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It’s exam time again, which means long hours of cramming, late nights, and spending lots of one-on-one time with your favourite quick snack – instant noodles. In a moment of inspiration, the Meld team visited Yahweh Asian Grocery in Carlton and laid our hands on every brand of instant noodle we could find in our search for the best quick fix. Jowee Tee and Connie Foong bring you our review of the dry noodle varieties this week.
Instant noodles were first invented in the 1950s by Momofoku Ando of Japan. During World War II, it was a cheap and easy access to food and provided an answer for the hungry masses. Photo: Wan Shing Lang
We rated the noodles according to taste, texture, appearance and accuracy to instructions on the packet:
Contender #1: Myojo Mee Goreng
Contender #1: Myojo Mee Goreng Photo: Wan Shing Lang
The seasoning was too salty for quite a number of us, and one of our testers picked out a strong onion taste. We cooked the noodles to two and a half minutes (the instructions stated two to three minutes), and they were still springy and not overly soft. In the department of “mi goreng”, another taste-tester thought Indomie was better. The 80g packet might not be enough for the hungry student, so we’d probably add another packet into the pot. All in all, not too bad.
Overall score: 3.55/5
Contender #2: Myojo Mi-Poh Goreng (Pedas)
Contender #2: Myojo Mi Poh Goreng Photo: Wan Shing Lang
Don’t be deceived by the “mild” appearance of this Myojo Mi-Poh Goreng. We were really surprised by how spicy it was, which is good if you like your noodles with a little kick. To be fair, the package does state it is “pedas” on the packaging, which for the discerning, is Malay for “spicy”. Even though the packet says to take out the noodles at the two to three minute mark, you may want to do so at the 1:30 if you like it, you know, al dente, or with a bite to it. An all round very decent bowl of instant mee.
Overall score: 3.6/5
Contender #3: Myojo Mee Poh dry
Contender #3: Mee Poh Dry Photo: Wan Shing Lang
We cooked the noodle as per the instructions, and the mee poh had a nice “spring” to it. But the biggest let down was probably the seasoning which didn’t mix or dissolve well into the noodles. The powdered seasoning formed tiny clumps, which trust us, you wouldn’t want to bite into with every forkful of noodle. The packet also said spicy, but we didn’t really feel the heat. One of our testers said it tasted even a tad sweet.
Overall score: 3/5
Contender #4: Myojo Ramen Char Mee
Contender #4: Myojo Ramen Char Mee Photo: Wan Shing Lang
Can a dish be too flavourful? There was an incredible amount of flavour in this Myojo Ramen Char Mee – almost too much for some of our testers who felt there was an alarming amount of powdered seasoning for an 85g packet, so much so that we didn’t notice the “extra spicy” kick as advertised on the packet. This noodles also suffered the same problem as #3 – it was difficult to mix the seasoning evenly and thoroughly through the noodles. We didn’t like the lingering aftertaste either.
Overall score: 3.1/5
Contender #5: Indomie
Contender #5: Indomie Mi Goreng Photo: Wan Shing Lang
Most people we know like to undercook their Indomie. We were sceptical when we read the recommended three minute cooking time. But in the spirit of scientific methodology, we stuck to the instructions. The noodles looked worryingly soft and overcooked by the 2:00 minute mark, but we were surprised by what we found when we fished the noodles out once our timer hit 3:00. The noodles retained its “spring” and was still perfect.
In terms of flavour, the Indomie was the clear winner in our taste test. It has everything you want in a bowl of dry mee, some heat, a hint of sweetness from the dark soy sauce, and fragrance from the onion oil.
This was also the only dry noodle in today’s review that required you to pour the seasoning into your bowl/plate first, before adding the noodle to the mix. We think it made a difference to how well the seasoning was incorporated into the noodles.
Overall score: 4.3/5
Except for Indomie, all the Myojo brand noodles instruct you to drain the noodles before adding the seasoning. We recommend you do otherwise. The dry seasoning in particular has a tendency to clump to the strands that first come in contact with the noodles.
Depending on how well you like your noodles cooked, you can choose to take the noodles out 30 seconds earlier if you prefer it with a bit of bite. Otherwise, the recommended cooking times are pretty accurate, as we found out.
All in all, the variety of dry noodles we tested all fared quite well – as far as instant noodles go anyway. For a little extra, we suggest you add a fried egg to your cooked noodles. Bon appetit!
Our reviews will continue with our hunt for the best spicy soup noodles next week, so be sure to check back. In the meantime, do share with us your favourites, and what brands you would like to see reviewed.