Why We Love Eating Instant Noodles

It’s no secret many of us Asians love eating instant noodles. Some of us call them two-minute noodles. Others ramen, instant ramen.

Living in Malaysia and Singapore as a kid, my mum made piping hot bowls of prawn-flavoured Maggi soup noodles for Saturday lunches. I licked every bowl clean. After nearly a decade living in Melbourne, my taste for instant noodles hasn’t waned one bit – I still eat Maggi noodles once a week for lunch most Saturdays.

Fried food always tempts us into descending towards gluttony. Fried Maggi Goreng | Weekly Photo Challenge: Descent.

Fried food always tempts us into descending towards gluttony. Fried Maggi Goreng | Weekly Photo Challenge: Descent.

Many of us Asians love eating instant noodles because it’s cheap. Asians are cheap. We can get a pack of Indomie Mi Goreng or Nissin noodles for 30 cents a packet in the Asian grocery shops in Melbourne. Perfect for Asian international students on a budget in Australia. Perfect for a twenty-something Chinese Australian like me on a budget, trying to secure a stable job in the local Caucasian-dominated, white-collar workforce so as to pay the bills.

We’re fond of instant noodles because they’re convenient, quick and easy meals. Not much cooking expertise required except boiling water and pouring it over noodles. Which is why the fast-and-efficient Asian in me loves making instant noodles for lunch on lazy Saturday mornings – washing up doesn’t take much time.

It’s hard to get bored of eating instant noodles as there are so many flavours to choose from, tasty flavours too. Which Asian person with a strong palate doesn’t like a flavourful meal? Then we have the option of customising our instant noodle meals with anything we like – great for us Asians who like heaping food on our plates. Personally, I like plain soup instant noodles for a quick snack, and noodles with an egg and chicken slices to make it a bit more of meal.

Also, making instant noodles is fun; there are so many ways to cook the different varieties of it. Dishing up straight or curly instant noodles with broth, fried in a pan, you name it. And many Asians aren’t only big on eating, but big on cooking and cooking way more portions everyone can eat as well.

It’s no surprise instant noodles aren’t good for us. They are junk food, junk food with additives and artificial flavours (such as the chocolate flavoured ones). High in salt and MSG that get us hooked on them. And rumour has it this makes our hair drop out.

The more we eat instant noodles, the more we become lazy. Lazy to cook. Lazy to look after our health. The more we have quick meal fixes, the more we get used to feeling instant gratification from eating, feeling full after eating a tasty feed. And empty, longing for more.

These days Maggi have stopped making prawn-flavoured instant noodles, so I’ve settled on eating the chicken-flavoured variety on weekends – eating instant noodles never really tastes the same anymore. Still, memories come gushing back.

The taste of Chinese Malaysian food in Australia pales in comparison to the dishes in my parents’ hometown, and I do get tired of eating Western food in Melbourne. Every time the pungent, savoury spices of Saturday’s instant noodle lunch hit my tongue, I’m transported back to a time in Malaysia where I had instant noodle lunches together with the family, a time when no one laughed at my Chinese meal. A time in Singapore where I went to school camp, cooked Maggi noodles on a portable gas stove on the ground in the middle of a deserted forest with a bunch of Chinese friends, laughing.

And so eating these noodles reminds me of what it’s like to belong. What it means to be Chinese. What it feels to lose a part of myself as I’m staring down at an empty bowl in my apartment at noon on Saturdays, alone, the last bits of chicken-seasoned-soup lingering on my tongue. We eat to relive moments, or at least try to – food is tied to culture, memories of a certain place. Not only are we nourished physically when we eat, but emotionally too, maybe for a few moments.

There’s no reason why we can’t “eat to live” instead of “live to eat”. Eat in moderation, of course. When we eat certain foods we go on a rollercoaster journey. A journey where we remember where, and who, we used to be. And a journey to see where we are today.

Do you like eating instant noodles? What’s your favourite instant noodle flavour?

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170 thoughts on “Why We Love Eating Instant Noodles

    • Yes! I remember Maggi prawn-flavoured noodles came in pink packets/design. They were sold in Singapore too. I still remember eating it ten years ago there.

