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This Instant "Carbonara Ramen" Has Taken The Internet By Storm — Here's How It Really Tastes

I loooooove carbonara.

A closeup of a plate carbonrara
Shenghung Lin Photos / Getty Images

I also love ramen noodles.

A closeup of a person digging into a bowl of ramen
Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

So when I saw instant "carbonara ramen" noodles blowing up on TikTok, I was obviously intrigued. Various influencers were posting themselves devouring it — many adding milk and cheese to the mix. Here's Brooke Schofield scarfing it down:

And Katie Richie:

If you're an avid TikTok user, these videos probably come up for you all the time organically. But if you search "Buldak ramen" on the app, an endless amount of videos appear — all with hundreds of thousands of views.

  Poppin Glow / checkoutvick / Balkan Foodie / Ihsaan Abdul / TikTok
Poppin Glow / checkoutvick / Balkan Foodie / Ihsaan Abdul / TikTok

Many of these videos contain a direct link for buying the ramen through TikTok Shop, TikTok's in-app shopping experience that aims to giver users a chance to instantly buy the products they see being used on the platform. This made me slightly apprehensive about how good the noodles ACTUALLY are, since a huge part of the push to eat them is clearly for financial gain.

If the concept of

If the concept of "TikTok Shop" confuses you, just think of it like TikTok's version of Amazon. Different vendors from around the world sell their products directly on the app.

Daniella Emanuel / TikTok

Despite my urge to stick it to the man and resist buying it, I felt it was my civic duty to give the noodles an honest review. The most common flavor I saw was the Samyang Carbonara Buldak Chicken Flavor Ramen, so I bit the bullet and ordered it. I bought a package of five and was blown away by how adorable the packaging was. I mean, look at that perfect little chicken!!!

  Daniella Emanuel / BuzzFeed
Daniella Emanuel / BuzzFeed

The product is South Korean, but the ingredients and cooking instructions are in English.

Fun fact: The Buldak ramen brand has actually been around since 2012, but it gained popularity in the late 2010s when people started doing food challenges with its spiciest flavor. Here's a video of BuzzFeeders giving it a go seven years ago.

First thing's first: boil your water and ADD SALT. I don't care how much salt the packets already contain — salting the pasta water is a rule I will always follow.

  Daniella Emanuel / BuzzFeed
Daniella Emanuel / BuzzFeed

I have a fear of mushy noodles, so I always cook them for a minute less than the instructions say. For this recipe, I recommend four minutes to get the perfect noodle texture.

  Daniella Emanuel / BuzzFeed
Daniella Emanuel / BuzzFeed

The recipe says to keep around 8 tablespoons of water with the noodles. I didn't want them too watery, so I just made sure to leave a little liquid behind while draining them. The package comes with two seasoning packets — one is a powder to give it that "carbonara" flavor, and the other is a spicy sauce to provide the heat.

  Daniella Emanuel / BuzzFeed
Daniella Emanuel / BuzzFeed

When you mix in the packets, it looks like this:

  Daniella Emanuel / BuzzFeed
Daniella Emanuel / BuzzFeed

I'm not gonna lie, I didn't have the highest hopes for these noodles. Some of the videos of people eating them looked a little gross to me, and I really did wonder if they were ultimately just a genius TikTok Shop marketing scheme. But when I took my first forkful, I was extremely impressed. They were super spicy, which I love, and had a delicious cheesy and creamy aspect that complemented the spice in a really unique way.

  Daniella Emanuel / BuzzFeed
Daniella Emanuel / BuzzFeed

My next step is where everything went downhill. Most people I saw eating the noodles added milk and cheese and INSISTED this made the dish even better. Half-and-half and Parmesan are what I had in my fridge, so I added a splash and a sprinkle of each.

  Daniella Emanuel / BuzzFeed
Daniella Emanuel / BuzzFeed

This is what it looked like after adding it. My brother, a veterinarian, said it resembled sheep brains:

  Daniella Emanuel / BuzzFeed
Daniella Emanuel / BuzzFeed

I was super disappointed with the results. Adding those two ingredients not only cut the spice (my favorite part), but made the overall flavor more muted and less appealing.

  Daniella Emanuel / BuzzFeed
Daniella Emanuel / BuzzFeed

I would definitely recommend trying this ramen flavor, but keep things simple and just use the sauce and powder that it comes with! Also, if you have a low spice tolerance, you can use as little of the sauce packet as you want. If I had to rate this, I would give it an 8/10. There are at least 11 different flavors of Buldak ramen, so if you're interested in trying the others, you can buy a variety pack here.

  Amazon / Via
Amazon / Via