Package of Samyang ramen noodle soup in beef flavor on an isolated background.

Is Samyang Ramen Vegetarian (Or Vegan)?

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If you want a quick and satisfying hot snack, then a pack of Samyang instant ramen noodles ticks all the boxes! These tasty flavor-packed meals are hugely popular around the world and come in a great range of flavors.

But is Samyang ramen vegetarian or vegan? The only type of Samyang ramen suitable for vegetarians or vegans is the 2x Spicy Hot Chicken flavor, as it has artificial rather than chicken-derived flavoring. However, even this ramen may contain some hidden ingredients that vegans would prefer to avoid.

If you want to learn more about whether Samyang ramen is suitable for vegetarians or vegans, we’ve got all the facts for you right here! We’ve also found the best vegetarian and vegan noodle options for you to try.

What Is Samyang Ramen?

Asian Miso ramen noodles with egg, tofu and enoki in bowl on gray wooden background.

Ramen is a Japanese dish consisting of noodles in a flavored broth. The noodles are normally relatively fine and made from wheat flour, salt, and water.

In the simplest form, these noodles are flavored with soy sauce or miso, although modern-day variations vary widely.

The popularity of ramen noodles has exploded around the world, with many people enjoying the ease and convenience of this quick dish. This has led to many companies developing their own version of ramen noodles in various flavors.

Samyang is a famous Korean brand of ramen noodles and other noodle products. These products normally consist of a block of dry noodles and a sachet of flavoring.

Samyang hot chicken flavor cheese ramen.

The noodles take just minutes to cook in boiling water or flavored broth. The cooked noodles can be served like this, or they can be topped with other ingredients such as diced vegetables, sesame seeds, or even slices of pork belly.

The reason that some Samyang ramen, also known as instant noodles, is so popular is because of the speed and ease with which it can be cooked.

All you need is a source of hot water, such as a stovetop, kettle, or microwave, and within a few minutes, you have a tasty and satisfying meal!

Another reason for the popularity of Samyang ramen is the quality of the product since instant noodles overall have a reputation for being poor quality and containing high levels of artificial ingredients.

Where possible, Samyang uses fresh ingredients to create the great flavor of their ramen noodles. The noodles used by Samyang also tend to be thicker, creating a more satisfying dining experience.

If you’re looking for an authentic ramen experience on a fast-food schedule, then Samyang is a great choice. But what if you are following a vegetarian or vegan diet? Can you eat Samyang ramen noodles?

Generally speaking, the noodles themselves are suitable for both vegetarians and vegans, but the flavorings can pose some problems.

So to figure out if Samyang ramen noodles are vegetarian, vegan, or neither, first, we need to discover what the different flavor options are!

Samyang Ramen Flavor Options

Samyang ramen noodles come in nine different flavor options:

  • Original Hot Chicken Flavor, cooked then stir-fried in a barbeque-inspired spicy chicken flavoring.
  • 2x Spicy Hot Chicken Flavor, a super-spicy version of the original hot chicken flavor.
  • Jja Jang Myeon Hot Chicken Flavor, with a black-bean sauce.
  • Samyang Ice Type Hot Chicken Flavor, which is rather unusually first cooked and then served cold! 
  • Carbonara Hot Chicken Flavor, in a creamy carbonara-style sauce.
  • Curry Hot Chicken Flavor, a combination of curry spices and spicy chicken flavoring.
  • Mala Hot Chicken Flavor, combining spicy chicken with a traditional mala seasoning.
  • Cheese Hot Chicken Flavor, with added cheese powder.
  • Stew Type Hot Chicken Flavor, famed for its soup-like broth.

You will notice that all of these flavors have one thing in common. Yes, that’s right — chicken!

As we know, anybody following a vegetarian or vegan diet will not eat meat or poultry. So does that mean that these chicken-flavored noodles are not suitable for vegans or vegetarians? Let’s find out!

Is Samyang Ramen Vegetarian?

One thing you can be sure of is that the noodle component of Samyang ramen is guaranteed to be vegetarian. These are made from wheat flour, salt, and water, and do not contain any animal products.

However, the innocent-looking sachet of flavoring can catch you out! If you follow a vegetarian diet, you will know how easy it is to be caught out by pesky flavorings. After all, even cheese-flavored crisps can contain pork enzymes!