      Being a country that loves prawn mee, I’ve always thought there were many kinds of prawn-flavoured instant mee in Singapore? Apparently not, sadly 🙂

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  1. When I first arrived in Taiwan, I was amazed that there was an entire aisle at the supermarket dedicated to instant noodles – so many kinds and varieties. And you are right – Asians love to eat them. Taiwanese love to eat them as well, especially during trips to the mountains, cold weather, and during typhoons (maybe because no stands are open).

    My husband also loves instant noodles and personally, I think he eats them way too often (just think about the amount of preservatives in one pack)! As for me, I think I can count on two hands the packs of pao mian (instant noodles) I have eaten since university. To me, they are a poor student’s food and something you eat because you can’t afford anything else. I would prefer a sandwich any day!

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    • I can imagine a look of awe on your face when you saw a whole aisle of instant noodles in the shops! I think my face looked exactly like yours when I returned to Melbourne and discovered only one shelf in my local supermarket was dedicated to instant noodles…my heart sank.

      Ah, the Taiwanese love eating them when there are typhoons? Makes sense, and I suppose they like top up their instant noodles with tinned food such as tinned sardines and tuna. Come to think of it, my parents used to stock up on instant mee and canned food when the rainy season rolled around in Malaysia when we were younger. Preserved food that can last ages, quick to make, perfect for an emergency meal.

      You are right. There are so many preservatives in instant noodles, and I heard that the “wax” used to hold the instant noodles in its cake form can stay in our stomachs for days. Not good at all. Sandwiches are usually the healthier option – if they have fresh vegies and lean meat. You really need to convince your husband to cut down on instant noodles 🙂

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  2. I love getting creative with instant noodles for supper! it’s so easy to chop some vegetables, stir-fry them and toss them with some noodles and sauces. Always delicious too.
    –Morgan Howland

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    • You sound like a chef, and I don’t doubt your cooking skills. I wouldn’t mind at all coming over for an instant noodle meal at your place, Morgan. Yes, always delicious. Except for the spicy ones, at least for me.

      I don’t know if this is true or if this is a trend, but I have a feeling a lot of us writers live on instant noodles, and we love the taste.

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      • Actually, you’re right. I worked for eight years as catering cook and pastry chef. The only part of instant noodles that I don’t like is the high salt content of some varieties, so I usually make my own, low-sodium broth or sauces.
        –Morgan Howland.

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        • Aha! So you are indeed a chef! Music, writing, food…you certainly have varied interests. You must have come across many different kinds of noodles in your time in this industry. Most of the instant noodles in the supermarkets fall into the high salt, preservatives variety, sadly.

          I’m sure you’ve got a fine few recipes for a well-balanced instant noodle meal up your sleeve. I’m convinced. Thank you for sharing.

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  3. How do you come up with these topics? =) But there are always neat layers to them. That is ScARy that processed ramen is known the world over. I realize McDonald’s isn’t the only fast food to popularize itself across the globe. I grew up on them, too. Eek. =) But you’re certainly right. There’s a whole lot of culture and history (and memories of family) to noodles.

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    • That is so true – processed noodles are just so popular over the world. It’s become acceptable to have two or more aisles of them in Asian supermarkets. Then again, noodles are a staple food in Asian cultures…I hope you don’t eat them too much anymore, D.

      “neat layers to them” – what a compliment, thank you. I don’t know how I come up with these topics that I write. It’s a struggle to come up with them, though… And I also don’t know how you respond to your readers so fast. I can so learn from you right there 🙂

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      • It’s a simple priority (also why I’m so stinking tired all the time lol). My way of showing appreciation for each person who takes the time to read and discuss what I’ve written. It takes me about 3 hrs to field the first batch of comments after posting. I know you know what that’s like, from your popular posts.

        And no, I quit junk food yEARs ago. =)

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  4. When I lived the typical “first apartment with my roomies” summer, we couldn’t pay rent, much less afford most kinds of food.

    Without spaghetti and ramen, we would have starved. Even a peanut butter sandwich was a rare treat, for a while.

    But Food-Booth ramen (noodles fried up while you wait, honking big bowl of the stuff) is in a different universe entirely from the sad little instant ramen….YUM!, yes please!

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    • Instant noodles are definitely kind on the wallet. What, peanut butter sandwiches a rarity for you in your younger days? I would have thought a loaf of bread would be cheaper and a jar of peanut butter lasts awhile…but I suppose it’s hard to not eat peanut butter while you have it.

