Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Best Damn Pot Noodles… EVER!!!

Now that I am living on my own in China means I have to look after my own culinary needs. I do cook proper meals when I can and when I cant I will head out to a restaurant near where I live. But when I come home too knackered to toast bread, I resort to pot noodles. Pot noodles may not be the healthiest meal one could eat but when you need something hot it sure hits the spot. There are numerous brands available in supermarkets and C-stores or Seven-Eleven’s, especially here in China. It can be a stressful task to make a selection when all the printing on the packages is in Chinese. And we all know you should not judge a book by its cover so I pick usually grab one of each.

And through a process of disqualification I have found my favorite pot noodle, I really wish I could tell you what it is called but the packaging is all in Chinese. Obviously what attracted me to the brand in the first place was the packaging. While most of the competitors feature pictures of juicy cuts of meat and fresh vegetables on their packaging, this designs focal vortex is a swirl of chilli peppers. And you know how we Asians love spicy food.

There are 2 sizes of the pot noodles, this is the smaller one. It contains 2 sachets of herbs, a plastic fork and dried noodles. I am quite sure the larger pot has a 3rd sachet that contains some chilli oil. All the ingredients are neatly packed into the paper bowl and can be accessed through a peal away foil paper lid.

First I pour the powder spices evenly over the dried noodles. I believe this will allow the noodles to better absorb the flavor. Over that I squeeze out the paste. The paste has a mild smell to it and can cause a stir in the office environment among hungry colleagues. I wish I could say there was a tidy way to wring the paste into the pot, but there is not. You want to get every last bit of that flavor into the noodles and for that you will need to use your fingers and you will get some of that paste on your fingers but it is well worth it.

For me hot water from a water cooler just will not cut it. I need my soup to be piping hot so I heat some water up on the stove. In this cold weather it is especially satisfying to have piping hot pot noodles. When I get into the pot noodles at work I have no choice but to use the water cooler, in which case my noodles turn out aledente.

Carefully, and I mean very carefully pour your water into the paper pot, and over the noodles. I usually fill up to one centimeter over the level of the noodles. Hot water is a dangerous element to play around with so I can not stress the importance of safety here. There are numerous accidents I have personally been implicated in that involved 2 or more hungry men eager to pour the hot water in their own way. If you should find yourself in a similar situation, take my advice and walk away. Just walk away. It is not worth a 2nd degree burn.

Once the water has been safely poured onto the paper pot I usually replace the paper foil cover, having not completely pealed it away and place a semi heavy object over the bowl. After about 3 minutes I open up the cup, give the noodles a good stir and replace the cover once again. After another 2 minutes those puppies should be ready to eat.

I really wish I knew what these noodles are called and I hope one of my Chinese readers will fill me in. They are by far the BEST pot noodles I have ever had. They also come in normal packaging and dare I blaspheme and state that I believe they are even better than Indomie! I have had these bad boys in soup and I have also made them into a fried noodles (adding the spices after the noodles were boiled and drained) and by god, with a few veggies and an egg it was just like Singapore Mie Goreng. I am off to lunch now. Check INDO DREAMIN’ for updates.

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