Instant noodles remain a staple meal for young people living in a culture that pushes for a fast-paced life and $11.45 as the “living wage.”
There are many options for packets of instant noodles that exist aside from the 27-cent Mr. Noodles at your local grocery store. Step out of your comfort zone and look at the options in your local Asian grocery stores like Super Fresh Asian Market, near the University of Saskatchewan in Clarence Avenue South.
I tried six instant noodles for this review so all you have to do is buy it, prepare it and eat.
1. Paldo Jjajangmen Chajang Noodle ($3.12)
I have a very sweet tooth but when it comes to noodles? Not for me.
From the attractive packaging to the amount of effort that I put into preparing the noodles, I definitely expected to get more out of it. I don’t care if people come for me — I don’t like the sweetness. Truly, I tried to work around my bias to give somewhat of a proper critique but I simply could not get past the third bite.
I have nothing left to say other than a hard pass.
2. Nongshim Chapagetti Pasta Style Noodles ($1.75)
Apparently, this is the second highest-selling brand of instant noodles in South Korea. I found it underwhelming. I realize that I am not a huge fan of the black soybean paste, which is also found in Paldo Jjajangmen. Perhaps I need to give this one a second chance again. For now, it is my second to least favourite out of the six in this list.
3. Samyang Buldak Carbonara Hot Chicken Flavor Ramen ($1.99)
The name alone is a mouthful and so is it’s taste.
But I found the first few bites odd — the texture of the soft noodles paired with the creaminess did not appeal to my senses. The flavour did make up for it though. This one is spicy, and I managed to down only a few more bites until I had to reach for water. I suggest you build your tolerance before reaching for this one.
If you are a fan of both cheesy and spicy foods, this one’s for you.
4. Indomie Mi Goreng Instant Noodles ($1.56)
This reminded me of the Lucky Me Instant Pancit Canton Noodles, from the Philippines. An instant thumbs up — not only did it meet the basic guidelines for noodle satisfaction, it also reminds me of my childhood. If you are a Mr. Noodles fan, this one is a level up.
5. Nongshim Kimchi Noodle Soup ($2.87)
This is one of the best instant ramen noodles that money can buy. If you can handle the heat, the amount of spice in this one will make you very happy. Aside from that, the noodle itself is thick, and I suggest taking it off of the pot about a minute earlier than what the directions say so that you can get a firmer texture. That way you can chew longer and enjoy its taste.
6. Samyang Original Noodle ($3.40)
If you are looking for quality instant noodles on a budget, this is the winner. These are restaurant-level noodles in a packet — a discovery I made only two years ago. From the texture to the just right amount of spiciness, Samyang Original Noodles are the best. If you want to go the extra mile, I would recommend cracking an egg over it, about a minute or two before you take the pot out of the heat.
For now, I am still reserving the 10 out of 10 because I know that the perfect instant noodles are out there, just waiting for me to discover them. Until then, I will continue switching between the three instant noodles in this list that I enjoyed.
Kristine Jones A. Del Socorro | Culture Editor
Photo: Kristine Jones A. Del Socorro | Culture Editor