Living in Malaysia and Singapore as a kid, my mum made steaming hot bowls of prawn-flavoured Maggi soup noodles for Saturday lunches. I licked every bowl clean. After nearly ten years living in Melbourne, my taste for instant noodles hasn’t waned one bit – I still eat Maggi noodles once per week for lunch most Saturdays.
Many of us Asians love consuming instant noodles because it’s cheap. Asians are cheap. We can obtain a pack of Indomie Mi Goreng or Nissin noodles for 30 cents a packet in the Asian grocery shops in Melbourne. Ideal for Asian international students on a tight budget in Australia. Great for a twenty-something Chinese Australian like me on a tight budget, attempting to secure a well balanced job in the local Caucasian-dominated, white-collar workforce so as to pay the bills.
It’s hard to get tired of eating instant noodles as there are a lot of flavours to choose from, tasty flavours too. Which Asian person having a strong palate doesn’t just like a flavourful meal? Only then do we have the choice of personalising our instant noodle meals with anything we like – great for us Asians who choose heaping food on the plates. Personally, I like plain soup instant noodles for any quick snack, and noodles with the egg and chicken slices to make it a bit more of meal.
The more we eat instant noodles, the more we become lazy. Lazy to cook. Lazy to maintain our overall health. The more we have quick meal fixes, the more we get used to feeling instant gratification from eating, feeling full after eating a tasty feed. And empty, wanting for more.
The flavour of Chinese Malaysian food around australia pales in comparison to the dishes in my parents’ hometown, and I also don’t realize sick and tired of eating Western food in Melbourne. Every time the pungent, savoury spices of Saturday’s instant noodle lunch hit my tongue, I’m transported back to a period in Malaysia where I needed instant noodle lunches along with the family, a time when no one laughed inside my Chinese meal. A time in Singapore where I went to school camp, cooked Maggi noodles on a portable gas stove on the ground in the center of a deserted forest with a bunch of Chinese friends, laughing.