Costco Ramen Noodles: Shin Black vs Tainan Noodle

Nongshim Shin Black vs A-Sha Tainan Noodle from Costco
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Instant ramen noodles is one of those kitchen staples convenient to have around for a quick snack or random off meal in a pinch. Aside from the many instant ramen options available at Asian grocery stores, Costco occasionally stocks one or two ramen options. For awhile, I purchased Shin Black or Shin Red, both by Nongshim. But I've recently noticed a new brand of ramen at Costco, Tainan Noodles by A-Sha. And since it was on sale, I was excited to do a Shin Black vs Tainan Noodle comparison.

Convenience Comparison:

An aspect of instant noodles is convenience. How much work it takes to make and cleanup, and how long it takes to prepare.

  • Nongshim Shin Black (Shin Red in the spicy version) comes packaged in a convenient paper bowl. Aside of adding the soup base, the only other step is to add hot water and wait. There are no dishes to wash and the paper bowl is compostable!
  • A-Sha Tainan Noodle comes in a sealed plastic bag. The noodles need to be boiled in a pot over the stove. Afterwards, the noodles need to be strained (the drier, the better) and put in a bowl. Lastly, the sauce packet gets mixed directly into the bowl. Afterwards, you'll need to wash the bowl.

Taste Comparison:

Regarding taste, everyone has their own perspective. So instead of suggesting what I like, I'll describe the flavor profile of each brand.

  • Nongshim Shin Black tastes great. But after years of eating, I've noticed the salt from soup base becomes overpowering. The flavor of the noodles come from the soup, which with instant ramen you probably should not be drinking.
  • A-Sha Tainan Noodles are sesame oil flavor heavy, rather than salty. It's a dry noodle, without soup.

Health Comparison:

Being healthy is also an important aspect of food. First, I'll go over the differences in nutrition facts. Overall, A-SHA Tainan Noodles have less fat and just a little bit more sodium. Otherwise, they're mostly the same.

  • Calories: Nongshim Shin Black has 450 vs A-Sha Tainan Noodles has 290
  • Total Fat: Nongshim Shin Black has 16g vs A-Sha Tainan Noodles has 3g
  • Saturated Fat: Nongshim Shin Black has 8g vs A-Sha Tainan Noodles has 0.4g
  • Sodium: Nongshim Shin Black has 1480mg vs A-Sha Tainan Noodles has 1510mg
  • Dietary Fiber: Both have 2g
  • Protein: Both have 10g

But, nutrition facts don't say it all. The ingredient list definitely favors A-Sha Tainan Noodles with more recognizable ingredients. A-Sha has a lot fewer unknown ingredients and powders.

  • Nongshim Shin Black: Enriched Wheat Flour, Potato Starch, Palm Oil, Rice Flour, Maltodextrin, Modified Potato Starch, Beef Bone Extract, Salt
  • A-Sha Tainan Noodles: Wheat Flour, Salt, Water, Soy Sauce, White Sesame Oil
  • Nongshim Shin Black (<2%): Anchovy extract, beef extract, beef fat, black pepper, caramel, corn syrup, disodium succinate, dried green onion, dried shiitake mushrooms, freeze dried red chili pepper, freeze dried white button mushroom, garlic, ginger, gum arabic, hydrolyzed corn protein, hydrolyzed soy protein, modified corn starch, modified tapicoa starch, mushroom, natural flavors, onion, potassium carbonate, radish extra, red chili pepper, ribofavin, seaweed extract, sodium carbonate, sodium phosphates, soybean sprout extract, soybeans, sugar, tocopherols, wheat gluten, yeast extract, yellow corn flour
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