      Oh yes. Restaurants usually do a better and more spectacular job of dishing up noodles and ramen. They may be more delicious than what we make, but more expensive too 🙂

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  5. Another interesting topic, Mabel 🙂

    Noodles was not much popular in South India when we were kids, but now, it’s the fav. food for kids.

    My wife prepares it as soon as she’s back from work and my daughter just loves it 🙂

    In Bangalore, there are so many Chinese restaurants, where they serve different kinds of noodles based dishes, and we all become fans of noodles now 🙂

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    • Noodles as favourite foods for kids in India? I didn’t know that? I always thought it was Indian roti canai (the flatbread with sugar and curry, that’s what we call it in Malaysia, and I love eating this a lot minus the curry) 🙂

      Haha, you’re all “fans of noodles”. Thank you for trying Chinese cuisine. I’m glad you like it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yea, now you can plan your India trip without worrying about food, right?

        🙂

        Even my mother like Chinese food after coming down to Bangalore.
        But, I heard, whatever we get in India is different from the original Chinese food, it’s made a bit spicy here.
        So, when are you planning your India trip, Mabel 🙂

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        • Chinese food is never the same in Australia too. For example, Australian Maggi noodles don’t taste the same as the ones in the Asian grocery store 🙂

          I will need to work a bit more and save more for my trip to India. India is a big country, North and South, so I will need to plan it all well before I go. I’m pretty sure I can survive most of the trip on instant noodles 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Interesting choice of topic Mabel. Very Asian, if I may say so myself. I like instant noodles as well. To make it healthier (or at least try to convince myself that I could make it healthier haha), I would put cabbages, carrots, sweet peas, chicken and egg. Yum! I used to eat chicken flavored ones when I was younger, but now I limit it to once a month, or during desperate (read: broke) times. I know Caucasians rarely eat preservative-laden instant ramen, but not only does it fill my perpetually hungry belly (Asians are known for their big appetite for carbs- rice and noodles, eh?) but it brings back warm and fuzzy memories of childhood 🙂 Enjoyed reading your post 🙂

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    • “Very Asian” That is SO true. Noodles are a staple in Asian diets. If we don’t eat rice for dinner, then it will be noodles. Though potatoes is a (western) food staple, my parents will not hear of making that and vegies for dinner. It HAS to be either rice or noodles.

      You are so creative and seem to go the extra mile to make your instant noodle meals more healthy. Maybe I should come over for dinner sometime… 😉

      That is an interesting and I never thought of that – that Caucasians rarely eat instant ramen. Noodles aren’t their food staple, it’s usually potatoes, pasta or bread. Then again, pasta is similar to noodles…arrgh, this is confusing 😀

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  7. Yummy! I love instant noodles, I’ve been surviving off them my whole life and still do. Both affordable and delicious and for an inept cook like me works well. My healthnut foodie friends look down on me though 😦

    Funny how in America we call them ramen noodles, funny both because there is such a thing as high-quality ramen AND if only the Chinese knew we use the Japanese word. In fact, if only the Chinese knew instant noodles were invented in Japan…

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    • I am sorry that your health conscious friends don’t approve of your instant noodles meals 😦 I don’t blame you. I ate instant noodles a lot at school just to penny pinch. Not too long ago I learnt how to boil rice and eat that instead…but really, instant noodles taste so much better.

      It was only a couple of years ago that I learnt instant noodles was referred to ramen in the States. When you speak of ramen in Australia, the general consensus is that you’re referring to a hand-made noodle restaurant dish that costs at least $10.

      I just googled ‘where were noodles invented’ and it told me otherwise. There’s a mention of Italy…confusing 😦

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  8. There used to be a time when I really loved instant noodles but I believe the self made noodles of my wife destroyed this old love…
    These days I don’t really like instant noodles though it is usually not due to the spice mix within but the noodles themselves :p
    My Chinese family surely eats instant noodles a lot but this is always whenever they d not have time to prepare something proper or just want a small snack in between. In Germany you prepare yourself some bread when you want to eat something quick and Asians boil up some water and minutes later snack away their instant noodles. 🙂

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    • Now, now, Crazy. Are you just saying that to please your wife? 😉 Kidding. I don’t doubt she makes delicious noodles by hand. I’m sure I’ll be begging for more when I try them.

