Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cup noodles: saviour of the budget traveler

An invention that changed the world..

Do you know that the cup noodles was invented in 1971, 13 years after the instant noodles was created by Momofoku Ando, a businessman of Taiwanese origin who also founded Nissin Foods and the Ando Foundation.
He passed away at in Osaka, Japan, at the ripe age of 96 in 2007 and left a legacy that many would appreciate in different flavours.
Ando even has a museum in Yokohama (Nissin Cup Noodles Museum) where people can learn through its interactive exhibits.
To take it a step further, the instant noodles made it into space in 2005.

Ando's life told on a comic strip...

Cheap and good...

All over Japan, you can purchase cup noodles at 98 Yen (RM3.10) at supermarkets and 128 Yen (RM3.98).
So, if you want to survive in the Land of the Rising Sun under RM15 a day, it's quite possible.
Taste-wise, I'd say that the Japan domestic market cup noodles are really up to my expectations.
What makes it interesting, is the fact that freeze-dried shrimps and vegetables are used as garnishing in the gravy.
All you need to do, is to add hot water (98C at the minimum) and wait for three minutes for the noodles to re-hydrate and cook.
Apart from the cup noodles, there's also the more elaborate bowl noodles that are sold at 130 Yen (RM4.10). With these, you get more than just the simple dehydrated spring onions. Some comes with a piece of tofu and more elaborated bowl noodles comes with processed meat and dehydrated seaweed.

What we get in this region...

This is gonna suck because Nissin Foods Asia is actually Singapore-based Myojo noodles that was bought over by Nissin Japan in 2008.
They are the manufacturer of Nissin food products in Southeast Asia. Ever since they took over from the Hong Kong-based manufacturer of that famous red-packet Nissin instant ramen, the quality and taste had taken a dip.
The same I can say for the Singapore-made Nissin cup noodles. Sold at RM3.90 a cup and compared to what you can get locally, there's really no difference.
But, if you are willing to pay twice as much for the original Japan-made Nissin cup noodles, you can get them from Japanese grocery shops such as Shojikiya in most shopping malls in the Klang Valley.
Is there a difference? Yes.
Are they costly? Absolutely. 
A cup costs RM7.90 each.
Even rarer, is the shrink-wrapped instant noodles that are only available in Japan. These are sold mainly in outfitters. 
Well, the next time when you are out and about, especially in Japan, keep a eye for the cup noodles and if you intend to go on the cheap, that's the food source that you might want to consider seriously..

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