It was the year of our lord 2017 when I discovered my best mate, Jess, made her instant noodles wrong. We were holed up in an Airbnb in Auckland, at the tail end of a trip that had drained our accounts. Hungry, but with very little to spend, we hauled ass to the closest supermarket and picked up a five-pack of Indomie. So there I stood in the kitchen, preparing two servings of the good shit when Jess suddenly yelled* at me. “What are you doing?” she asked. I had snipped into a satchel of sweet soy sauce and was about to squeeze it onto a plate (the Airbnb didn’t have any bowls, don’t yell at me yet). Did Jess not want kecap manis on her Indomie? I was genuinely confused. And then she said, “Steff, the noodles go first.” And just, hwat the fukc?
It’s been three years since that fateful day and I still think about it often, especially now as my weekly lunch rotations of pesto pasta and sushi have been replaced with Indomie in isolation. So I just have to ask, in what universe do noodles go first in the bowl? I don’t understand. Before Jess cursed me with this information, I thought putting seasoning first was the only way to make Indomie.
Step one: Boil the water.
Step two: Use the boiling time to dump contents of sauce and flavouring into bowl.
Step three: Mix contents into a paste, add extra kecap manis, sriracha, etc.
Step four: Drain cooked noodles and add said noodles into the bowl with a little bit of noodle water.
Step five: Mix until everything is as saucy as your Friday nights used to be.
Step six: Consume in one minute.
I have been making instant mi goreng this way for 23 years so I refuse to believe “the noodles go first”.
So for the purpose of this yarn, I did three things. I revisited the conversation with Jess and told her that she brought dishonour to our cow. I sent a company-wide Slack message asking who did what and was grossly disappointed in all of my colleagues, except for the nine beautiful people who voted the correct way of seasoning first.
Visual coming in hot.
And then I consulted the Holy Grail, Subtle Asian Traits. It’s like any other Subtle *insert name here* Traits group on Facebook, except more angst and rice. This debate is nothing new to the SAT community, but every time someone posts about it, it blows up. So I found a September, 2019 post on it and I sussed.
The image on the right is wrong. It even looks wrong. There’s just something about unmixed seasoning on top of cooked noodles that rubs me the wrong way. You can believe me (or not) but the majority of people were on my side. “Seasoning first!!” commented one bloke. “Logic is you get seasoning spread on the base of the plate with the help of the wet noodles, thus bigger surface area to mix. When you put the noodles in first, the bottom usually doesn’t get shit.” CORRECT. “Seasoning first, because you save time by opening the packets while the noodles are cooking,” another commented. CORRECT. Cold mi goreng SUCKS.
Putting noodles in the bowl first makes as much sense as Fox cancelling Brooklyn Nine-Nine. This is the hill I will die on.
In conclusion, seasoning first is the only correct way to make Indomie. Mum made it that way for me when I was a wee lass and we’re Indonesian. My ethnicity’s on the packet. Suck shit.
And if you make watery / soupy Indomie, you belong in hell. Bye.
*I have 14/10 dramatised this story. Love you, Jess.