      Don’t like the noodles themselves? Maybe it’s the way you boil the noodles. Boil them a wee bit too long and they’ll go all soft and soggy.

      Your Chinese family sounds like a very typical Chinese family 😉 I think the difference between bread and instant noodles is that the latter lasts longer. Unless you freeze bread, which I don’t think many of us do. So I guess if you mention that to MIL she will be happy…

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      • At first I also thought that I prepare those noodles wrong but I let my wife and in-laws do this a few times and it is still too disappointing for me :p
        I thin it is not only due to my wife’s self made noodles but also when visiting shaanxi I am exposed to so many different kind of noodles that I lost all hope for the instant kind.
        Actually some people freeze bread, I bet if I open my parents freezer I will find some bread in there. Usually we eat fresh bread but sometimes my mother has different ideas

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        • My, my, Crazy. You sure know how to pick out sub-standard, not-so-good-for-you food with your tastebuds and eating the high quality noodles 😉 You sound like a noodle connoisseur. Maybe one day you’ll be able to try all the kinds of noodles in the world and tell us which one’s the best.

          Freezing bread is indeed a good way to keep it fresh. Buying bigger loaves saves you quite a bit of money in Australia, and many people freeze their bread here because of this. So your mother is not alone.

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  9. Ooh, instant noodles! I love these! I’m known to be a huge lover of all instant meals — not only because it’s quick to prepare but because I just love the instant taste. I’m weird. As one of the commenters mentioned before me, in Europe you normally grab some bread for snack, not noodles, so I’m pretty untypical. Thanks for the interesting article!!

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    • “Instant taste”. Me too, I love it. It’s hard to describe the instant taste. Usually it’s savoury. Strong. Sharp. Full-bodied. Strangely smooth. Easy to prepare, quick to wash up, easy on the wallet. Sadly not for our health. But once in a while is okay 😀

      Like instant noodles, bread is also processed and full of carbohydrates. So too much of that isn’t good too. Thanks for stopping by, Mara. Always love it when you do.

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  10. Instant noodles my mum always gave when other parents had lamingtons or chips for afternoon tea. She was big about avoiding the MSG though so we could only have it on occasion. You have a sentimental feeling with instant noodles, I have it with chicken wings with char Siu sauce. Mmmmmm

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    • Lamingtons? For afternoon tea? That was so generous of the other parents!

      Instant noodles and chicken wings and char siu sauce? That sounds mouth-watering. It must be your favourite recipe. Now you got me thinking of trying to make that…

      These days I only use half the packet of seasoning that comes with each packet of instant noodles. If I dump all the seasoning in and lick the bowl clean, I might get a headache later. All the MSG isn’t good for us at all.

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  11. When I first saw the title of this post, the first two things that came to mind were… convenience and laziness. Haha. I mean, really, you can’t get much more convenient than instant noodles. You can even eat the noddles without having to cook them!

    I used to eat instant noodles all the time when I was still single and living in Hong Kong. My favorite combination is sesame flavored instant noodles topped with one or two fried eggs. Wow, so good.

    Today, I still enjoy eating instant noodles, but I’d say that’s definitely settling for inferior food when you have so many other types of noodles to eat here in China. But we’ll usually still keep a package of ramen noodles in the house just in case we’re desperate and super lazy. 😉

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    • Hahaha! Oh no, Chris. Why did you mention that we can even eat the noodles cake without cooking them? It reminds me: I do that ALL the time. I’d be waiting for the water to boil, tear the packet open and grab the loose bits of noodles and pop them into my mouth… :’D

      I’m probably the only one who does that…

      You have good taste. I love those instant noodles that come with sesame oil. Did you like the spicy kind? Because in many Asian cities such as Malaysia, the curry ones are the most popular ones.

      I suppose in China there are other noodles and dishes that match the price of instant noodles, or just a little bit more. I think what makes instant noodles so tempting is that there is an endless variety of flavours…even the Australian version of Maggi tastes different from the Malaysian ones 🙂

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  12. Beautiful post Mabel, I like how you start so simply but it ends on quite a profound note, drawing the links between food & memory & identity.

