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Instant Comfort Mini stories

Instant Love: A Collective Memory
Mini stories featuring submissions to our open-call in no more than 300 words.

  • A Memory of Phnom Penh

    My most vivid memory of an instant noodle meal is the time five of us ate cup noodles in a dusty hotel room with four Cambodian friends in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. This was in 1993, just after the first democratic elections conducted by the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC). It was a time of chaos and uncertainty in the country with UN peacekeeping troops maintaining a transient stability in the war-torn country. In the small hotel room nine young Singaporean and Cambodia adults shared a moment of friendship over 9 plastic cups of steaming noodles. 

    My favourite way of preparing instant noodles is with a slice of processed cheese draped over the top. 

    My favourite brand and flavour is Indomie Mee Goreng. I usually eat instant noodles when I’m too lazy to cook a proper meal. Like many others, I enjoy instant noodles most when I eat together with myself. I know it’s not all that healthy, so I make it with I don’t mind that it’s not healthy. Neither are French fries, roti prata or pizza. — Ashley S. 

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  • For Three Days Straight

    My most vivid memory of an instant noodle meal is when I only ate one meal for three consecutive days. It was all instant noodles, Maggi Hot Heads paired with buffalo wings or luncheon meat or sausage.

    My favourite way of preparing instant noodles is by boiling the seasonings with water over the stove, then adding the noodles. Just before the noodles are at the right doneness (might not be al dente), I would crack an egg into it.

    My favourite brand and flavour: Nong Shim Claypot Ramyun. I usually eat instant noodles when I am lazy and hungry. Sometimes, it could be due to cravings which hit me on rainy days. I enjoy instant noodles most when I eat together with a good Korean variety show. It is best slurped together with Korean celebrities who truly enjoy ramyun.

    I know it’s not all that healthy, so I make it with eggs, scallops, beef, pork belly and sometimes, leek. — Aileen Lim

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  • A Taste of Freedom

    My most vivid memory of an instant noodle meal is the very first meal I made myself when I moved to my new home–MY home, all mine- – was green chilli instant noodles, gifted by a friend. I didn’t have much yet: a single saucepan, and a pair of chopsticks,  but that was all I needed. All my life I’d longed to have that moment, making my own meal over my own stovetop, sitting in front of my own tv, with no-one –FINALLY, NO-ONE- telling me I should be doing something else, eating something else, sitting somewhere else, being someone else. It was a rainy evening, it was a stupid TV show, it was a cold hard floor, and it was the greatest meal I’ve ever had. — Meihan Boey

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  • A Heart-to-Heart At Midnight

    My most vivid memories are the late-night suppers I used to have in university burning the midnight oil. I found solace in a warm bowl of noodles that warmed my soul and provided extra motivation to get work done. One time my roommate and I were rushing work out in the middle of the night. We decided to take a break and have some cup noodles. We ended up having a heart to heart talk which helped me regain my drive. I like to cup noodles and sometimes I’d add extra ingredients like eggs. My favourite is Nissi’s  Tom Yam Seafood flavour. It’s usually when I want a warm bowl of food that’s easy to make and that I look for instant noodles. I enjoy it best when I have it together with my roommate. — Sara Leong

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  • Noodles in the Rain

    Noodles in the Rain

    I remember eating it with my family at a farm stay in South Africa. I think I was in primary school at the time. It was night and there were thousands of flies buzzing outside. The TV was on in a corner, playing some cartoon show. There were six of us—my parents, me and my three siblings. My mom made a big pot of instant noodles for dinner – with soup and some ingredients that I can’t remember now. The memory still stays with me today. I guess it’s the novelty of it – the farm stay, the flies, fear of the pitch-black darkness outside, and the delicious instant noodles.

    I like to make my noodles with eggs—one poached and the other stirred into the soup. If there are leftover meat dishes from the previous night’s dinner, they go into the soup. My favourite is Maggi curry flavour. Instant noodles is typically a breakfast food for me, otherwise, a late-night snack if I’m hungry. I enjoy instant noodles most when I eat together with my army buddies. We share many memories of instant noodles together. It kept us going through endless outfields; cooking it and sharing it with each other in the jungle, under the pouring rain (with a ground sheet above us). We built unbreakable bonds over that dish.Though since it isn’t that healthy,  I try to eat it less often, at most once a week. — Zhuo Yongren

     

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  • Alarm-based Prep

    Alarm-Based Prep

    My most vivid memory was back when I was a youngling of no more than eight when I was introduced to a tiny variant of Maggi noodles where each cake of noodle fits nicely into your mug. Pour in either the curry or chicken-flavoured powder, add some hot water to the brim and you have a truly instant meal in minutes. It was memorable because I would snack on it uncooked at times too. I like to eat it exactly the way it’s prescribed on the packet. To the accuracy of seconds, I set my alarm. It’s if I am on MasterChef and any over doneness of the noodle would receive a telling-off by a British chef. My favourite brand and flavour is Paldo’s Bul Nak Pan Stir Fried Noodle. I usually eat instant noodles when I feel a craving for an instant hot meal, which I enjoy most when in the company of Netflix. I subscribe to the rumour that there’s wax in the water you cook your noodles in, so I usually make the soup with fresh boiled water, not the water it’s cooked in. — Barry L0

     

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  • A Ritual, Not A Routine

    A Ritual, Not A Routine

    They say the first cut is the deepest. For me, it’s the first slurp that leaves the deepest impression. Especially on a chilly night. A long slurp of steamy savory noodles in full-bodied soup between aromatic whiffs. Whoever said money can’t buy happiness never had instant noodles in the middle of the night. 

    Making it is a ritual, not a routine—elevating the humble snack to an artisanal delight.1. Unfurl the foil on the lid: A delicate operation that requires military precision. Peel the foil only halfway and no more. 2. Add the freeze-dried corn and carrots. (Look Mum, veggies!) 3. Sprinkle the seasoning powder like magic dust. Check out how Salt Bae does it. 4. Pour in hot water to one centimetre below the notch on the cup. (The noodles will soak up and expand). Take care not to splatter the powder onto the side. 5. Stir well. 6. Here comes the Midas touch: Gently lay a slice of cheese on top. 7. Close the half-opened foil and weigh it down with a fork. Wait for three minutes and let it all infuse. Itadakimasu!

    My favourite is curry flavour. I’m a true-blue Singaporean; food is my biggest vice. I usually eat it at 2 AM. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing. I need to drop everything on hand for a cup of noodles. Or turn into a pumpkin. It’s just noodles and me, myself and I. This is a deeply intimate communion, a soul-salving moment in the history of Me. I make it with a slice of cheese. Fortified with New Zealand’s premium cheese, packed with protein and calcium. There you go. Instant noodles with instant nutrients. — Melvin Tan

     

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