Whether it’s late, we’re lazy, or broke, instant noodles are and have always been our go-to comfort food. Those of you ‘fitspo’ people out there are probably cringing at the thought of eating unhealthy, MSG-laden blocks of noodles, but hey, we still go back to these packs of goodness time and time again.
Have you found yourself at the supermarket staring at all the shelves of instant noodles, wondering which brand you should buy? If you’re like me then the answer is a resounding yes.
To save you from all the trouble (and MSG), and to find out if our personal favourites were really “the best brand”, we organised a blind taste test in the office featuring eight different instant noodle brands (including crowd favourites like Nissin, Maggi & Myojo) that can be easily found in our supermarkets.
For the purpose of this test, we decided to standardise all the flavours to everyone’s go-to: chicken flavour. While other flavours including seafood, laska, and tom yum might seem more attractive from a flavour standpoint, not all the brands have them, so let us know how they fare in other flavour departments!
Labelling each bowl with numbers, we cooked the noodles for the recommended amount of time (as per the package instructions) before putting in the seasonings, flavoured oils and additional liao.
Just for some fairness in this taste test, we roped in Seth and other colleagues to participate. It took quite a bit of convincing but they finally relented.
Each noodle brand was given a score out of 10 and we ranked them according to how high they fared. We judged them based on the noodle’s texture, flavour of the soup as well as the overall experience.
Take a look at what the general consensus was for the best instant noodles, and find out where your favourite stands!
8. Unif (0.6/10)
When I saw these Unif noodles in the supermarket, I knew that it was going to be a gamble. Sad to say, we were really disappointed. Just like the packaging, the contents were bland and boring.
The noodles were a little too mushy for our taste and the soup was extremely tasteless and contained hardly any flavour. After one mouthful, we all knew that we had enough and gave scores ranging from 0 to 2.
A quick Google revealed that Unif has beef-flavoured instant noodles with a packaging that looks much better than the chicken flavour. If you really want to try something from Unif, the beef’s probably your best bet.
7. World O’ Noodle (3.75/10)
You’d expect a company called World O’ Noodle to nail instant noodles right? With its sleek and attractive packaging, I thought that it’d be good.
Just like Unif however, we were let down by this brand. The soup was one-dimensional and tasted rather bland, making one mouthful more than enough. However, I have to say that the noodles were springy and had a nice mouthfeel which was a huge plus.
Perhaps, consider getting World O’ Noodle’s more assertive flavours like the Mi Goreng for a more flavoursome and appetising meal/snack.
6. Mamee (3.9/10)
I remember trying to cook the Mamee Noodle Snack when I was younger, and what I got was a MSG-laden cross between sand and oatmeal. So, when I saw that Mamee was now manufacturing instant noodles, I got instantly excited.
Unfortunately, my excitement was short lived; as a whole, the noodles were slightly reminiscent of the Mamee Noodle Snack. However, the soup was a little under-seasoned and underwhelming. The noodles were average but the familiar flavour gave it some extra points.
5. Myojo (5/10)
For those of you who don’t know, Myojo was a local company that had been around for 30 years before being taken over by Nissinfoods in 2007. However, it’s still called Myojo and focuses on local, Singaporean flavours such as Prawn Noodle and Mee Pok.
The Chicken Tanmen was the first ever flavour to be sold in Singapore and has been around for as long as the company has. When we read about that we had high hopes for it.
It had a mild broth that was not too bland and the noodles were as per normal. Evident from the score, we found it very average with nothing too special nor memorable.
4. FairPrice (5.4/10)
I was rather sceptical when I saw the FairPrice house brand in the supermarket but I decided to give it a go anyway. With its yellow and orange packaging, it definitely stood out from all the reds and greens you usually find with chicken-flavoured noodles.
What we got was a great broth that had good flavour and noodles that were soft yet springy. Compared to those before, this one was definitely better.
Just because it’s a house brand doesn’t mean it’s bad. I can’t wait to try the other flavours!
3. Koka (5.5/10)
Koka uses 100% steamed and baked products in their noodles which are made with whole grain. It being a ‘healthier’ option in the world of MSG-filled soups was already a plus for us.
What we really appreciated was the dehydrated corn and cabbage which, when re-hydrated, provided a nice sweetness and textural contrast. Perhaps this is one instant noodle which we can eat for supper and not feel as guilty.
The noodles tasted like your run-of-the-mill noodles and we couldn’t really differentiate that it was made with whole grain. The soup had a good chicken flavour and had a slight minty-ness like in a Vietnamese pho. I found it refreshing but others thought that it was overly herb-y.
Maybe it’s just for mee but do try it and find out for yourself.
2. Maggi (6/10)
You know it’s popular when people start referring to instant noodles as Maggie Mee. A staple in every Singaporean household, Maggi noodles taste great and have an equally attractive package to match.
Fun fact: Maggi is actually under Nestle (yes, the same Nestle that makes your Kit Kats and Milo). What do the Swiss know about instant noodles? I’m not sure but they’ve got it nailed.
The noodles were as you’d expect them to be, but the soup was what pushed it to second place. The soup was flavourful without being overly salty. We were able to slurp up the bowl of noodles without have to take a sip of water after each mouthful.
Although the Chicken flavour’s good, I swear by the Curry one, so head to any supermarket to get a pack or two.
1. Nissin 出前一丁 (7.5/10)
*Cue drumroll* In top place is Nissin’s 出前一丁! When we found out the results, we weren’t surprised at all. The Japanese have mastered the art of instant noodles and there’s no doubt about that.
The soup for 出前一丁 was flavourful and felt like a homemade one instead of one made with artificial flavourings. Together with the noodles which soaked up the soup perfectly, each mouthful was robust and wholesome.
I’ve been eating 出前一丁 since I was a child and the little mascot on the front brought back some fond memories of eating 出前一丁 till I was sick of them back in Primary School.
If you are struggling with which brand of chicken instant noodles to go for, you now know which was voted as the best!
Try it for yourself at home and let us know what you think.
*This post was NOT sponsored by any instant noodle brand. Although we don’t mind if any of the above brands would like to send some packets over for us to have in the office.