    I’m not much of a noodle fan. Perhaps that’s cultural. Give me rice or bread or potatoes any day, before I’ll choose noodles. Noodles seem so insubstantial to me. But I remember once on a long haul flight to europe, after about 18 hours of travel, in the middle of the night, being given a pot of instant noodles – hot, hydrating & absolutely heavenly.

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    • That is interesting to hear you prefer eating other staples. It could definitely be cultural, or just a matter of our individual tastes. Like rice, noodles can taste plain without sauce or seasoning. Plain bread (apart from white bread) tends to more tasty with its grains, seeds and fruit, even without spreads and jam.

      Glad to hear you enjoyed that hot bowl of noodles after a long flight. I guess when we’re hungry, everything seems tasty 😀

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  13. Another superb post, Mabel. I love instant noodles and it was probably the first thing I learned to cook. We always had a collection in our cupboard of all sorts of flavors and brands from Thailand’s MAMA to Japan’s Nissin – since living in Thailand I’ve expanded my palate to Korean instant noodles, too.

    In college my Caucasian friends thought it was “gross” that I ate so much ramen and my mom sent me instant noodles via mail! I almost always drop an egg in mine. it seems naked without it 😉 I try not to eat it too often though because it is unhealthy. But hot damn, it’s comfort food, its hot, filling and yummy!

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    • You know what? Instant noodles was also the first thing I learned how to cook. That was the first thing my mum taught me how to cook, actually.

      I’ve never heard of Thailand’s MAMA. Just googled it and, wow, it’s all red soup so I presume it must be spicy. Korean instant noodles? I presume they are spicier, but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong 🙂

      “….naked without it (egg)…comfort food”. Spot on. The bowl of instant noodles just looks so small without any other ingredients in it. It looks sad 😉

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      • Nah. MAMA noodles comes in all sorts of tame flavors. But yes, they have the spicier versions and the Korean flavor was very spicy…I think I got “kimchee” flavor 😛

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    • Sounds like you’re eating instant noodles in moderation. Good on you. And anyone can eat instant noodles 🙂 Is there a particular flavour that’s a favourite with people in America?

      Many Australians (Western, Asians, etc.) like steak-flavoured or BBQ ones, and especially “Oriental” flavoured instant noodles. I can never fathom whether “Oriental” refers to Chinese, Japanese, Korean etc. flavoured noodles. And I never liked this particular flavour.

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  14. Westerners like instant noodles too. Although I usually skip the flavor pack and add my own. I mean — it’s not so different from chicken noodle soup, is it? except faster and easier.
    😉
    Living to eat is a fine idea, you’ve got my blessings there, Mabel, if you want them! Eating in company, and also alone, can be among the greatest pleasures in life. I know people who eat to live, but I have to admit — I don’t understand them, and I always think they’re missing so much.

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    • I’m not surprised Westerners like instant noodles too. Noodles are everywhere these days, I’m sure many of us are curious enough to try them.

      That is so much healthier, adding your own flavours to your instant noodles, my hat’s off to you. I’ve always taught making your own is time consuming, maybe it’s not.

      These days I’m leaning to the “eat to live” side. I haven’t been putting the whole packet of flavouring into my instant noodles. Too much of the flavour gives me headaches 😉

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    • That photo of fried instant noodles looks good…but the actual dish was a let down. There was an overpowering sweet, tomato taste and was unlike fried Maggi noodles in Malaysia. It’s a dish that’s definitely catered to Western tastebuds – but I’m sure there are many who like it.

      I’m sure you can cook a delicious dish of noodles, Pixie. It sounds like you are a noodle fan, correct me if I’m wrong… 😉

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      • Oh no! I know exactly what sort of noodles you’re talking about! Sorry it didn’t taste good…I’m guessing you like the authentic Asian kind then, and specifically Malaysian 🙂 I’ve had those before and they’re delicious – savoury, sometimes spicy. It’s got a kick specific to Malaysian food.
        I can cook a decent noodle, and the home made ones, as opposed to the Instant Cup Noodle or Nissan brand, are usually accompanied by a chicken broth base, topped with some jiao zi and chopped veggies. Much healthier option 🙂 but as a guilty pleasure I have instant noodles at home that I indulge as a snack or midnight treat. Sooo unhealthy but yummy. Have you tried the Korean super spicy type? Addictive.

