Cup noodles are one of the ultimate comfort foods for Singaporeans. After all, whether we’re feeling lazy, peckish or even upset, these piping hot bowls never fail to make us feel a little better.
In fact, at times, we can attest to getting cup noodle cravings out of the blue.
Tired of the usual flavours and want to try something a little fancier? Here are 10 premium instant noodle options that are as good as a restaurant meal.
1. ICHIRAN RAMEN HAKATA-STYLE STRAIGHT THIN NOODLE SET
Can’t visit Ichiran? Why not have the instant version - or rather souvenir version? Each set contains five packs of ramen, including the soup mix, dried Hakata thin noodles and Original Spicy Red Seasoning.
Ichiran is known for their smooth tonkotsu (pig bone broth) that doesn’t have any unpleasant odours. Their signature spicy red seasoning is what gets people going back for more and the good news is, you get that in this set!
Ichiran Ramen Hakata-style Straight Thin Noodle Set retails for $37.80 on Shopee.
2. IPPUDO INSTANT TONKOTSU RAMEN
If you love Japanese ramen, there’s no way you wouldn’t know Ippudo. There might be a few outlets in Singapore, but if you’re feeling lazy but still want to satiate your Ippudo craving, there’s an instant noodles version.
This has the same milky broth (albeit made from soup mix) and thin ramen noodles. The only difference is that you can’t customise the broth’s richness and spicy level, unlike in a restaurant setting.
Ippudo Instant Tonkotsu Ramen, $11.90, Oosh! Nosh! Fashionable Food. Also available on Shopee (prices vary).
3. NAKIRYU DAN DAN MEN INSTANT NOODLE BOWL
Launched by Nakiryu in collaboration with Nissin, this cup noodle isn't just restaurant standard - it’s one Michelin-star standard.
Testers have reported that the thin, springy noodles pairs well with the creamy sesame-based broth that has a tinge of sourness.
Pro-tip: one reviewer added rayu (chilli and garlic) sauce, vinegar and chopped cashew nuts to successfully recreate the taste of the dan dan noodles that's served at the award-winning restaurant.
Nakiryu Dan Dan Men Instant Noodle Bowl retails for $11.90 and is available on Shopee and at Oosh! Nosh! Fashionable Food, #B1-105 at Northpoint City South Wing.
4. AFURI YUZU SHIO RAMEN
This cup noodle from the super popular Tokyo-based Afuri ramen chain is said to closely resemble the restaurant version. The noodles are thin and their texture resemble buckwheat soba instead of regular wheat flour ramen.
The broth - lighter than the rich tonkotsu that many associate with ramen - is chicken-based and tinged with citrusy yuzu via a yuzu-infused seasoning oil that is drizzled over the prepared dish.
Afuri Yuzu Shio Ramen retails for $4.90 and is available at Cold Storage outlets.
5. MARUCHAN SHIROI CHIKARA MOCHI INSTANT NOODLES
Chikara udon, which is typically served with mochi (rice cakes), is one of the most well-loved noodle dishes in Japan. The word “chikara” means strength in Japanese and it is thought that the addition of mochi in this dish gives strength to the person eating it.
Well, in this case, the chewy, moreish mochi square enlivens the light dashi-based noodle dish.
Maruchan Shiroi Chikara Mochi Instant Noodles retails for $3.75 and is available at Meidi-Ya Supermarket, #B1-50 Liang Court Shopping Centre.
6. MARUCHAN AKAI KITSUNE UDON
The largest garnish in this bowl of thick, chewy udon is a big slice of deep-fried tofu (abura age). The savoury, almost meaty protein hydrates well - just let it soak for five minutes in boiling water according to the instructions on the package - in the umami-rich soy sauce-flavoured broth.
Maruchan Akai Kitsune Udon retails for $4.50 and is available on RedMart and at Meidi-Ya Supermarket, #B1-50 Liang Court Shopping Centre.
7. IPPEI CHAN KARASHI MENTAIKO YAKISOBA
Mentaiko - pollock roe - is a trendy ingredient at restaurants, but it doesn't mean you have to miss out if you're having cup noodles.
This one comes with a packet of mentaiko mayo! Squeeze it onto noodles tossed in a pork-based yakisoba sauce for a creamy, savoury dish with a spicy kick.
Ippei Chan Karashi Mentaiko Yakisoba retails for $3.90 and is available at RedMart.
8. MARUCHAN MIDORI NO TANUKI SOBA
Good buckwheat noodles are hard to come by outside of specialist restaurants and this one is fairly good once rehydrated with a flavourful soy sauce-based broth.
A large piece of crispy tempura, which softens upon soaking with hot water, adds texture that complements the nutty-tasting soba.
Maruchan Midori No Tanuki Soba retails for $4.50 and is available at RedMart and Meidi-Ya Supermarket, #B1-50 Liang Court Shopping Centre.
9. MAGGI HOT HEADS ROAST CHICKEN MEE GORENG
This super spicy instant mee goreng surely has its place in one of those restaurant or cafe food challenges. Made with a "unique blend of chillies and peppers", we suggest that you pair this version of your regular supper joint's fried noodles with a glass of cold milk.
Maggi Hot Heads Roast Chicken Mee Goreng retails for $1.95 and is available on RedMart.
10. SAMYANG HOT CHICKEN CHEESE BIG BOWL
The addition of cheese makes this a mellower version of the Korean spicy chicken noodles that started off a food craze a few years ago.
The sticky savoury-spicy (and red!) sauce coats thick, chewy noodles that are unadorned save for a few strips of green vegetable. Make things even more fancy with an onsen or fried egg.
Samyang Hot Chicken Cheese Big Bowl retails for $2.60 and is available at RedMart.
This article was first published in CLEO Singapore.