Our team is dedicated to finding and telling you more about the web’s best products. If you purchase through our links, we may receive a commission. Our editorial team is independent and only endorses products we believe in.
One could summarize the college experience into 3 things: exhaustion, four lokos, and treating ramen as a food group. Ah -- the days of yesteryear, where the comfortable feeling of eating something microwaveable 5 days in a row was the norm. Now that I’m older, I’ve nearly cut ramen out of my diet as I focus on eating things that are...actually good for me. Traditional ramen packets are full of sodium and contain very few nutritional benefits. Also, as someone now with a grown-up job, eating a meal that costs less than a dollar doesn’t hit the same way it used to back when it was a necessity.
immi Ramen set out to reinvent ramen with their goal to capture that satisfying ramen feeling with a makeover of better ingredients and crafted flavors for a more nutritious, and equally delicious bowl.
Founders Kevin Lee and Kevin Chanthasiriphan grew up in Taiwan and Thailand and wanted to pay homage to their favorite food. They also wanted to help their families better manage health conditions that arose from poor nutrition and unhealthy diets in the process. Immi is the world’s first low-carb, high-protein instant ramen — 31g Protein, 9g Net Carbs, 100% Plant-Based, Keto Friendly. Similar to the way Magic Spoon disrupted the cereal aisle with a healthier-for-you, still-delicious-tasting option, immi is bringing innovation to a space that’s been dominated for years by a few major players.
A Healthy Makeover
Comparison is not always the thief of joy. Compared to leading ramen brands (think gold-standard vending machine strongholds like Cup Noodles, Maruchan, and Top Ramen), immi is far healthier: 850mg of sodium versus the average 1310mg, 31g of protein versus 6g, and 9g of net carbs versus the 40g found in a cup of noodles.
Immi is 100% plant-based and offers three flavor varieties: Tom Yum "Shrimp," Black Garlic "Chicken," and Spicy "Beef”. On the website, you can purchase either a 6-pack or a 12-pack of each individual flavor, or a variety 9-pack that allows you to sample all three options. One packet costs around $6.25, and they offer a subscribe-and-save option that allows you to stay strapped. It’s obviously pricier than what we are used to but it’s a better, guilt-free option.
You can either microwave your immi or make it on the stovetop. I choose to avoid microwaves whenever possible so I chose the stovetop option which was quick and easy.
The first thing I noticed was that the noodles are not like wheat or rice noodles. To be frank, I hated the noodles. They are gummy and squishy — I imagine chewing on a dish sponge would mimic the feeling. At first, I assumed I cooked them incorrectly, so I made a second pack in the microwave and the consistency was exactly the same. The noodles are also tart, which according to the founders, comes from the glucono-delta-lactone that they use as a natural ingredient to extend shelf life without unnatural preservatives. Redditors claim that adding a teaspoon of baking soda will neutralize the tart taste, and adding a drizzle or two of olive oil into the water during the cooking process helps the texture considerably.
On Reddit, immi founder Lee explains “I know the version 1.0 isn't even remotely close to a regular ramen noodle right now. Unfortunately, there were tons of manufacturing constraints we faced getting to this point and it's not up to the standards we want either. We are working on a noodle v2.0 right now that is dramatically better - we've had a few friends taste it who have said it's indistinguishable from a regular ramen noodle. Unfortunately with the way the food manufacturing industry works, it will still take us several months to get this new version shipped. But we're really excited about it.”
TLDR: skip the noodles until version 2 is released.
Personally, I found all three flavor packets to be way too sour. Considering they are powder-based, the flavors are very potent, but after a few bites, I was overwhelmed. The first slurp is tasty but everything goes downhill as you keep eating. Combined with the tartness of the noodles, I couldn’t make it past four bites.
#1: Black Garlic “Chicken”
#2: Spicy “Beef”
#3: Tom Yum “Shrimp”
On the website, reviewers love the taste of the broth, but on Reddit, you can find similar complaints to mine. One reviewer said, “So many weird flavors....” and I wholeheartedly agree. Perhaps it all boils down to personal preference (pun intended). In an attempt to salvage something to eat after many attempts, I boiled some bone broth, added half an immi packet, and used Lotus Millet rice ramen noodles. This totally defeats the purpose of purchasing immi, but the end result was delicious.
I decided to get my friend’s opinions, and we ran into a snafu that I doubt any of you will mimic. Each noodle packet comes with a little silver baggie that says “not for human consumption”. It is the same silver color as the flavoring packet (just smaller) and we accidentally poured them into our bowls. It’s a black powder that we somehow conflated with the Black Garlic “Chicken” flavor. Thankfully, we noticed our mistake before ingesting but if you don’t read carefully you may end up poisoned.
To Top It Off
There’s a tab on the website with easy recipes to recreate or recommended toppings to improvise. As a lazy person, I did not go through the trouble (I’m eating ramen after all). However, it’s nice that you can turn something relatively easy into an upscale dinner worth serving at parties.
Spicy “Beef”: Bok Choy, Dried Red Chili, Enoki Mushrooms, Shiitake Mushrooms, Chopped Scallions, Marinated Eggs, Cilantro, Chili Oil
Black Garlic “Chicken”: Marinated Bamboo Shoots, Roasted Garlic, Shredded Scallions, Roasted Corn, Seaweed, Fishcakes
Tom Yum “Shrimp”: Fried Tofu, Sliced Red Chilis, Cilantro, Sliced Radish, Lime Wedges, Tomato Wedges
Better Luck Next Time
The ramen industry is a $42 billion global industry that has been run by a few key players for years. immi has the ability to tap into that market with their better-for-you ramen. There’s so much potential — beautiful packaging, high-quality ingredients, and big investors and advisors, including founders at Magic Spoon, Caviar, Thrive Market, as well as Collaborative Fund, Siddhi Capital, and Pear Ventures. However, this first iteration is simply disappointing. I came in expecting my life to change, and I grew more disheartened with each bite. Here’s hoping version two will be all that it’s claiming to be...