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5 Odd yet Strangely Delicious Instant Noodles Sold at Local Groceries

November 12, 2014

Today’s grocery aisles no longer offer just instant pancit canton and beef bulalo bowls. Rustan’s, SM Hypermart and Supermarket, and Metro Supermarket have expanded their options to include various international brands and imports, such as Nissin’s ramen line and Koka’s instant takes on Asian favorites like Tom Yam and Mi Goreng. Even our own local companies are bringing more flavors to the table. In this article, we go through the different noodle brands out there and see what strange, new offerings they have in store.

1. Payless Pancit Shanghai Patatim Flavor

Shanghai

Instant noodles attempt to serve up flavors that are somewhat close to the original dish. In the past, noodle brands stuck to staples like beef and chicken. But Payless offers a tasty alternative (at least on the onset) in its patatim flavored pancit. The flat noodles Payless uses absorb more flavor than the thinner noodles from competitor Lucky Me. Unfortunately, the noodle sauce tasted way too much of the star anise and oyster sauce components of patatim. The taste of chili garlic was overwhelming and the noodles tasted more like instant Yakisoba. Despite the noodles having little of the actual meat’s taste, overall it held enough of that junky flavor we sometimes crave in instant noodles.

2. N-Rich Instant Mami Noodles with Malunggay, Chicken Tinola Flavor

Tinola

This noodle variant stood out for its instant take on a Pinoy dish that takes time to cook. First, there’s the promise of “200 mg of malunggay” on the instant food packaging. Second, there’s the offer of tinola—a classic that draws its flavor from various Filipino vegetables—but with just the addition of hot water. The noodles themselves are light green upon opening the pack; they’re not as light green as sayote, but don’t let that put you off from trying this unique take on tinola. The green noodles end up coloring the soup, which isn’t close at all to the clear broth tinola usually has. But once you mix the cooked noodles with the dehydrated vegetables, the soup itself is close to the soothing gingery broth of tinola. The only difference is the saltier taste one expects from instant noodles. The warm bowl is actually comforting and enjoyable, and a recommended dish for those who are sick and unable to eat a lot of food.

3. Lucky Me! Instant Pancit Pares, Spicy Chicken Inasal Flavor (with Sarsa Pack)

Inasal

Beef and chicken may be staple flavors to most instant noodle lines, but the thought of chicken inasal as instant canton seemed forced. I was hoping this flavor would surprise me like N-Rich’s Chicken Tinola: after mixing the freshly cooked noodles with the sarsa, I could smell the fragrance of the calamansi and a little lemongrass. Unfortunately the smell was nothing like the actual taste: the noodles were sweeter than the usual calamansi pancit canton, but the inasal left an odd aftertaste. The aftertaste was probably an attempt to bring in chicken inasal’s barbecue flavor, yet the sarsa left an extra salty taste that was also smokey in the mouth.

4. Wai Wai Palo Duck Noodles

Duck

Several international noodle brands have entered our groceries and most offer instant takes on popular Asian dishes. Wai Wai offers Palo duck noodles, a dish that promises Thailand’s 5-spice powder of fennel seeds or black pepper, Sichuan pepper, star anise, Chinese cinnamon, and cloves. The 5-spice is meant to remove the unpleasant taste and odors from duck meat. While cooking the Palo Duck Noodles, I could smell a hint of the duck but the palo was more dominant in its fragrance. The chili and pepper components were savory in the broth without overwhelming the palate. At first, the noodles seem to have a beef-like taste, but the duck follows in the aftertaste. Palo Duck Noodles are another warm bowl worth having on a rainy day or when you’re down with the flu.

5. Wei Wei “A” Series Instant Noodles, Artificial Chicken Flavor

Chicken

This noodle pack piqued my curiosity for its label: Wei Wei is straightforward about the chicken being artificial in taste and doesn’t claim to have “no preservatives” like the other brands. But that could be due to mistranslation, as the rest of the pack is written in French. I still managed to eat and prepare this pack properly, and thoroughly enjoyed the sweet and spicy chili that blended well in the broth. The dehydrated spices and vegetables were also comforting on each sip. The chicken flavor itself is subtle and blends well with the noodle. Although you might want to slow down eating this, as the noodles also left a salty aftertaste.

Which instant noodles have left a funny aftertaste in your mouth? What noodle flavors surprised you after trying them? Tell us in the comments section below!

Writer’s Note: Most of these noodles are available in SM, Rustan’s, and Metro Supermarket. If you have a hard time looking for Wai Wai and Wei Wei, you can find them in the Asian aisle of SM Supermarket in Makati and in Metro Supermarket.

Gela Velasco Gela Velasco

Gela is a young adult slowly settling into her late twenties. She likes to make a mess in the kitchen when no one’s looking, dance till dawn on long weekends, and dream about beef on lazy afternoons. On some days she learns how to write good in graduate school. Her life goals include sashaying somewhat like Beyonce and to write a cover story on Leonardo di Caprio.

