When spirits are low, I turn to instant noodles

I eat instant noodles because they make me happy.

I like making my own food, but sometimes, I crave something whose taste I didn’t have to build myself. In short, something that I didn’t have to make timpla. Something that I can pop on the stove knowing exactly how it will taste.

Enter instant noodles, a cheap, easy way to get carbs and umami.

I like Nissin Ramen chicken flavor because it’s the first instant noodle brand I tried, even though it wasn’t the first brand in the Philippines. Granted, this version isn’t the same as the one that was around in the 80s, the one in the red packaging that came with a tiny pack of sesame oil (you can still buy these but they’re imported and cost more), but it does the trick.

Chef Ramon Antonio said in a conversation that a lot of our food choices come from memory, and I believe that he is right. For me, this brand of instant noodles is tied to a time when I didn’t have to worry about anything, and when being allowed to eat something like this was a treat to be looked forward to.

Are instant noodles healthy? Probably not. Is this the best brand out there? I doubt it. But does Nissin Ramen chicken flavor make me happy? Absolutely. And in these trying times, it’s important to embrace every little thing that makes you happy.

I don’t even care that this version doesn’t include sesame oil. I have a bottle, so I can just add it on my own.


Yvette Natalie U. Tan is a multi-awarded author of horror fiction and the Agriculture section editor of Manila Bulletin.