Forget Maggi and Indomie, these are the new budget noodles you have to try.
If you’re a poor uni student, like me, then I know you’ll love instant noodles. Maggi and Indomie are my usual buys – they’re the stock standards in every Coles, Woolies or IGA in Australia – but I went to Vietnam last year on the same poor-uni-student budget, and Vietnamese convenience stores were my restaurants.
So, since getting home, I’ve started being more adventurous in buying random-looking packets from my local Asian grocers.
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One fateful day, I stumbled across Samyang Hot Chicken Ramen and put all the ramen packets with the funny looking cartoon chicken in my basket. Here’s what I didn’t know – these ramen flavours are so hot, people do YouTube challenges to eat them.
I bought eight packets of the hot chicken ramen, each a different flavour – I tried them, I cried, and I ate them all.
Here’s a breakdown of every flavour I tried:
The original flavour was good, but didn’t really taste too much like chicken – or even that fake chip-chicken flavour. It was a little boring compared to the others, more like a traditional Mi Goreng that causes minor sweating behind your knees (not in a sexy way).
That is literally what the flavour was called and if that wasn’t warning enough, then I don’t know what is. So, of course, this was the first packet I tried – because I’m an idiot. I’m sure the flavour was good, but I can’t tell you because my mouth was on fire and I was guzzling milk from the carton to stop it. I was also uncontrollably crying. Never have I had something so spicy it did this to me. Would eat again.
This flavour tastes kind of like Sichuan-pepper-Chinese-five-spice and it’s really tasty. But it is HOT. I can still feel my lips burning writing this. I would definitely recommend this as one of, if not the best, flavour. I’ll be having it again, but only once the memories of how badly it burns go away.
It’s a spicy black bean sauce! With the black bean, I felt like the spice levels were toned down a tad, and the flavour was similar to the original flavour, just with a thicker, darker sauce. It was ok, tasty but not amazing. On the plus side, I didn’t involuntarily cry.
It’s got a very distinct curry flavour, I can’t describe it, but you’ll know what I’m talking about as soon as you taste it. You’ll need a tall glass of water to keep the flames at bay, but it’s probably the most distinct flavour of them all.
Sticky, sweet, hot and spicy. This flavour is like a big bowl of chicken stew, and the spice level is on par with the original and jjajang. It’s a great bowl to help you defrost on a cold winter day without requiring you to put on some thongs and a speedo to cool down.
Eh. If you’re looking for a cheese flavour, this will disappoint. The cheese flavouring is so fake it’s more like a sweetness at the back of your throat until the chilli hits. It’s a crowd favourite, so maybe I’m wrong.
This is my favourite. The limited-edition carbonara flavour is amazing. I don’t know why I like this one so much when I hated the cheese flavour, but I’m not looking too deeply into it. They got the creaminess of a cream-based carbonara perfectly, and the sweeter side to it takes the heat down a few notches, so there was no sweat coming through my scalp. I’d probably sell my firstborn for a box of these bad boys.
Want more budget bites? Check out our guide to Melbourne’s best cheap dumplings.