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Random Chart of the Month – Top Instant Noodles by the Ramen Expert

Brandon Kim
March 29, 2023

As we all prepare to look back on the passing colder season (or perhaps our not-too-distant college days), there’s no better time to introduce our first Random Chart of the Month, featuring instant noodles! 

Specifically, we are looking to visualize and analyze a large dataset provided by The Ramen Rater, a seasoned expert who has reviewed instant noodle brands from around the world for over 20 years. His dataset, known as The Big List, contains over 4,000 entries of the instant noodles’ variety, brand, style, country of origin, as well as a personal rating on a numerical scale of 0 through 5. This dataset is ongoing and continually updated, so ramen enthusiasts should go check out The Ramen Rater and all his cool content! 

The Chart

With the sheer amount of instant noodles entries alongside the categorization in the dataset, a prominent analysis question was: which countries do it better? Taking the variables on the expert rating of the instant noodles as well as their origin, we were able to generate the following geographical heat map:

This geographical chart measures, by country, the average ratings of all instant noodle brands and codes them into a color scale. The darker green signifies the higher end of the 0-5 rating scale, while the light yellow is the lower. 

The Analysis

At first glance, we can see a significant increase in the amount of countries coded with darker green when we evaluate the eastern side of the world map. It probably doesn’t surprise most of us to see more of that darker green populate around Southeast Asia, as that area marks the origin of instant noodles (Japan, in 1958). 

When ranking the average ratings among countries with at least 30 reviews, instant noodles branded from Malaysia came out on top with the highest average rating of 4.21. This also aligns with a YouTube video by The Ramen Rater, where he gave a 2022 ranking of the top 10 instant noodles of all time, with Malaysian-branded instant noodles appearing five times. South Korea and Japan closely follow with 3.88 and 3.86, respectively. 

The three most prevalent countries regarding total reviews in this list were Japan, South Korea, and the United States. These three countries combined branded about half of the 4,298 instant noodle entries in this iteration of The Big List. Japan, the inventor of it all, leads all countries with the most entries with 845 instant noodle ratings. The large variability by the sheer number of instant noodles branded in Japan makes their average rating of 3.86 rather impressive. 

Knowing the powerhouse that is Southeast Asia when it comes to instant noodles, there’s another analysis question we can consider: what are the best packaging types for instant noodles? 

This same dataset categorized each instant noodle with a variable relating to its packaging type, for instance, whether they came in a pack, box, bowl, etc. The three most dominant types were instant noodles packaged in packs, cups, and bowls (about 93% of all instant noodles in this list were from these categories). Averaging out the same rating scale by packaging type, instant noodles in packs average a rating of 3.82, followed by bowls at 3.69, then cups at 3.47. We also constructed a 95% confidence interval for the ratings of each packaging type to really compare the three means: 

Confidence intervals are a way to show some accuracy in our estimation. In statistics, we often use these intervals to make an educated guess about a larger population or, for relevancy, a larger population of noodles. A practical interpretation of a 95% confidence interval is: if we ask our ramen expert to rate the same number of instant noodles (falling in the Pack category) a hundred times, we expect about 95 of our average ratings to fall between 3.78 and 3.86. 

When deciding on the differences in averages with this method, we generally look for any overlaps between each interval. If such overlaps existed, we could conclude that one packaging type wasn’t too significantly different from the other based on average ratings by our ramen expert. For our data, we can see averages for the packaging type of packs were slightly higher than bowls and even more so than cups. We also have a smaller margin of error for the ratings of instant noodle packs, considering almost half of the noodles populated this packaging type. 

Using our ramen expert’s list, we visualized and learned of higher review ratings from Southeast Asian-brand instant noodles. We also supplemented these findings by concluding that the packaging type of packs is generally favorable among the same metric. To our delight, it is clear that the world of instant noodles is varied, and there is something for everyone on the globe to try. But hardcore instant noodle enthusiasts may consider at least trying some of those Malaysian-brand noodle packs or even seek the veteran opinions of The Ramen Rater

Continue to tune into our ˜Random Chart of the Month’ each month! We’re experts at analyzing all kinds of data, but especially social media. Let us help you build a social media campaign backed by data and results. Reach out to us below! 

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