PHOTO: UNSPLASH/MATT & CHRIS PUA
Whether you think that they are full of empty calories or not, instant noodles are here to stay (they have been around since 1958… hello, Nissin noodles!). Why? Just about anyone can cook them, some can actually make a dish out of them (just add boiling water, and also fried luncheon meat, a fried egg, fresh vegetables or even abalone).
Of course, if you've long since grown tired of tom yam instant noodles after months of WFH, perhaps it's time for a change. Here are some quirky instant noodle flavours that are worth trying at least once.
1. Nissin Galinha Caipira Instant Noodles
This Brazilian edition is inspired by a traditional comfort food stew and so, it uses chicken broth as a base, along with celery, garlic and tomato. Fans are known to love this for its natural taste and rich chicken flavour.
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2. TTL Hua Diao Chinese Wine Noodle
If you are familiar with Chinese cuisine, you’ll most likely smack your lips at this one. Based on the popular chicken-steamed-in-Hua Diao Chinese-wine dish, this comes with REAL chicken cubes in a sauce sachet. Cook this in mere minutes, garnish with red dates and wolfberries, plate everything in an impressive looking porcelain bowl and fool your in-laws.
3. Sanyo Foods Pokemon Ramen
No Pikachus were harmed in the making of this. This comes in two flavours: Seafood flavour (for Water Pokemon lovers?) and Soy Sauce flavour (not at all obvious, if you ask our soy sauce-savvy tastebuds). Besides that cute mugshot of Pikachu on the packaging, you will get (bland) kamaboko fish cakes shaped like little Pikachus. This is most likely made with young children or small eaters in mind – it comes in a tinier-than-regular size so adults can slurp up the contents in two mouthfuls.
Find out more here
4. Hai Chi Jia Guo Ba Fen
Sure, you've had spicy instant noodles before, but have you ever tried sweet potato (read: tang hoon) instant noodles with crispy rice cakes and a spicy peppercorn soup base? While it may sound bizarre at first, Hai Chi Jia Guo Ba Fen's unorthodox take on instant noodles makes it a must-try.
5. Ichiran Ramen: Hakata-style Thin Straight Noodle Set
While travel to Japan isn't an option yet, foodies can still enjoy the next best thing with these instant noodles. Savour the classic Hakata-style noodles and tonkatsu-based broth, and don't forget to slurp!
6. A1 Abalone Instant Noodles
Springy noodles, a rich herbal broth, and, best of all, actual abalone - two whole chewy, flavourful pieces - without bleeding your wallet dry. What more could you ask for?
7. Kiki Aromatic Scallion Noodles
Forget typical instant noodles; KiKi Noodles are the bomb. Aside from springy, handmade noodles with the smooth texture of la mian, the Aromatic Scallion flavour uses a special scallion sauce with a hint of sesame oil, pairing beautifully with the silky noodles to create a flavourful delight with each mouthful.
8. Dashin Shop Konjac & Green Tea Cup Noodles
Last but not least, if you're trying to eat healthy while still indulging your love for cup noodles, these Konjac and Green Tea Cup Noodles from Korea are definitely for you. As the name suggests, they use konjac noodles instead of regular instant noodles, which means no wheat flour and thus less calories (Case in point: 1 cup is a mere 36kcal).
Aside from that, the addition of green tea powder into the mix creates a sauce that's low in sodium yet just as flavourful. Sounds weird? Perhaps, but it's certainly worth a try.