There’s something I’ve been doing for most of my adult life that I assumed other people knew about. Sometimes, when I eat instant ramen (my favorite is Neoguri, by the way), I’ll make myself a side of buttery cheese toast. This might seem like an unusual pairing, but hear me out.
I suppose I should start by explaining what I mean by “buttery cheese toast.” I take a piece of cheap white sandwich bread and toast it in a toaster oven or an air fryer until it’s golden brown. Then, I spread a little butter on top, place a piece of white stretchy cheese on top (my preferred is Muenster, but Havarti and mozzarella do the trick too), and toast the bread again until the cheese is nice and melted. That’s all. Cheese toast!
I’ll enjoy my instant ramen as usual, with all the toppings I have in the fridge, like eggs and green onions. But when I’m finished, I’ll make the cheese toast and dip it briefly into the leftover ramen broth before taking a bite. The result is astoundingly good. It’s rich from the butter, creamy and chewy from the cheese, and the bread, which does get soggy (so eat quick!), captures all the salty/savory MSG goodness that makes instant ramen so delicious.
This combo works with all instant ramen, but it has to be brothy, so no stir-fried-style noodles. I personally prefer a spicy ramen variety, because the zip of the spice does well against a rich cheese. I’ve tried other cheeses, like cheddar, but cheddar doesn’t toast as well—the oil separates out and pools on top, and the slice doesn’t stretch across the toast the same way. American cheese melts more like a gel, so that’s out (although it’s still great on ramen). A white stretchy cheese, for some reason, is what works best.
I’ve asked myself where I got this idea. It’s not something my mom told me about, and this doesn’t appear to be a common practice, though a years-old Reddit thread mentions it briefly. Maybe it’s just one of those things I did on a whim to stretch out a college lunch or something, which certainly seems like something Young Dennis would do.
But it’s winter, and this is an easy one to do at home. Hell, you probably already have all the ingredients you need on hand. Chop up some string cheese if you have to. So do yourself a favor: make some cheese toast and take a dip. I promise you won’t regret it.