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        • That is true. I like authentic Malaysian noodles, minus the spicy because I can’t handle spicy 😀 So no, never tried the Koren super spicy ones! The last time I ate Maggi Curry noodles, I kept guzzling cold milk after each mouthful.

          It’s hard to describe the Malaysian flavour of instant noodles though. I racked my brains so hard to come up with a description but couldn’t… I don’t know if Hong Kong noodles taste similar, I would suppose so.

          Maybe I should come round for dinner someday, Pixie. I’m sure your noodle dishes and dumplings won’t disappoint 🙂 Sometimes when I don’t want instant noodles I just boil some mai fan and add vegies and an egg. A bit plain, but much healthier.

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  15. I had more than my fair share of instant noodles back when I was young. Instant noodles and fried egg were the only things that teenage me knew how to cook so every day of every school holiday, my brother and I would have this for lunch. I think the flavour we generally had was “traditional”, which is probably just pure MSG. They were also my weekend lunch staple back when I was in Canberra since I’ve generally been too lazy to cook a proper lunch.

    I’m still pretty lazy when it comes to cooking lunch, but now I live close to a shopping centre so I don’t eat instant noodles any more.

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    • Haven’t we all had our share of instant noodles in our younger days? 😀 Doesn’t sound like you got tired of instant noodles and egg even though you ate that day after day on holidays…so, yes, maybe it really is the MSG.

      These days many offices in Australia don’t give lengthy lunch breaks. Some maybe half an hour for lunch, and some offices I’ve worked for are strict about this. Not much time to go out and buy lunch. It’s so easy and tempting to bring in a packet of instant noodles when you don’t cook much yourself.

      I hope that shopping centre has tasty and nutritious food options for you. And affordable, too.

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      • Affordable, tasty and nutritious is a very hard balance to have when you’re not making the food yourself. I’ve yet to find that balance in either the shopping centre near my home or the one close to my work. I’m sure you won’t be surprised that nutrition is often the the attribute that gets sacrificed. That said, it’s probably still more nutritious than having instant noodles.

        I eat pretty fast (apparently the product of a very competitive eating environment at my kindergarten) so a half hour lunch break is more than enough for me. As I work for myself, I often eat at my desk so that I can catch up on some news at the same time. Even so, I’ve never really been keen on bringing my own lunch or making instant noodles at work. I always feel I need to get outside for a little bit in the middle of the day, even if it’s just across the road to Melbourne Central or to the Korean restaurant downstairs.

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        • Agree with you there on the topic of food and nutrition. Very rarely are meals served up in foodcourts and restaurants nutritious. Most of the time these dishes are oily – preparing food over oil and heat doesn’t usually take too long compared to other methods…not to mention this kind of food is tasty.

          The city definitely offers a diverse range of food options, lucky you. I’m also one of those people who has to have lunch outside of the office. I work a little south of the city, and unfortunately food options are very limited there. I usually end up eating sushi a lot :/

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  16. I like instant noodles, they are made to taste good! But I try not to eat them as they are VERY high on calories (like 500 per cup!! That is crazy!!). So I prefer pasta, it seems kind of healthier, haha.

    When traveling by train, Chinese people like eating instant noodles and the aroma spreads along every carriage… it makes me hungry but I try to resist 😀

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    • 500 calories per cup? I never knew that 😦 I just thought they were high in salt and MSG. Sometimes after I’ve eaten one packet of instant noodles, I’m still hungry…Maggi tends to have small portions 😀

      Oooh. So instant noodles are popular on-the-go meals in China. Interesting. I suppose if there’s hot water around, you can “cook” your instant noodles on the spot. I hope the trains in China aren’t littered with small pieces of dried instant noodles 😀

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      • Trains in China, especially the older trains that go slower, are so dirty 10 minutes after the people board them that small pieces of instant noodles are the tiniest of your worries, haha 😛

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        • Oh dear. I hope you don’t travel on the trains in China too much then. I suppose if someone spilt their instant noodle soup all over the train seat or floor, no would would really mind too much too ^^’

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  17. In Poland, as in other countries there is a lot of ready-made pasta, but I prefer the fresh ones made at home
    Thank you for your kind visit and comment. Best regards and have a nice weekend.

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    • Fresh food always taste better than the pre-made ones, doesn’t it? Never knew the pasta kind of noodles was a hit in Poland. I learnt something new today.

