Friday, October 21, 2011

Instant Noodle: around the world part 4

Okay peeps I'm back with more instant noodles! Yes, this just means that for a couple of days I had been eating instant noodles for dinner. No big deal, I don't do it every week.

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

So everyone remember the Chukazanmai? Yep, this is another version, but it's the cold version, and it's sesame flavor. Sesame has been... overly used in a lot of Americanized Chinese cuisine, as I probably have mentioned before. To those who aren't so adventurous and have not had sesame in any forms, it actually has a nutty profile. And I find sesame very complimentary to soy sauce.

Cooking instruction is pretty simple: boil the noodle, rinse in cold water, mix with the condiments. Done. But the instruction also says to garnish with sliced cucumber, tomato and ham. I didn't have those at home when I was making this, so... too bad, I garnished it with SPAM cubes. I mean, it's close to ham: it's been cured using nitrates (and that's why hams, SPAM, and bacon are pink colored!)

The noodle isn't different from the hot soup version.

As usual, condiments are pretty fancy. The bigger pouch is the soup base, the small packet is yellow mustard.

Now, the fun part: ingredients. This time I'll touch on yellow food coloring added. Why add yellow color to the noodle? Apparently consumers in general believe that noodles are supposed to be yellow (with exception of certain noodles like soba and udon). Without yellow color, noodles naturally look light beige / off tan. Which explains why a lot of handmade/homemade noodles generally have paler complexion.

But I wonder why they use Yellow 5 (tartrazine, a synthetic food dye). I thought Japan is against artificial food coloring. Hmm. Maybe for export quality only? Or maybe the laws changed.

And the other thing I totally missed last time was sodium level.It's so SCARY. 70% of your Daily Value? That's insanely high!!

If you add ham.. the total sodium count will be.... OMG I don't want to think about it anymore. How much sodium did I have on that day?!

Nevertheless, it has a very refreshing soup base. A little vinegar in umami (and sodium) rich thin sauce. It's perfect for summer times.


That refreshing sensation actually makes me hungry even more. SO, I DECIDED TO HAVE ANOTHER GO.

I finally touch on Indonesian instant noodle. Indonesians simply call every single instant noodle "Supermi" or "Indomie" just because those two brands have existed long time ago and they're really good. Nowadays we have numerous brands, but Supermi and Indomie kind of stick to the hearts of Indonesians.

I selected an uncommon flavor: Soto Banjar Limau Kuit. Translation? None. The only translatable word is limau, which is pretty easy to guess: lime. This variety has a very complex flavor combination of spices, coconut and lime. To imagine what it looks and taste like in a very simple manner, it's like the thinner version of Thai green curry. In reality, it's more complex than that.

I missed the sodium level but by rough estimate it would be around 60-65% Daily Value. Which is also pretty high if you imagine eating one packet for breakfast (it's common for Indonesians to have heavy breakfast), one for lunch, and one for dinner. And I've known people who do that. Mostly students who live in dorms and kos (a kind of housing where you can rent a room in a privately owned house).

The noodle is rather thick as compared to the Myojo Chukazanmai, but not as thick as Shin Ramyun.

The condiments are slightly different than other countries' instant noodle. It's only recent (like, I know at least within 5 years) that they start including fried shallots (they always say fried onion but it's actually fried shallot just because the word shallot is pretty uncommon. We all know Onion Head emotes, but Shallot Head? Nope, never heard of that). Chili pepper is always on a separate pouch than the soup seasoning. Additionally, they may include spiced/seasoned vegetable oil and, in this case, coconut milk. Coconut milk powder was separated from the soup base because it needs to be added at a temperature lower than the boiling point, or else the coconut will start curdling. At least that's what I get from my observation; it's not backed up with a scientific explanation.

Last but not least, it's common to add egg to instant noodle in Indonesia. If you can afford it. It gives you more flavor and it makes you more full, but on the other hand it makes the appearance slightly murky. You can cook the egg separately (that's what they do on commercials), but what's the point of having it instant if you have to prepare the other stuffs? Just dump the egg in and let it cook!

Sodium fiesta!


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