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27 comments in this post SHOW

27 responses to “5 Odd yet Strangely Delicious Instant Noodles Sold at Local Groceries”

  1. SM and Rustan’s carry the Koka brand (Singapore) that I like. They have an instant vegetarian stir-fry variant that tastes really yummy. It has less fat and less MSG. Indomie (Indonesia) is also good, though the packets that they have over here are usually stale or old. In Rustan’s, they have more upscale instant noodles (i forgot the brand) that cost around P100-150, and come in soba, pad thai, and char kwei tiao varieties.

  2. And how can you leave out Korean Shin ramyun cups from this list? Shin cups are amazing. I buy it by bulk from a Korean grocery store near Timog.

    (Sigh, when you have a ‘No Cooking’ policy in your college dorm, you can get around by trying out many different varieties of instant noodles)

    • gela velasco says:

      Hi Noni! Was looking out for the weirder ones, since Korean food (even instant) has become the norm na. There’s all kinds in the grocery! hehe 🙂

      • Gotcha, Gela! 🙂 This was a great review. IDK why it reminds me of that Some e-card that reads:

        “When you add Taco Bell hot sauce to your instant ramen, it tastes exactly like poverty.”

  3. Victoria says:

    Why did Lucky Me not make garlic shrimp pancit canton a permanent flavor? That was the best flavor.

  4. jeezloueez says:

    We used to eat the Patatim flavor pancit canton a lot. It’s best with pandesal, actually.

  5. Vm says:

    I remember eating a nissin cup noodles lobster flavor, with lobster bits. that was great

  6. Volts Sanchez says:

    There’s a Korean grocery near the office (Sonamoo Mart on Ruby Road in Ortigas).

    Now, I tend to stock up on noodles when I head there. They have a standard selection, but new items pop up every now and then. Recently, I tried a new type that looked pretty spicy. No problem, I love spice! I can take inordinate amounts of spice!

    I should have thought twice given that, in the picture on the packaging, the soup looked red.

    Oh. Oh damn. Oh, my mouth is on FIRE. Oh, water, water! Oh, my face is flushed. Oh, my tongue is swelling.

    Eight glasses of water later, I finished the bowl and vowed to never, ever have it again. It was pretty tasty, though.

  7. Harold Casapao says:

    Indo Mie Mi Goreng is the bomb! I saw those noodle packs in Puregold.

  8. hylander says:

    It should be “piqued” my interest, not “peaked”.

  9. Noodle Boy says:

    I’ve always been a Lucky Me Pancit Canton (calamansi/original) fan since I was a child .. In my college years ,I’ve also learned that crushed V-Cut and Mayonaisse(yuck right?) goes well with PC, I believe the VCUT thing is where they got the “KRAK KRAK concept ” of pancit canton (which I’m not digging) …
    Indo Mie’s Mi Goreng and its green chili flavour variant are also scrumptious !!! I would also recommend the Indo Mie’s Beef And Lime Instant Noodle Soup =))
    South East Asian noodles rocks! 😀

  10. Philosophical Epal says:

    I was always boggled by the “Itnok” noodles, are those still available? They were just the same as the chicken noodles but were supposed to be better because it was said to be fortified with egg nutrients. If you really wanted to get egg nutrients on noodles then just drop a damn egg into it. Or better yet just eat an egg and forget the noodles if you want egg nutrients!

  11. Anonynous says:

    Maggi Curry should be in the list. 😀

  12. Kat says:

    Binondo groceries stock a Chinese brand called Kang Shifu. Can’t remember the Chinese characters, but the logo has a chubby guy in a white apron. Best instant noodles I’ve ever had.

  13. Tracee Alar says:

    What about Oh Ricey instant pho noodles? Those are pretty good too!

  14. Danielle says:

    Yung hindi pa rin phased out ang Payless! Pero yeah, so good.

  15. aragalang says:

    Nissin Yakisoba. How could one miss that?

    Also too bad, remembered the Garlic Shrimp of Lucky Me Pancit Canton. Bakit kaya pinull-out nila yun?

  16. No Name says:

    My current favorite is that instant Jajangmyun noodles in Robinsons Supermarket and also the other brand of Pho Ga instant noodles.

  17. Jon says:

    I don’t think I’ve tried Wei Wei’s chicken noodles. I’ve always gotten their beef flavored noodles. The spicy one that comes with a packet of (mystery) meat.

  18. Mirah Mikkelsen says:

    You should do a part 2 list and include Mi Goreng and Maggi Kari! 😀

  19. Pauline says:

    Prima Taste Laksa!!!

  20. Michael Niel Bulatao says:

    Bat wala yung chow mien ng Lucky Me

  21. EXOtic_Music Lover says:

    Payless Pancit Shanghai Oriental is also good. I haven’t tried Patatim flavor since I haven’t seen it sold on our local supermarket yet (which I often go to shop), maybe I should look for it in other supermarket too. XD

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