Photo: 123rf

Cup noodles are the ultimate comfort food on a rainy day. In fact, rain or shine, these piping hot bowls are our go-to meals whenever we feel lazy and peckish, especially in the dead of night. But if you’ve indulged in one too many regular seafood– or tom yam-flavoured Nissin cup noodles, why not go for something a little fancier? We present you some premium instant noodle options that are as good as a restaurant meal, sans the hefty price tag.


1. Nakiryu Dan Dan Men Instant Noodle Bowl


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This cup noodle isn’t just restaurant standard, but 1 Michelin-star standard. Launched by Nakiryu in collaboration with Nissin, it is widely available at supermarkets and convenience stores in Japan. Testers report that the thin, springy noodles – prepared by soaking in boiling water for three minutes – pairs well with a creamy sesame-based broth that has a tinge of sourness. Pro-tip: one reviewer added rayu (chilli and garlic) sauce, vinegar and chopped cashew nuts to successfully recreate the taste of the dan dan noodles that’s served at the award-winning restaurant.

$11.90, available at Oosh! Nosh! Fashionable Food, #B1-105 at Northpoint City South Wing, tel: 6265 0762.


2. Afuri Yuzu Shio Ramen

Photo: Therese Tay

This cup noodle from the super popular Tokyo-based Afuri ramen chain is said to closely resemble the restaurant version. The noodles are thin and their texture resemble buckwheat soba instead of regular wheat flour ramen. The broth – lighter than the rich tonkotsu that many associate with ramen – is chicken-based and tinged with citrusy yuzu, via a yuzu-infused seasoning oil that is drizzled over the prepared dish.

$4.90, available at Cold Storage outlets.  


3. Maruchan Shiroi Chikara Mochi Instant Noodles

Photo: Amazon

Chikara udon, which is served with mochi (rice cakes), is one of the most well-loved noodle dishes in Japan. The word chikara means strength in Japanese and it is thought that the addition of mochi in this dish gives strength to the person eating it. Well, in this case, the chewy, moreish mochi square certainly enlivens the light dashi-based noodle dish.

$3.75, available at Meidi-Ya Supermarket, #B1-50 Liang Court Shopping Centre, 177 River Valley Road, tel: 6339 1111.


4. Maruchan Akai Kitsune Udon

Photo: RedMart

The largest garnish in this bowl of thick, chewy udon is a big slice of deep-fried tofu (abura age). The savoury, almost meaty protein hydrates well – five minutes in boiling water according to the instructions on the package – in the umami-rich soy sauce-flavoured broth.

$4.50, available at Meidi-Ya Supermarket, #B1-50 Liang Court Shopping Centre, 177 River Valley Road, tel: 6339 1111, and RedMart.

5. Ippei Chan Karashi Mentaiko Yakisoba


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Mentaiko – pollock roe – is a trendy ingredient at restaurants, but it doesn’t mean you have to miss out if you’re having a quick cup noodle meal. This one comes with a packet of mentaiko mayo! Squeeze it onto noodles tossed in a pork-based yakisoba sauce for a creamy, savoury dish with a spicy kick.

$3.90, available at RedMart.


6. Maruchan Midori No Tanuki Soba

Photo: RedMart

Good buckwheat noodles are hard to come by outside of specialist restaurants and this one is fairly good once rehydrated with a flavourful soy sauce-based broth. A large piece of crispy tempura, which softens upon soaking with hot water, adds an interesting texture that complements the nutty-tasting soba.

$4.50, available at Meidi-Ya Supermarket, #B1-50 Liang Court Shopping Centre, 177 River Valley Road, tel: 6339 1111, and RedMart.


7. Maggi Hot Heads Roast Chicken Mee Goreng


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This super spicy instant mee goreng surely has its place in one of those restaurant or cafe food challenges. Made with a “unique blend of chillies and peppers”, we suggest that you pair this version of your regular supper joint’s fried noodles with a glass of cold milk.

$1.95, available at FairPrice and Cold Storage outlets.     


8. Samyang Hot Chicken Cheese Big Bowl

Photo: RedMart

The addition of cheese makes this a mellower version of the Korean spicy chicken noodles that started off a food craze a few years ago. The sticky savoury-spicy (and red!) sauce coats thick, chewy noodles that are unadorned save for a few strips of green vegetable. Luxe it up with an onsen or fried egg.

$2.60, available at Redmart.