Adventures in H&L

Eating all the ramen we can

  After too many Covid evenings of Netflix, nothing and “schoolwork,”I began to grow tired of the endless boredom. At first wander, my mind went to its most frequented and instinctual thought- food. I realized I had a strange craving; I wanted something salty and cheap, but different. The perfect dish appeared: ramen. But not just any cup-of-noodles-200-coscto-pack ramen, good ramen. As I grabbed my keys to leave, I recalled everyone’s favorite (and the only) curly red head talking about how he had never tried the dish, and decided to drag him along for the culinary experience. We set out to the H&L Asian Market in North Charleston, an interesting store filled with random yet exciting foods. After several minutes of wandering the store and mispronouncing everything in sight, we picked 4 of the many ramens available. Below are our thoughts. 


Super Spicy Ramen

After watching a video of famous competitive eater Matt Stonie eat a wok bowl full of spicy ramen, we knew we had to try the flaming noodles ourselves. Upon first glance, the ramen seemed to be spicy as was indicated by the graphics on the packaging. Once we read the cooking instructions on the back, we noticed this particular noodle advertised a whooping 8,000 Scoville units. For reference, a whole jalapeno pepper sits at 5,000 units on the same scale. It was at this point we realized we may have been in over our heads. After heating the noodles, we poured in the thick, blood colored sauce, which burnt our fingers as it left the packet. Armed with glasses of milk filled to the brim, we both took our first bite. As the tears streamed down from our eyes, we struggled to appear unfazed by the scolding spice that was flushing my sinuses dry. As I continued to eat more and more painfully addictive noodles, I realized the repercussions for my acid reflux would be detrimental. If you’re a freak for spice, a fan of food challenges, or just want to prove your dominance over your friends, I highly suggest a bowl of this ramen.


Jjapaguri (Ram-don)

About an hour and a half into the Korean movie Parasite this dish is served to one of the main characters. Viewing such a delicious dish after 90 minutes of no food is challenging, and needless to say the entree stuck with me. Jjapaguri is made by combining two types of instant noodles: Jjapaghetti and Neoguri. It’s popular for its cheap price but bold flavor, and is a common dinner for university students. To make it yourself, simply cook the noodles and veggies, drain all but 2 tablespoons of water and stir the flavoring packets. What results is a delicious noodle dinner with exquisite flavors. The textures of the chewy ramen and starchy udon balance perfectly, and the spicy seafood and black beans oddly complement each other as well. What results is a strange but delicious dish that satisfies a craving I didn’t even know I had. I would highly recommend trying this for yourself.


Regular Ramen 

Honestly, if you’re looking for some stand up ramen that will really satisfy your hunger for at least two hours, this noodle dish will do the trick. While the regular heat level ramen was not spicy, it certainly was not bland either. I found myself so invested in the artificial chicken flavor I forgot it came from a powdery packet. However, this ramen does not provide the same nutritional sustenance that actual chicken provides. To overcome this, I suggest dropping an egg into your noodles to get that daily protein. Additionally, try shaking up what goes into your ramen by spicing it yourself and even throwing in some microgreens if you’re feeling particularly pretentious. Because of its relatively humble flavor profile, this ramen serves a canvas on which you may paint the wildest ramen creations you can fathom.


After spending a half hour wandering the aisles of H&L and marveling at all the wild products offered, we couldn’t go home with just ramen. We decided to pick up a few other items to fill our cravings and curiosities alike.


Steamed Buns

Despite their beautiful exterior and easy instructions, these turned out quite… terrible. We bought these in hopes of adding class to our college student meals, but were left with nothing but dishes that were much harder to clean then they should have been. After following the simple instructions and placing them on a steaming rack on top of a pan of boiling water, we removed the bun (with some difficulty) to eat. After cutting in half to split, we discovered the inside was still frozen, and quite unappetizing to the eye. We left the second one in for twice as long, and were met with similar disappointment. The bun was reheated all the way through, but the fluffy outside had been reduced to mush. However, this failure does not rely on the product itself but our home cooking technique. If the proper equipment had been used, they would have turned out just fine. For steamed buns, leave it to the experienced and the restaurants.

   [No picture was included to spare the potential appetite of our readers]




What better to cleanse your palate than ice cream wrapped in sweet frozen dough. For our less cultured readers who have not had the chance to try Mochi, I highly recommend it. Sadly, our world is littered with crappy Mochi that ruins the experience for many. I implore you to try mochi if you haven’t already or to try it again if your first experience served to be unsatisfactory. The chocolate Mochi sold at H&L is a great gateway Mochi to introduce you to the world of Japanese frozen desserts.


Enjoy some pictures of us destroying our tongues with the spicy ramen: