9 of the Best Asian Instant Ramen Noodles That Are Accidentally Vegan

7 Mins Read

Sometimes, all you want to do is boil some noodles and call it a day – here are nine of the best instant ramen products that just happen to be vegan.

Like Maisie Peters, I could have noodles for breakfast. In fact, I’ve done so many a time. Growing up where I did, a bowl of Maggi was the cure of all troubles, and at all times. Breakfast? Lunch? Afternoon grub? Dinner? Midnight snack? Any time and every time.

Instant noodles represent a comfort factor like no other, and, as I’ve discovered more and more brands, I’ve also realised just how many brands make variants that are automatically vegan.

Whether you’re after something soothing, spicy, soupy, or a combination of all of the above, we’ve gathered the best-tasting instant ramen suitable for people on a plant-based diet.

Fair warning: this is not an exhaustive list, and it doesn’t include cup noodles. And it’s always important with ‘accidentally vegan’ products to check the ingredient lists – these can vary in different countries, which means the noodles in this list may not be vegan in certain countries.

With that out of the way, here are nine of the absolute best instant ramen products that happen to be vegan.

Indomie Mi Goreng

Courtesy: Indomie

Indomie is an Indonesian staple. You’ll find vendors on city streets literally selling these instant noodles as a dish – and who can blame them? These are awesome.

While there are multiple products in its lineup that are suitable for vegans, its signature Mi Goreng stands out. It comes alongside four separate packets containing seasoning powder, kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), chilli sauce and fried onion oil. These noodles aren’t meant to be eaten as a soup, so draining is recommended.

Salty, sweet, umami and with a hint of acidity and spiciness, you can have a bowl of Indomie ready to go in three minutes. If you’re concerned about E numbers, Indomie says there are no animal products in this product, making it suitable for vegans.

Nongshim Shin Ramyun

shin ramyun
Courtesy: Nongshim

South Korea’s largest instant noodle brand, Nongshim, has a huge range of instant ramen – and they’re all MSG-free, if that’s an important factor for you. Its original offering, Shin Ramyun, is also one of its best.

If you visit a grocery aisle crowded with instant ramen, it will be hard to miss Shin Ramyun, which stands out with its bright red packaging, an indicator of the broth inside. The soupy noodles can be cooked within four minutes – go for these if you’re after some heavy metal flavours, so to speak.

Salty and spicy is the name of the game here, with a flavourful broth and bits of shiitake mushrooms and spring onions providing you with a playful textural contrast.

Paldo Jjajangmen

paldo jjajangmen
Courtesy: Paldo

Staying in the Korean realm for a second, this one is vastly different from the other noodles appearing on this list. Paldo, another giant in the space, makes a number of vegan-friendly products, but its version of jjajangmyeon – the addictive black bean noodles – really does take the cake.

If you’re after something more earthy, rather than spicy and in your face, the Paldo Jjajangmen noodles may be what you’re looking for. The Korean-Chinese dish comes with a black bean sauce sachet, and contains soy sauce, ginger and onion extracts, spices, potatoes and cabbage.

These noodles are somewhere between soupy and dry, with the package instructions recommending you reserve a few tablespoons of water after boiling the noodles for five minutes.

Maggi 2-Minute Noodles

Courtesy: Bloomberg/Getty Images

An instant noodle classic, Maggi may mean different things to you depending on where you grew up, but for at least 1.4 billion people, it’s the name of Nestlé’s Indian-inspired instant ramen.

These noodles are famous for a “two-minute” claim, although it usually does take slightly longer to cook them through. There are many variants and flavours now, but the original is still the best. And it has always been vegetarian to cater to India’s huge meatless population, but this also happens to be vegan.

Expect a spicy, masala-packed umami bomb that will always leave you wanting more. There are no dehydrated vegetables – just noodles, seasoning, and a good time. As for soupy or dry, that’s a never-ending debate among Indians – and it’s also the beauty of it.

Nissin Demae Ramen Spicy

nissin ramen
Courtesy: Nissin/Titus Group

The spicy name might deceive some, but Nissin’s entry in this list still more than holds its own. The brand that invented instant noodles does have other vegan products too, but Demae Ramen Spicy stands out for its flavour and versatility as both a soupy and dry dish.

These noodles are heavy on the salt and come with a packet of toasted sesame oil that balances the flavours. You can cook them in just three minutes, and while you can choose to go dry (which will have a nice concentrated flavour), most think the broth is the best part.

Samyang Buldak 2x Spicy Hot Chicken Flavour Ramen

samyang noodles
Courtesy: Samyang/Clauii Campos/CaptureNow

Okay, so this one’s hot. Korean brand Samyang Foods’ Buldak Chicken Flavour Ramen is famed for being one of the spiciest instant noodles on the market. The 2x Spicy is rumoured to have somewhere between 8,000 to 10,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) – for context, that’s the upwards end of a raw jalapeño or one of the milder Serrano chillies.

These noodles contain artificial chicken seasoning and vegan chicken pieces made from seitan, with a host of other spices like garlic powder, yeast extract, red pepper powder, black pepper and curry powder. Plus, there’s no MSG.

They’re meant to be dry, with a three-minute boil time followed by a two-minute stir-fry with the seasoning packets, which include roasted sesame and lavender.

Koka Spicy Stir-Fried Noodles

koka noodles
Courtesy: Koka/Bianca Marie Arreola/Corelens

Another one in the dry, spicy noodle camp, Koka makes Oriental-style noodles and has an array of vegan-friendly offerings. Its signature product is the Spicy Stir-Fried Noodles, which – as instant noodles go – has a relatively shorter ingredient list.

These noodles are said to be ready in two to three minutes, and come with a dry seasoning packet and flavouring oil. They’re slightly smoky, as well as quite peppery garlic-forward, with the chilli lingering at the back of your mouth.

Itsuki Kyushu Tonkotsu Artificial Pork Ramen

vegan ramen
Courtesy: Itsuki

Right on the other end of the spectrum lies Itsukki’s instant tonkontsu ramen. Soupy, rich flavours with deeply meaty accents, these Artificial Pork-flavoured noodles can be made in two-and-a-half minutes.

The result is a thick, creamy ramen broth, thanks to the use of soy milk powder, with soy sauce, garlic, cabbage extract and onion powder rounding out the flavour base. The noodles themselves are the right combination of chewy and soft – but not overly so.

The vegan pork-flavoured instant Itsuki Kyushu Tonkotsu Ramen is perfect for cold winter nights when all you want is a soothing bowl to tuck you in.

Bonus: Nongshim Soon Veggie Ramyun

soon veggie ramen
Courtesy: Nongshim

We classed this as a bonus because the Soon Veggie Ramyun isn’t accidentally vegan – it’s intentionally so. Nongshim’s second entry in this list is a highly loved instant noodle product among plant-based eaters, and, like its signature Shin Ramyun, easily distinguishable on the shelf, thanks to its light-green and white packaging.

These noodles are also the only other product here to not contain MSG, with a mildly spiced broth flavour with red pepper, shiitakes and a host of aliums. Flakes of dried choy sum and carrots provide a nice crunch, which can be rehydrated alongside the noodles within four to five minutes.


  • Anay Mridul

    Anay is Green Queen's resident news reporter. Originally from India, he worked as a vegan food writer and editor in London, and is now travelling and reporting from across Asia. He's passionate about coffee, plant-based milk, cooking, eating, veganism, food tech, writing about all that, profiling people, and the Oxford comma.

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