Recently, I had the chance to interview Hans Lienesch — known by his loyal readers as The Ramen Rater. Hans has a passion for noodles that goes back decades.
His website is complete with everything from a Wall of Fame featuring autographed posters from noodle manufacturers to a colossal list (aptly named “THE BIG LIST“) of more noodles than one could possibly eat in a lifetime.
Also, an incredibly useful app is available and it even has a nifty barcode scanner that allows you to access the review of the ramen by The Ramen Rater himself whilst you shop. Hans talks about it in the interview below.
So, here’s the interview in its fulness. I encourage you to visit theramenrater.com and stay tuned here on Dining Mosaic where I will soon be featuring a ramen recipe!
Interview with The Ramen Rater
What’s your name?
What’s your background and what started your interest in ramen noodles?
I grew up in a small town called Anacortes in the northwest United States between Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia. I was always curious about the exotic and foreign. It seemed like the ethnic population was about 0.01%. I’d camp out in a sleeping bag on our back deck in the summer and listen to my dad’s shortwave radio hoping to hear distant words from faraway places.
My mother would cook instant noodles, drain them and add scrambled eggs. She’d fry them so the noodles got just a little crisp. They stopped making the variety of noodles she used so we traveled to Seattle in search of a replacement – something similar. They indeed were able to help, but while there I saw lots of different varieties – exotic languages and images, flavors I’d never tried. That was in 1983.
Fast forward to 2002, I thought I’d make a website just to help me remember what I liked and disliked. This got me interested in trying more that I hadn’t had before. I did about 50 and stopped. In 2010 I ended up living near a small international district and had very easy access to noodles to try. Since then, I’ve reviewed over 2500 varieties and still enjoy trying something new every day.
Can you explain what makes ramen noodles an ideal meal?
Instant noodles are like a canvas. Paint it with broth and finish with garnish. The endless opportunity to innovate and create is really liberating for me.
Why download the app, what can customers get out of the app, what can they learn?
So the most useful aspect is the barcode scanner. If I’ve reviewed it and you scan it, my review will come up and you’ll get to see what it’s called, what’s inside and what I think about it.
Why did you want to start up an app about Ramen noodles?
I wanted to find a way to help those unfamiliar with instant noodles to be able to try new things with a little help.
What are your three favourite ramen noodle dishes?
Looking for something to cook? Try my Chicken Caprese Bites. They’re a crowd pleaser!