet.
To describe a bite, there’s a gentle creaminess to the broth that hits you with a touch of sweetness from clams. The clams are very subtly incorporated into the broth and quickly give way to the other flavors. The sweetness is broken by a strong garlicy flavor that finishes with the taste of instant ramen noodles. Finally, the flavor is rounded out by the red pepper flakes as the spice lingers in your mouth even after finishing your final bite.
These instant noodles are very simple, almost to the level of disappointment. That powdered soup packet was the savior of a bland bowl of instant noodles. With that being said, the flavor of the soup is delicious, as well as the taste of the instant noodles that accompany it.
These vongole-flavored noodles smell like they came straight from Italy, err… Korea. Korea being one of the countries that uses the most garlic in the world, this doesn’t come as a surprise.
The aroma of garlic is strong. The powdered soup packet contains the garlic flavoring, until you unleash it into your kitchen. This medium-sized packet had me coughing and sneezing as the pungent aroma of garlic vaporized into the air. There should be a warning that says, “Use in well ventilated area.” As for the broth, it doesn’t smell much of clams, because… you guessed it, it’s completely overpowered by the smell of ramen noodles and garlic.
These wicked noodles are actually quite tame for being self-toted beasts. This specific Wicked Ramen definitely didn’t have its origins in hell, but somewhere calm and serene.
The only amount of kick I received from these noodles was from a dash of red pepper flakes. The level of spiciness is mild to medium at best and is perfectly balanced to add that extra bit of interest to the flavor. It did manage to get my face to glaze by the time I finished the entire bowl though. On the whole, It’s an enjoyable level of spiciness that is suitable for the majority.
This might have been my favorite feature of these particular ramen noodles. Wicked Ramen is using some high quality ramen noodles that have a satisfyingly squishy or gelatinous spring to them. The noodles were about an average thickness that is slightly on the thicker side. They reminded me of Samyang noodles without the sweet and buttery aftertaste. I actually preferred these noodles a bit more to Samyang’s.
The noodles were tender and managed to hold up to the heat of being boiled for 3.5 minutes. Unfortunately, they did swell a bit after sitting, but they at least remained intact for the eating and reviewing session. One other excellent feature was that these noodles cut well when biting into them. My experience with these noodles might have been my best ever. These are passionately made instant ramen noodles of the utmost quality.
I’m absolutely torn on my verdict for these noodles. They have a lot of strengths compared to the competition, but at the same time there’s a lot of room for improvement…
Much about these noodles is mostly hype, at least with Vongole-flavored Wicked Ramen. These noodles are pricey for instant ramen noodles (~$1.50, here in Korea), but I like the fact that they’re coming from a small company. I like to see underdogs take on large-scale businesses with clever marketing. But that’s just it, I feel like that’s their strongest characteristic at the moment. A catchy name and great artwork are fun, but they can’t make up for the shortcomings of the product.
There’s a serious lack of ingredients in this particular package of noodles. Honestly, you’re just getting ramen noodles in this package. Interestingly enough, those noodles are the star of the show. They are some of the best instant ramen noodles out there!
The vongole flavored soup was simple with its great tasting clam and pungent garlic flavoring. Despite the fact that the powdered soup packet angered me by making a mess in my kitchen!
The good news is… while these instant noodles from Wicked Ramen are only slightly flawed and moderately expensive, they are still more than accessible for anyone to at least splurge and try. The bad news is… that these noodles might come off as all marketing and provide a less than satisfying product compared to some of the competition.
I’ll leave it up to you whether or not you should buy these noodles, but they are definitely worth a try. I did and I at least wasn’t disappointed by the flavor or the wonderful noodles. For now, I’m just curious to see just how the other four types of noodles from Wicked Ramen (Yogoe Ramyeon) stack up against one another and the competition!
What are your thoughts?
Are noodles alone enough to justify a $1.50+ price tag on instant noodles? Do you like the unique marketing direction Wicked Ramen is taking with their products? Is vongole your favorite flavor of instant noodles? Let me know in the comments, I can’t wait to hear your opinions!
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.