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Have you ever wanted something so badly that you think about it constantly and can’t think of anything else until you have it?
I have. And for me, it’s instant noodles.
It’s also referred to as ‘ramen.’ But for me, it sounds like the specific Japanese noodles. I prefer instant noodles from other countries.
Instant noodles usually retail for $0.33/pack for the fancy Asian kind and only 25 cents for the typical ramen at the grocery store.
There’s a wide variety from various countries: Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, etc.
Each will have their own touch of the local taste where it originates from.
My favorite brand is Mama noodles, especially the tom yum and chicken flavor, from Thailand.
Instant noodles were my childhood food, snacks, breakfast, supper and everything in between.
If American kids like mac and cheese, pizza, burgers, and French fries, for me, it’s all summed up in two words: instant noodles.
Everyone in my family would have instant noodles at least once a week. My family was not well-off, and maybe instant noodles were the only delicious and cheap thing we could afford to eat on a regular basis.
Instant noodles were and still are my favorite food. I think it is one of the the best things that have been invented in the world.
I love the fragrant smell, the delicious taste and the springy texture of the noodle strains. Whenever someone in my family cooked it, the smell would permeate the whole house, calling for attention and appetite.
Sometimes I’d question what they put in the soup to make it so delicious. Now I know it’s MSG. But it really doesn’t bother me that much. It’s too good to be avoided.
Since instant noodles are generally unhealthy and have lots of sodium and few nutrients, people usually add veggies, eggs, sausages and other healthy ingredients to it.
I like my instant noodles just the way it is without any extra ingredients. That way, I can enjoy the original undiluted taste of the soup. I also need to be careful how much water I put in the soup since it can drastically change the taste of the noodles. Cooking instant noodles well, I think, is an art.
How can I resist this fragrant deliciousness?
My unwavering love for instant noodles
I remember when I first came to America, I was exhausted after a long flight and was really home-sick. All I wanted at that time was a hot bowl of instant noodles. Instead, I was given a hamburger from McDonald’s. It was good, but it wasn’t something I was familiar with or craving.
Although I can now afford more healthy snacks and fast food, I still love to have some instant noodle packs in the pantry. They serve the following purposes:
1. Delicious soup for a cold winter day
I can’t remember how many times I got off work and just couldn’t wait to get home and cook some delicious noodles. It’s something I looked forward to and enjoyed at home alone on a freezing snowy day.
The hot soup and yummy taste warms me up and makes me happy in the cold weather.
2. A cheap substitute for expensive noodles
I love pho, the Vietnamese noodles that can heal my soul. However, I don’t live close to any pho restaurant. Taking an Uber just to enjoy it would cost me at least $20.
Whenever I crave pho, I’d eat instant noodles as a cheap substitute for the $10 pho. It usually satisfies my craving for at least a month.
3. Quick meals
Many people tend to eat frozen pizza when they don’t feel like cooking or just want to eat something quick. I just need to cook 1-2 packs of instant noodles, and I’m good to go.
Compared to buying a McDonald’s hamburger at $7.5 or eating at a restaurant for at least $10, instant noodles are definitely a frugal choice.
— Quick: It takes only 2-3 minutes to cook.
— Easy: You just need to put the dry noodles in boiling water and add the pre-packaged seasoning. And voila!
— Cheap: 25-33 cents/pack
There was a phase in my life when I liked looking up videos of people cooking and eating instant noodles on Youtube. I still do that sometimes.
There’s something so warm and soothing about those videos. It reminds me of my childhood and also satisfies my craving when I know I just can’t eat instant noodles too often since it’s not that healthy.
I hope that one day someone will come up with a healthy (but still inexpensive and delicious) version of instant noodles so that I can eat it whenever I want without worrying about my health.
I think I’d be the first one to stock up on it and would be as happy as a frugal clam.