I’m a frugal mother-fucker. I don’t like to spend money on myself, with the notable exception of video games, which I consider “therapeutic entertainment”. I wear jeans that have been “busted” because I don’t want to buy new ones for myself. The same goes for shoes. I buy shoes once every five years. The same can be said about lunch. I rarely go out to lunch (on my own dime) because I don’t see it as nessisary. Yes, food itself is necessary, but I don’t see why I need a “nice lunch” when a simple PB&J will do. Or Ramen noodles.

I ate ramen in highschool, college, and now at the office. I’ve sampled every flavor from every major manufacturer. I’ve had ramen in packets, cups, bowls, trays and even frozen “gourmet” ramen in cute little mock-Chinese tack-out containers. I can say, with near perfect certainty, that I’ve had whatever variety of noodle you’re currently thinking of.

So much so, I’ve started rating them. What better way to remind myself which ones I like, than to give them a number. I won’t bore you with a long list, but I can give you some examples. For starters, I can tell you that I prefer the premium “noodles in a tray” variety from Nissin’s Chow Mein line over the more traditional Maruchan. When it comes to dry noodle packets though, Maruchan is still king. In the more obscure categories, containing things like Thai or Vietnamese noodles, I prefer the Simply Asia brand of Pad Thai over things like Thai Kitchen or Taste of Thai. Frozen entrees are also an interesting category, even within brands there can be huge discrepancies between flavors. For example, in the Tai Pei frozen meals product line, the Teriyaki Chicken is quite eatable. The General Tso and Cashew Chicken are absolutely not.

The upside to all this is that even the most expensive asian dish I’ve purchased over the years is cheaper than going down the street and getting a hamburger. I think the “premium” dishes run about $2-2.50. The packets of dry ramen will run your about $0.15. In economic hard times, you can’t beat lunch for $0.15. I think stock in a noodle company is about the only stock I’d buy these days.

(PS: If anyone is vaguely interested, I could actually make a list, complete with ratings, but I’ll hold off unless there is a demand for vast amounts of noodle knowledge that I don’t know about)

Matt out.