For something that generally costs less than $2.50, requires minimal cooking effort and talent, and gives you a tingling tongue or a parched throat hours later, there are just so many choices out there.
So, why have tom yam or plain ol’ chicken flavour when you can have (n)oodles of fun with these more adventurous options instead?
1. Acecook bean vermicelli soup wonton
Two things that called out to us and our inner kidult from the shelves: the “Cook Happiness” brand slogan and the Miffy illustration. Sadly, there isn’t anything very Miffy inside the cup itself if you were hoping to see at least some Miffy-print kamaboko.
What you’ll get instead: a diet-friendly-sized portion of tung hoon (less carby than noodles) and wanton… skin.
2. Pokemon noodle seafood flavour
Like the Miffy noodles, this one also comes in a kid-sized cup which makes it ideal for a less sinful late-night snack. If the super cute Pikachu packaging doesn’t make you want to hashtag #ilovepokemon, the Pikachu-print kamaboko (dehydrated, of course) will.
3. A1 instant noodle - abalone
A colleague raved about this some years ago and since then, we have been hooked on this luxe-for-less find. Depending on where you buy yours, one packet costs anything from $3.50 to $4.50.
If the price seems exorbitant – you can get a freshly made bowl of bak chor mee for that, right? – it’s because you will be getting a slightly herbal-tasting broth as well as the highlights, which are a couple of small abalones preciously sealed in a foil pack.
They are real abalones, not #fakeittillyoumakeit ones made of 482 synthetic ingredients that belong on your detergent bottle. And if you can’t even be bothered to dig out a metal pot to cook these in, rest assured the brand has launched an idiot-proof disposable bowl version.
4. Way premium foods premium salted egg yolk noodles
There are salted egg yolk cookies, salted egg yolk crisps, salted egg yolk fish skin, salted egg yolk lava buns, salted egg yolk tarts… so why not salted egg yolk noodles too?
The salted egg yolk here doesn’t come in a dehydrated powder form; it is a sauce in a sachet that you warm up by soaking it in boiling water for a minute. Then pour it over the cooked noodles and, as the brand recommends very specifically, “serve with seared scallops”.
Er, okay, if I have the skills and time to sear fresh scallops, I would be rolling, kneading and making my own noodles, you know.
5. Pringles instant noodles – sour cream & onion yakisoba
Once you pop, you can’t stop. We may not feel this way about these instant noodles though. Already, the idea of having sour cream in ours is more confusion than fusion. And what do sour cream chips-inspired noodles taste like?
If you have ever had acid reflux, recall that unforgettable taste in your mouth when you last regurgitated Penang laksa and milk tea from lunch hour.
6. Nissin cup noodles Korean army stew
If tucking into your favourite piping hot budae jjigae at Tanjong Pagar every Friday night isn’t enough for you, continue the party-in-the-mouth with this DIY one. It comes with kimchi (or kimchi-inspired) garnish but you’ll have to add your own spam, sausages and tofu.
7. Myojo dry bowl mala xiang guo flavour
Finally… an instant noodles option for those who, for some strange masochist reason, like their food to numb their tongues, burn their throats and accelerate their digestive systems.
In this instant noodles version, we are talking about a special seasoning paste made with Sichuan pepper, chilli and coriander leaves. The bonus: a mushroom garnish.
8. Mamee daebak ghost pepper spicy chicken noodles
From the same folks who have been bringing us the innocuous Mamee Noodle Snack in our childhood years comes this Youtube-video-spawning instant noodles. They are black (cue scary soundtrack) but that’s only because they are made with cocoa powder (phew).
The real fear factor lies in the seasoning which is made with ghost peppers, once known as the hottest chilli peppers in the world. After you take one bite of these noodles, you will really find a reason to hoard toilet paper.