Are you a fan of mala steamboat soups cooked with instant noodles? Do you pair chilli padi with your meepok at the hawkers? Perhaps you simply love spicy foods like laksa or spicy instant noodles like the Nongshim noodles in Spicy Mushroom Flavour? If your answer is yes to one of these points, then you’re going to love the latest cup-noodle trend from China to sweep Singapore. Say hello to the sour and spicy instant cup noodles.
Suan la fen or sour and spicy instant cup noodles is fast becoming the go-to instant cup noodles in Singapore. You can easily find different brands and varieties being sold online.
The Sunday Times did a taste test of eight types of sour and spicy instant cup noodles over a Zoom video-conference call. The judges were ST food editor Tan Hsueh Yun, ST food critic Wong Ah Yoke and chef-owner Willin Low of the Wild Rocket Group.
All About Sour and Spicy Instant Cup Noodles
Each cup is filled with individually packed ingredients. More fancy options include vacuum-sealed clams, scallops and mushrooms – along with seasoning powders, vinegar and mala sauce.
A popular flavour is Hei Ren Bu Luo’s mala oden, comprising fishballs and a striped fishcake with roe filling.
Typical cup noodles come with a flimsy aluminium-foil lid. For the instant suan la fen, the cup lid is a cover that can be properly secured. This is perfect as it ensures that no heat escapes and your noodles are properly cooked.
The average cooking time for these sour and spicy instant cup noodles is five minutes. And the portion is good enough for a light meal or satisfying supper.
How the Noodles are Rated
Each noodle could get up to 30 points – 10 points each for taste, texture and ingredients respectively.
(The top two cups came from the Hai Chi Jia brand, which bears the face of Hong Kong actor Bobby Yip on its packaging.)
In conclusion, the suan la fen winner had the best noodle texture, with a good dose of spice. The runner-up, hua jia fen (spicy clam noodles), had a lighter broth.
Ms Tan said: “The top [sour and spicy instant cup noodles] didn’t paralyse my taste buds. The ones that failed had no nuance and no subtlety in the flavours. I desperately wanted to love the oden, but the spice just kept hammering at my palate.”
Chef Low added: “The winner ticks the boxes of ma (numbing) and la (spicy). For the spicy clam noodles, I wanted to keep drinking the soup. It didn’t taste like instant noodles, but [as though] someone had cooked it.”
Where To Buy
Supermarket chain Sheng Siong carries a few brands of these sour and spicy instant cup noodles. You can also find a wider range on e-commerce platforms. These include Shopee, Lazada, Qoo10 and Carousell. Preorders are usually required and prices and delivery charges vary.