Tired of eating that freeze-dried glop they call backpacking food? Oh, and how about paying for that stuff? I mean they charge outrageous prices for that stuff – stuff that really isn’t all that good. How come there isn’t a good tasting, reasonably priced alternative!?
There are alternatives, and you need look no farther than your local grocery store. Today, I’m going to cover what I call Ramen Plus.
BUT WAIT! I know what you’re thinking: “Ramen?” “Oh, great, Hikin’ Jim, what a super tip that is.” [insert sarcastic eye roll here] “I’ve eaten Top Ramen a gazillion times, and it’s no prize catch.” Too true! But who said anything about Top Ramen? Get yourself some real ramen.
My wife is from Japan, and when she saw me eating Top Ramen, her first question was “why on earth are you eating that?” This was my first subtle clue that maybe there was more to ramen than just Top Ramen. She turned me on to Sapporo Ichiban Ramen.
Now, Sapporo Ichiban is still just noodles. I’m a big guy (6′ 0″, 220 lbs), and noodles alone just aren’t enough. So what can we do to “beef up” just plain noodles and make it into a hungry hiker satisfying meal? Well, there may be a lot of ways, but let me suggest a dead simple one: Ramen Plus. Here’s what you need:
Ramen Plus Recipe
- A package of Sapporo Ichiban Ramen noodles.
- A Ziploc baggie with some Just Veggies in it. I usually add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup per package of ramen. Note: I typically buy Just Veggies in the 8 oz size on Amazon simply because it’s cheaper. I’ve also seen it at REI and in grocery stores in the 4 oz size which tends to be a bit more expensive. One 8 oz bag of Just veggies corresponds to a dozen or more packets of ramen.
- Some kind of protein (salami, pepperoni, jerky, sausage, dried beef, bacon bits, etc.)
Can you put in other things? Sure! Whatever you like. I’m simply proposing one easy method of making a quick, tasty meal. You might also add things like various spices, chives or green onions, dried sea weed, etc. Pretty much any dried (or fresh) vegetable makes a great addition. On shorter trips, sometimes I’ll bring a raw egg to drop in, a fairly traditional addition to ramen.
Easy? Just how easy? Well, easy enough that you can make it pretty much with any type of stove: Alcohol, canister gas, white gas, etc. All you do is bring the water to a boil, add the noodles, add the veggies and protein, stir it all up, let it sit for 6 to 8 minutes, and then serve. Dead simple. For best taste, simmer the Ramen Plus instead of just letting it sit.
I figure about 2 packets of ramen serves 3 people, but of course that’s going to depend a lot on the appetites of the people. If it’s just me and my daughter, I figure one packet of ramen for the two of us.
So, that’s really all there is to it: Sapporo Ichiban Ramen + Just Veggies + Protein, add boiling water, eat. And is it any good? Well, my picky five year old likes it, so I’m going to say “yes” (and she does not like that freeze dried stuff).
I hope you find it as tasty (and affordable) as I do,
Thanks for the ramen tip, I’ve been eating nothing but blue ‘Top’ since I was 12.
Hikin' Jim says
Moe, definitely check out Sapporo Ichiban — and try adding some of the “extra” ingredients I’ve suggested. It’s pretty tasty.
Is it available in any stores here in SoCal?
@robow8 what part of SoCal are you referring to? it’s available in japanese markets such as Mitsuwa, and possibly some chinese super markets in the san gabriel valley
great recipe! Ramen is definitely one of my menu items!
Hikin' Jim says
@robow8, in addition to what lotto says, Ralphs has been carrying it lately, but Asian markets are usually cheaper. Look for sales. A good price is about $2.50 per pack. Regular price is $3 and some change.
In the Midwest, I’ve been finding Sapporo Ichiban ramen at Meijer’s.
Great article. Can’t wait to give this a try.
Amanda I Chasing My Sunshine says
Sweet tip! I have just been getting into backpacking/camping food and this actually looks like it would sustain me and be pretty tasty after a long day. Thanks for sharing!
Jeff Hester says
I purchased a box of 24 Sapporo Ichiban original ramen online at Amazon for just under $20. That’s $0.82 per package, with free Amazon Prime delivery. I’ll be field testing Hikin’ Jim’s recipe next week on my backpacking trip through Tehipite Valley.
Thanks for this Ramen tips and sharing this great article with us!!
So i am probably going to drive the prices up on one of my favorite Military surplus stores here in San Diego County by mentioning this so I will let you do your own research. But you can buy military MRE’s from both online vendors as well as certain stores around military bases. Theses arent your usual Big 5/REI type of meals in a pouch…these are the 3000 calorie pouches that include a main entree, desert, sometimes fruit a dry beverage (such as instant coffee or kool-aid mix)…and they come with flameless heaters. I’ve come across a website that has an identical selection (and prices) so i will share that with you. http://www.thereadystore.com/mre
awesome advice! ^_^
Whoa. Really glad someone else is spreading the word on sapporo ichiban. Crush them up in the bag before opening to help the noodles soak better and cook faster.
Nancy R says
Sapporo Ichiban Ramen and company – what a concept! Will look into it. Thanks for this post Jim!
Lance Jaggar says
try mama noodles. they r from Thailand and sold in most stores these days. they have a several spice packets in them and the noodles have a much better flavor then the top ramen.
Kirsten Richards says
My fave is white rice, red lentils, add your own curry seasonings and stock powders. This is the dirt cheap budget version. Fancy version adds protein and sun-dried tomatoes. I’ll definitely be looking for the Just Veggies stuff here.
This is great! Thanks 🙂
Phil Goodrich says
I love Nongshim Shin Ramyun, a spicy Korean version. I bring an egg and a slice of American cheese (Koreans seem to love American cheese – a legacy of food shortages during the war when they would supplement their diet with handouts from the US army) to add. Delicious although its too spicy for my dog to lick the bowl out afterwards.