Channel News Asia (CNA) ran a series based on instant noodles. Each week, it zoomed in on the instant noodles 'culture' in different country in Asia. I caught some of the episodes featuring Thailand, Japan, Korea and Singapore. Missed the one on Hong Kong.
The common feature is that in most countries, it started off as providing affordable food for the masses. In fact in Japan and Korea, it was food for many during the years after the second World War. Later on it become part of the food culture of that country, blending in with the local test. So in Korea, their instant noodles are mostly spicy with kimchi favour.
It is an interesting program as there are so many 'nuance' regarding instant noodles in order to capture the taste of the targeted market. Besides flavour, another important factor is the noddles' texture - how chewy it is. In some countries, the folks prefer them chewy, in others, they like it more 'soft'.
In recent years, instant noodles have gone 'upmarket' as they are sold in eatery and even restaurants. It is a surprise even to owners of eateries that the instant noodles item on their menu sells like hot cake. Profit margin is handsome.
I learned that Singapore has our unique instant noodles flavour which is not available in other countries. It is the Laksa Singapura Flavour under Koka brand. Seems Koka made a number of break throughs as they spent heavily on research. For example, Koka noodles need only 2 minutes cooking instead of the conventional 3 minutes required. Then their noodles do not use MSG - which is great and not easy to achieve. To make healthier noodles (without MSG, oil..) is hard as the taste must not be compromised.
I enjoy instant noodles as they are easy to cook. So far my experience with instant noodles is that they don't taste like
the real thing. Mushroom flavour has no mushroom taste, chicken flavour
taste similar to the mushroom ones, prawn ones...etc. The differences I find between different brand of noodles are the texture and cooking time. I switched between a few brands, but have never tried Koka before. So after watching the program on CNA, I went out to buy their Laksa flavour.
What a surprise, it really taste like LAKSA !
I think I will stick with Koka in the future. I will be getting their other flavours to see if they taste distinctly different from one another. They boost of some other other unique noodles which are healthier and make from ingredients which other brands don't carry.
So if you enjoy instant noodles, support local brand and go for Koka to satisfy your taste bud.