Monday, September 17, 2012

Instant Noodle Around the World 6 - Exported Products

As mentioned in my previous posts, I am now in the Netherlands pursuing my MSc degree in Food Technology. Before I came to the Netherlands, I was told that it is very easy to find Indonesian goods in the Netherlands, including our beloved instant noodles.

I went to an Asian groceries in Ede called Asian Toko (sounds a little funny to me because toko means shop in Indonesian and I'm supposed to be in a foreign country and they don't speak Indonesian here). It's a really cozy shop owned by a Vietnamese, and I love the fact that the shelves are well-organized. 

One of the first few things that caught my eyes were the instant noodles. I brought 2 packets from my hometown because it's our comfort food - it's delicious, it reminds us of our home, it's warm and it's easy to cook.

I normally don't like the flavor of export quality Indonesian products because they tend to be slightly different. For example, the exported version of IndoMie's instant fried noodles in Singapore tastes sweeter and less savory. It doesn't have the kick in the seasoning. I almost gave up buying export quality noodles from Indonesia until I saw this flavor:

It's quite extraordinary because I've never seen a Chicken Tikka Flavor, and I actually love Chicken Tikka Masala. It is funny how Chicken Tikka Masala is actually British national food although it sounds perfectly Indian to me.

Since it's an exported product, the ingredients list are presented in multiple European languages, although the instruction is still in English and Dutch.

There is nothing different about the packaging and the noodle. The only difference I remember is the antioxidant used: if I recall correctly, the antioxidants in export quality IndoMie uses natural antioxidants. 

It is currently pretty cold in the Netherlands - the temperature ranges from 10C to 16C. The oil-based seasonings that is supposed to be liquid has solidified. It made me think again if the shelf life of instant noodles in cooler countries are extended because lower temperature slows down oxidative rancidity (the rancid flavor that comes out from oxidation of oils and fats).

The verdict? YUMMY! I love the flavor: it's like a mix of Indonesian curry with Indian curry. I'm not sure if I get the thickness of the soup right because I believe Chicken Tikka Masala is supposed to be viscous. I never use measuring cups when I cook. The instruction says 400 mL, which is the standard amount of water used to cook IndoMie (unless it's a Mie Celor flavor).

The coriander and cumin kind of kicks in at the beginning and I have to say that these two ingredients are in my blacklist when present in high concentration, but the flavor of the soup in this instant noodle is very well-balanced. I'd love to know the developer of this flavor!

Well then, I was moved by the Chicken Tikka Masala IndoMie and it drove me to try another different flavor that doesn't exist in Indonesia: Chicken Pepper Flavor.

It looked perfectly fine from the outside until I opened the package and realized that there is no oil-based seasoning inside.

To be honest, I am a little disappointed by this product. It's basically chicken stock with pepper and garlic powder. It's too heaty; I couldn't finish drinking the soup because my stomach got really hot after a while. Maybe it's nice to eat this in winter when it's below 0C but otherwise it's not really my favorite.


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