Thursday, April 02, 2009

Stinky Feet Noodles – February 10, 2009

I consider myself an open-minded eater. Since meeting Jimmy, I have tried many foods for the first time, as well as revisiting some dishes that I used to hate as a child. For example, I used to HATE hate shiitake mushrooms. I am still repulsed by memories of waking up to the smell of reconstituting mushrooms whenever we had a Chinese holiday. My mum would soak the dried mushrooms over and over in the morning, so it filled the house with its stench. Now, I can appreciate the texture and flavour of the mushrooms, and I actually look forward to Jimmy’s signature chicken-ginger-shiitake soup.

These instant noodles will always be awful.

I bought them at the Asian food market, Dat Lee Hong, just to try them out. Jimmy had been craving Taiwanese beef noodle soup, so he was eager to try out anything that may resemble the dish. Although these noodles originated from China, Jimmy was unperturbed and insisted on trying them. These spicy beef-flavoured yam noodles came in a pack of five and were fairly cheap. If we didn’t like it, I reasoned, at least we only have to eat five packages. It even came with a free gift!

The first time we made these noodles was, of course, as a result of staying up too late. Jimmy and I have turned into night owls where we eat copious amounts of food at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning simply because it has been hours since we last ate dinner. Bad idea.

I opened up the package and caught a whiff of something weird. Musty. It reminded me of old locker smell on the first day of school. I dismissed it, thinking it was something else in the kitchen.

The noodles were packaged differently than I expected. These had a flimsy plastic bag, improperly heat-sealed. Again, I ignored the warning signs. Hungry as hell, I really tried hard to keep my mind open to this new type of instant noodle.

I briefly read the instructions as I brought four cups of water to a boil (I made two packages). Cook noodles until tender, and add seasoning package. Check.

I was a little concerned when I saw how big the noodles were getting. After a small taste test, it was clear that the noodles would take longer to cook than your average package of instant noodles.
Now, I really love clear noodles. I love the thin mung bean vermicelli you eat in Chinese soups. I also love the thick, chewy chapchae from Korean restaurants. Given a choice between clear and opaque noodles, I will (almost) always veer towards clear noodles.

Unfortunately, the noodles had soaked up most of the liquid. I moved fast to get the noodles into a proper bowl. Frustrated with trying to separate the noodles into two bowls, I hastily dumped the contents of the pot into our largest soup bowl.

Jimmy and I prepared ourselves. It looked promising, with the chili oil floating on the surface. Too spicy, and yet bland. There was hardly any beef flavour at all. It was like chewing spicy feet-flavoured noodles. The spiciness numbed our throats, which we expected, but that was the most interesting part of the soup.

I was disappointed by the noodles themselves. They were clear! They should have been delicious! Ugh, the smell of yam noodles stuck around our apartment for days afterwards. Even the “sealed” packages smelled bad. I actually thought there was something rotting in the kitchen.

Jimmy didn’t like the fact that the noodles continued to soak up the remnants of the soup as he was trying to eat it. He also wished it had more flavour.

Despite all of my attempts at liking these noodles, I just couldn’t make it through more than a few bites. We were starving, and it still didn’t taste good! I can’t image how awful it would taste if we were just regular-hungry. Anyway, I threw out the cooked noodles that very night. A few days later, after determining the gym sock smell emanated from the uncooked yam noodles, I tossed out the rest of the packages. It was a lose-lose-LOSE situation (fans of “The Office”, whassup!).

There was only one good thing to come out of this little food adventure: finding out that it’s always mind over matter. I tried soooooooo hard to like these noodles, and they were just terrible. Oh, actually, there’s one other good thing. That free gift mentioned on the package was a pair of plastic chopsticks, and I’m still using them.

I hate learning experiences.

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