Nissin's Chicken Ramen: The Original

While many of our readers have surely heard of Nissin's Cup Noodle instant noodle products, perhaps fewer have heard of チキンラーメン Chikin Ramen. Outside of Japan, the former is far more popular than the latter but Chikin Ramen is the world's first instant ramen product, made by Nissin in 1958, 13 years before Cup Noodle hit shelves in 1971.

Unlike many other instant noodle products which come with separate powdered soup packets and other dried ingredients, Chicken Ramen has the soup integrated into the noodles. You can cook it in boiling water for one minute or just put it in a bowl, pour hot water over it and cover it for 3 minutes. Since 1991, it has also been available as a disposable bowl as "Chicken Ramen Donburi." Moreover, since 2003, it has a small circular depression in the center to accommodate a raw egg, which, along with minced green onion, is the recommended serving suggestion, as you can see in the image below:

Ocdp, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Perfect for snacking

Have you ever opened up a package of instant noodles only to break off pieces to eat as a snack? It's a guilty pleasure that many people have tried. However, since Chicken Ramen has soup incorporated into the noodles, you're going to be reaching for a glass of water very soon if you try to eat a whole package that way.

Nissin knows that people like to snack on their noodles. So they decided to make a version of their long-selling Chicken Ramen instant noodles specifically designed for snacking! It has half of the sodium content but the same great chicken broth flavor.

They called it 0秒チキンラーメン zero-byō chikin rāmen, which literally means "zero-second Chicken Ramen." In other words, you don't even need to wait 1 minute for your noodles to cook, since you'll be enjoying them as soon as you open the package.

Soon after they went on sale on April 4th, 2022, the demand for these snacks was such that Nissin was forced to stop sales since they didn't have sufficient supplies. After revising their supplies, Nissin resumed sales on July 25th.

We already had plans to try these snacks but then we heard of a special limited-time promotion in which 0-Second Chicken Ramen was sold along with a package of curry powder topping, so we decided it was the right time to review them.

0-Second Chicken Ramen with curry powder

The first thing we noticed with 0-Second Chicken Ramen is its cute package design. Their mascot character Hiyokochan, who usually only shows up at the bottom right corner on a package of Chicken Ramen (see below) was featured very prominently.

Photo by grape Japan

Here's our package of 0-Second Chicken Ramen with the curry powder packet.

Photo by grape Japan

The instructions on the packet tell you to open up the package of 0-Second Chicken Ramen and pour the curry powder inside without removing the snack. How simple!

Photo by grape Japan

But first, it was time to see what the snack looked like. Obviously, we were curious to know if they looked any different than standard Chicken Ramen.

Photo by grape Japan

We couldn't tell the difference. It even had that little circular depression in the center, just like normal Chicken Ramen. (We took them out of the package temporarily to get a better view.)

Photo by grape Japan

Following the instructions, we poured the curry powder into the package! We could already appreciate the familiar smell of curry as soon as we opened the packet.

Photo by grape Japan

Et voila! It was time to dig in and try this curry-enhanced Chicken Ramen snack!

Photo by grape Japan

Wow. What a crunchy, crumbly but tasty experience.

You'll definitely need to be careful not to make a mess when eating this. Since we had tried snacking from a package of Chicken Ramen before, we could tell that the 0-Second Chicken Ramen snack had a milder, less salty flavor. It was delicious. We loved the crunch factor and the chicken broth taste.

Of course, the addition of curry flavor was also a nice bonus. The curry powder combined a mildly spicy curry flavor with a bit of sweetness and umami mixed in, creating a satisfying blend. We could easily imagine having this with a cold beer.

Photo by grape Japan

Even without curry powder, we'd gladly buy this again. Maybe next time, though, we'll break off pieces by hand instead of trying to bite into it willy-nilly...

Photo by grape Japan

Look for Zero-Second Chicken Ramen at convenience stores in Japan or other stores where snacks are sold.

Product Information

  • Name (JP): 0秒チキンラーメン
  • Transliteration: zero-byō chikin rāmen
  • Meaning: 0-Second Chicken Ramen
  • Price (SMRP): 123 JPY plus tax
  • Weight: 75 grams
  • Calories: 362
  • Protein: 7.1 g
  • Fat: 16.3 g
  • Carbs: 46.7 g
  • Salt equivalent: 2.2 g
  • Vitamin B1: 0.61 mg
  • Vitamin B2: 0.83 mg
  • Calcium: 286 mg

For more information, see the official product page here.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.