Thirty Thousand Streets

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Noodle Conspiracy

Y'know, I like me some noodles. And while I like them as part of a cooked dish with stir fries or as a substitute for pasta, at heart I'm something of a fiend for the cheap packets of instant noodles that seem to be a reliable fixture of mini-markets everywhere.

I was especially fond of the range available at the Chinese Supermarket round the corner, and most weeks would pop in at once to stock up on their three-for-one sardines, and browse the wall of noodles on aisle three. The sesame chicken variety were a particular favourite.

The thing is, I always looked on noodles as a harmless treat: a late night snack I could wolf down, guilt free. After all, they're noodles, right? there's noting in them other than flour, and um.. water? nothing sinister anyway.

So I was quite surprised to discover – while waiting for the water to boil the other day and idly reading the back of the pack – that this particular variety ('satay sauce' I believe) had something like a third (one third!) of the adult male daily fat allowance.. or around 22 grams per pack. At first I thought I'd merely got unlucky in some noodle game of Russian Roulette, so scoured the backs of the other flavours I'd bought, to find that they were all playing noodle-ball in roughly the same noodle-ball-park.

To put this in perspective.. 100 grams of the cereal I'm eating at the minute (Special K since you ask) has 1.5 grams of fat per 100g of cereal, or roughly 5.6 grams in each 375g box. Meaning that the fat content of one packet of these noodles.. is equivalent to four entire boxes of Special K. Khrist.

Ok so I'm probably sounding like a Kellogs advertorial here, and at risk of getting too metrosexual about the whole issue, but that's a lot of fat for a small pack of noodles.. right? I mean, someone actually had to try pretty damned hard to get that much fat in didn't they?

I have to say, I'm slightly peeved about this.. something I viewed as a culinary staple has become.. sullied. I never assumed they had much more nutritional content than cardboard to start with, but by this same token I never assumed I was consuming some covert form of lard.

I dunno, someone'll tell me Father Christmas isn't real next..


doppelganger said...

Aw c'mon - ya can feel all that lovely saturated fat clogging your lips as the noodles gently slither inwards... is there an equivalant sensory pleasure to be gained from clogging one's innards with sodden mash of 'Special' K ?

Peter Gasston said...

Not to mention all that lovely MSG. Mmmm!

The Eyechild said...


You've got a point, but at least with Special K I get to feel vaguely virtuous for half an hour or so. I have to say though, if I'm going down that route I might as well 'go the whole hog' as it were, and just grab a bacon butty.

Peter Gasston:

Yeah, it just gets worse and worse the more you scrutinise it. Zero nutritional content, plus loads of random shit, makes for an OK if fairly 'evil' snack.

I chatted to my housemate Marv about it last night and he hypothesised that the noodles were actually deep fried at some stage, which accounts for the high lard content I suppose.

I suppose if I were embarking on a polar mission they'd make reasonable sense.

mountainear said...

Better stock up before you come to the icy reaches of Wales.....

Zeno Cosini said...

There was this slightly crazy homeless girl in Kathmandu when we lived there who would always beg for money from passing tourists. She'd take the money and go immediately to a vendor on the edge of Basantapur Square, and buy a particular Nepalese brand of instant noodle she'd consume uncooked straight out of the packet - Gaida Brand (which I think means "rhinoceros" - there was certainly a picture of a rhino emblazoned on the packet).

She was kind of chubby, come to think. For a homeless Nepalese girl, anyway.

Ade said...

Blue Dragon were my brand of choice in noodley days gone by. Chicken flavour with chilli bits. And being quite the little chef I was, I'd throw in a few chopped up cherry tomatoes while they boiled. This, in my mind, made it a proper meal.

The Eyechild said...


Nepal's quite cold I guess?


Yeah, I used to be bang into them too.. perhaps fortunately, Scummerfield in Camberwell stopped stocking them.. something I was initially up in arms about, but now perhaps have to thank them for. Ironic hey?

Totty Teabag said...

Saturated fat = saturated flavour. Eating packet noodles wouldn't be the pleasure it is without the zingy chilli oil and the porky-pig fat...but what would I know? I'm just a woman who likes Science Fiction....Fat Fact :)

The Eyechild said...

Totty Teabag:

You're probably right.. As for my statement about women and science fiction, I was being somewhat cursory in my 'analysis' (there are some very celebrated female SF writers).

Nontheless, it's the kind of pragamtic feminine wisdom you've just exhibited that leaves girls – on the whole – indifferent to science fiction, whilst menfolk across the land dream of spaceships.

Little Nutbrown Hare said...

You didn't know? I stopped eating instant noodles 10 years ago when I realised how fattening they were. I could have a supersize McDonald's meal instead. The deep fried hypothesis is right.

The Eyechild said...


No I didn't know! I think that's what's got me so miffed, that I've dwelt in blissful (or not so blissfull) ignorance for so long.. and all I had to do was rotate the packet for for the truth.. Curses!