The base flavor in every variety of Samyang ramen noodles is chicken. Although most of the ingredients in Samyang ramen are suitable for vegetarians, the chicken flavor is a bit of a sticking point.

This is not helped by the vague labeling of ingredients on the packets. When it comes to flavorings, it is often sufficient for a manufacturer just to state that artificial flavorings have been used.

In the case of most of the Samyang ramen products, the only information we can find is that a chicken-derived flavoring has been used.

If the products used to create the chicken flavor of ramen noodles come from actual chickens, then it is not suitable for vegetarians.

We do have one little bit of good news for all the vegetarians out there!  The 2x Spicy Hot Chicken flavor of Samyang ramen noodles comes from artificial flavoring, and it is not derived from chickens.

So if you wanted to try Samyang ramen noodles as a vegetarian or vegan, the super hot chicken version is the one to try!

Just make sure that you’re prepared for the extra spiciness of this punchy flavor.

Is Samyang Ramen Vegan?

While vegetarians steer clear of meat and poultry products, anyone following a vegan diet will avoid any animal-derived ingredients.

This can make analyzing food labels even trickier, as a lot of hidden ingredients may come from animal sources.

As we have already discovered, the 2x Spicy Hot Chicken Flavor of Samyang ramen is suitable for vegetarians as it does not contain chicken-derived flavoring. 

But, is this also a safe addition to a vegan diet?

There are some ingredients in this variety of ramen noodles that vegans may prefer to avoid. It is not definite whether these additives come from animals or not, so this decision may come down to your own personal choice.

The first potential problem lies in the artificial chicken flavoring used in the 2x Spicy Hot Chicken flavor.

This normally consists of the protein hydrolysate, hexose, and an arachidonic acid compound, as well as flavor enhancers such as monosodium glutamate and lactose.

The problem here is the label does not specifically say if it contains lactose or not. Lactose is a dairy product and is normally avoided by people following a vegan diet.

Another potential hidden nasty is a product called lecithin. This can be derived from eggs, soybeans, or sunflower seeds. Many manufacturers do not state the source of lecithin, so it is difficult to decide if it is suitable for vegans or not.

So, we cannot be 100% sure that the 2x Spicy Hot Chicken flavor of Samyang ramen noodles is suitable for vegans.

However, if a product does not mention the inclusion of natural flavors or animal ingredients, this flavoring is normally vegan friendly.

Just remember to stay well clear of all the other types of Samyang ramen noodles, as these are all guaranteed to contain a chicken-derived flavoring.

So while the 2x Hot Chicken flavor is technically vegan, you may prefer to avoid it because it could potentially contain a tiny fraction of some ingredients which may affect its vegan status.

Ultimately, this is a very personal decision and will depend on if you prefer to avoid these ingredients or not.

Vegan And Vegetarian Alternatives To Samyang Ramen

Luckily, if you are following a vegan or vegetarian diet, there are some great alternatives to Samyang ramen to try. Here are some of our favorites!

Paldo Ilpoom Jjajangmen

This version of instant noodles is a Korean favorite and consists of noodles smothered in a rich, savory black bean sauce.

The original recipe would normally have been topped with diced vegetables and chopped meat. Luckily, Paldo has come up with a vegan version, substituting this with soy pieces.

Nongshim Soon Veggie Ramyun

This classic broth-based ramen is suitable for both vegans and vegetarians.

It has a mild touch of heat, but is not ridiculously spicy, and has a great vegetable flavor.

Indomie Mi Goreng

These Indonesian noodles make a satisfying change from broth-based ramen as they are designed to be drained before the seasoning is added.

The seasoning mix contains a great blend of sweet soy sauce, fried onion oil, and chili sauce.

The products are certified as suitable for vegetarians and the ingredient list suggests that they could be suitable for vegans too.

Dr. McDougall’s Chicken Flavor Vegan Ramen

This is the ideal noodle pot for on-the-go as all you need to do is peel back the lid and add hot water.

It is certified vegan and comes in a paper cup sourced from sustainable forestry management schemes.

This brand also makes other great vegan noodles such as pad thai, miso ramen, and black bean and lime noodle soup.

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One Comment

  1. I don’t know where you took the ingredients list but at least the original samyang buldak noodles you buy outside of Korea are vegetarian-friendly. check the original label of original buldak-bokkeum-myeon. you will find artificial chicken flavour powder.

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