Fast Food

Product Review of Maruchan Instant Lunch Ramen

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Maruchan chicken flavor Instant Lunch (AKA "A college student's best friend") is a quick and easy meal in a cup. For less than the price of a vending machine candy bar, you get a fairly filling amount of noodles and vegetables, generously seasoned.

The best thing about Instant Lunch is its preparation: all you need is some hot water and a clock (and of course a fork or spoon to eat it with). Just fill the cup with boiling water, let it sit for three minutes, and you have lunch. Some people pour the water out after the three minutes, which cuts down on a lot of the sodium, but others leave it in so it's more like soup than just noodles.

Instant Lunch can be prepared in an office break room or college dorm room - anywhere you can get boiling (or even just very hot) water. An electric tea kettle works perfectly if you don't have access to a kitchen. You can also cook Instant Lunch in a microwave - instructions are printed on the lid.

Instant Lunch is not very nutritious, as you've probably guessed. One serving (one container) of the chicken-flavored noodles contains 290 calories (110 of them from fat) and 49% of your daily recommended sodium intake. But it's not completely horrible, either - mixed in with the fat and salt you'll find 7 grams of protein, 15% of your iron for the day, 8% of your fiber, and 2% of your Vitamin A. The vegetables you'll find in Instant Lunch include (according to the package) carrots, corn, green peas, onion, garlic, and celery.

As with most things that are bad for you, Instant Lunch tastes pretty good, and even vaguely tastes like chicken. (Toward the middle of the list, the ingredients include "powdered cooked chicken," "chicken fat," and "chicken broth".) But, as it's very high in salt content, you'll want to have a drink handy. And try not to slurp - you'll get a lot of mean looks if you're eating in public.

Maruchan Instant Lunch is similar to its competitor, Nissin's Cup Noodles, in both taste and price. Both products are often interchangeably called "cup of noodles" or "cup of soup," and a blind-folded taste-tester would be hard pressed to tell the difference between the two.

Instant Lunch is available at most grocery stores, either individually or in packs of six. It is a quick and easy snack for those on the go, or those in a dorm room with limited cooking resources. In addition to chicken, Instant Lunch also available in shrimp, hot & spicy, roast chicken, chicken with vegetables, cheddar cheese, and lime chili varieties. The chicken flavor also comes in a low-sodium variety.

More about this author: Greg Schwartz

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