Never a (noo)dull moment: an evaluation of the best instant noodles in Durham

By and

One of the key facets of the university experience is an exploration of cooking for oneself; whether this is a simple pesto pasta dish or a Sunday roast for the entire household, culinary skills are vital to a grasping of independence and the preparation for life after university. However, cooking is not always feasible and often does not fit into the university schedule. In this case, something quick, easy and delicious is the most fitting option…to mind comes only one thing: instant noodles. A step up from the pot-noodle, instant noodles arrive in a packet containing seasoning oil, a seasoning packet, and, of course, the noodles themselves. In this article, the five best noodles are described and assessed by two of the most noodle-ravenous girls in Durham. 

To kick off the noodle evaluation is the Nissin Demae Chicken Noodles. These have become a staple in our cupboard, for they are not only extremely flavourful, but a brilliant comfort food. The warming broth is the perfect addition to the filling noodles, creating a delicate but enjoyable dish. For the cost of less than a pound, these noodles aren’t to be missed. On a similar note, the Nissin Demae Black Garlic Oil flavour is another favourite; though they are similar to the Chicken Noodles, they are a little more palatable, especially because of the hint of green onion in the seasoning that compliments the garlic flavour nicely. Both the Chicken and Black Garlic Oil Nissin noodles are given an eight out of ten, for they have an enjoyable balance of textures (with the light soup and the dense noodles), creating a delicious taste sensation. 

If you’ve got a craving for something spicy, we would highly recommend both the NongShim Shin Ramyun noodle cups and, the fan favourite, Buldak Samyang Spicy Chicken Noodles. The Nongshim Shin Ramyun noodles have an ideal thick and springy texture which perfectly captures the broth in every mouthful. The broth has a real depth of flavour, and just the perfect amount of spice. The addition of the vegetable sachet, featuring mushrooms, carrot, bok choy, and green onions, help balance everything together. If you’re really interested in testing your spice tolerance, we would definitely recommend giving the Buldak Samyang noodles a go, though we warn that it is not for the faint hearted. ‘Buldak’ is a popular street food in South Korean; coming from the words bul meaning “fire,” and dak meaning “chicken”. This turns out to be an apt description, as these noodles pack a serious punch in both flavour and heat. Each mouthful is packed with a perfectly spicy, mildly sweet, smoky, garlicky depth of flavour that will leave you craving more and more as soon as the spice endorphins have worn off. 

These noodles pack a serious punch in both flavour and heat

Finally, the Indomie Mi Goreng Stir-fry Noodles are the perfect simple meal. These Indonesian noodles are a delicious base for a dinner. It is unsurprising that these noodles are so greatly loved, considering Indofood is the largest instant noodle producer in the world. However, what makes these particular noodles so special is that they have four flavour packets as opposed to two, meaning they are bursting with complex flavours. Indeed, the slightly sweet soy sauce is particularly noticeable, though not overpoweringly so; there is a balance of this sweetness with the savoury nature of the garlic and onion that creates a wonderful umami flavour. Interestingly, one of the staple recipes that the company Indofood suggest all customers try is the Mi Goreng Noodle Burger, with the noodles (combined with an egg to perform the job of glue) acting as the bun that encompasses a beef patty. Though we are yet to try this technique, it sounds like a brilliantly innovative Indo-American fusion!

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