Things I Miss: Snack Noodles
When I was in primary school my mum often gave me fruit to take to school. She really put an effort into making sure I had my serving of at least one fruit daily. Only if I was really lucky would I get something like chips or cookies as a snack, but even so, my mum would always make sure I had my fruit when I got home from school.
One of those lucky days, I got to take snack noodles to school. I particularly remember the brand of snack noodles called Mamee, which I believe is originally a Malaysian brand, but was also manufactured in Indonesia. Snack noodles look like two-minute noodles but they are fit for eating and don’t need to be cooked. You just eat them like a crunchy, curly snack.
I found this amazing. As a young girl who had zero idea about cooking and loved noodles to no end, I found snack noodles completely revolutionary. Flavouring the noodles involved opening a small packet of seasoning – likely made of chicken salt (depending on the flavour) and some other kind of salty flavouring – and tossing it into the packet with the noodles. Some people sprinkled the flavouring over the entire noodle block, while others liked to also crush the noodles into small pieces afterwards so they could eat in small handfuls or mouthfuls, or sometimes even pour the contents into their mouth. I failed at pouring the noodles into my mouth so I used my hands. After a while I disliked crushing the noodles and decided to sprinkle the seasoning evenly over my noodles and then bite into them like I was eating into some kind of sandwich or biscuit. My hands became much less dirty that way because I used the packet as some kind of glove.
I can’t remember what it was called – and an internet search leaves me with nothing – but there was another brand of snack noodle that became extremely popular when I was in primary school. I remember two distinct flavours of barbecue (red coloured packet) and chicken (green coloured packet), and the name of the product had something like “Explosions” in it – or at least, the packaging suggested as such. There was an excited flying bird on the packet that looked like it was exploding. Rather than having the seasoning in a separate smaller packet, it was already inside, and preparing the noodles for eating was quite fun because the instructions said the “explosive” flavour would be present if you crushed the noodles and shook the packet prior to opening. As a kid, I think we all got curious and opened the packet without preparing it, and we found out that what seemed like awesome magic was actually just a lot of seasoning in one spot on the noodle block. Great.
As I got older, I ate less snack noodles because I suddenly found the fun in cooking my own two-minute noodles. I mean, I had finally learned to actually cook them. Pour the water in the cup, wait a few minutes, your noodles are now cooked… Double great.
Some time when I was obviously old enough to call snack noodles something from “my childhood”, I discovered that my parents had bought a whole bag of snack noodles at the Asian supermarket. It brought back fond memories when I decided to eat a packet, although this time I preferred the noodles plain and without the seasoning (it was too salty for my liking).
It’s probably not the healthiest of snacks, but it’s an interesting change from having boiled noodles. That said, I believe noodles were and always will be my favourite food.
Photograph by Heidi Ng on Flickr.