      Thanks for very nicely stopping by again. Looking forward to your next post, and have a good weekend too 🙂

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  18. I for one didn’t need all that explanation to agree with you about awesomeness of instant noodles ! lol
    Love this post Mable especially cuz I could relate so much. I have been eating noodles since I can remember, When I was little my mom used to cook me half packet of them everyday. As I grew up it became a whole packet and then I learned to cook them myself. It is one of the first things I ever learned in the kitchen (Not that I know many things to cook now but just sayin’ 😀 ) I used to host a cooking show with an imaginary audience, teaching them how to cook instant noodles ! Silly me but I have good memories with noodles. I still eat them whenever nothing of my interest is cooked in the house 😛

    Oh and no matter what, or how many flavors, pain chicken is my all time fav 😀

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    • “awesomeness of instant noodles”. Perfect way to describe this food, Zee. I didn’t know it was eaten that much in your country Pakistan. You mum is so nice – cooking the noodles for you. My mum did that for me as a kid but stopped when I grew older!

      That is very imaginative of you, cooking the noodles for an audience in your mind. I hope you didn’t cook too much 😀 Usually one packet is not enough for me, always craving for more after I finish one bowl. I am greedy right….

      I am sure there are other foods in your house better than instant noodles 😉

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    • Ah, you like the Indo-flavoured kind of instant noodles. I like Indonesian instant noodle and Indomie a lot, but sometimes I feel the taste can be too overpowering. Maybe too much MSG in them.

      Now, when are you going to take up my challenge of making an instant noodle meal? I’m sure at some point. Not nice to keep a lady waiting 😉

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  19. Um no, I find instant noodles just kind of ordinary. More chemicals. Last time I had them was over 30 years ago…when I was in university.

    I do tend to do whole cooking from scratch- Chinese style.

    Do you cook much at all?

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    • That is a very, very long time since you ate instant noodles, Jean. But with good reason. I don’t know if you’ve written a post on food on your blog? That would be an interesting post to read. Because you’re a cyclist, I suppose you have to make sure you eat the right foods to give you sustainable energy for your rides. Missing your biking posts.

      I tend to cook very simply for myself. Rice, steamed or boiled chicken, veggies and eggs for dinners. So I don’t much, at least not extravagantly. More like cooking and “eating to live”.

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      • Nothing wrong with eating simply and healthily.

        I never got into the instant noodles/ramen habit. So no blog post. At this stage in life, I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to get into instant ramen meals. It wouldn’t be healthy for me.

        As for more cycling posts, I’ll get there. I’m mining all sorts of other topics and there are some cycling references. Like my latest on super heroines. 🙂

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        • Instant meals are definitely not healthy. Anything processed or tinned can’t be good for us at all. Would love to see a fresh food post from you someday. I think we all need to learn about healthy eating 🙂

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          • You’ll see the post um..early .next year and it will be an unexpected topic. I’m actually having a slight problem of blog post topics that keep disrupting my original publishing schedule. I seem to get inspired by more stuff to blog about.

            Meanwhile here is a very recent blog post about cycling and our forays in life together:
            http://cyclewriteblog.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/sharing-love-cycling-passion-and-idiosyncrasies/ Of course our long-term, love speaks directly to one of your topics on white male-Asian female relationships… 😀

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            • Haha! It’s hard to stick to a blog schedule when different ideas keep popping up in our heads – and we feel that they deserve the limelight.

              Love that post about you and your partner, love it that it’s about the two of you and what you both do. He certainly knows how to whip up fresh food in the kitchen 🙂

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  20. I had to goodle “instant noodles”… if these are sold here, I have never tasted them… maybe they are offered in the Chinese food restaurants, but I haven’t been to one in ages… the pic though makes me hungry, the look so yum 🙂

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    • Now you know what instant noodles are! I’m sure one day you will get to taste them in your town in Bulgaria. Maybe they are located in the instant meals section of your nearest supermarket.

      The noodles in the photo didn’t taste as good as it looks. Too much tomato and sour taste for my liking. Chinese food in Australia never tastes the same as Chinese food in Malaysia and Singapore. But it’s better than none 🙂

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  21. Instant noodle is indeed favorite food in most Asian countries. In Indonesia, the most popular brand is Indomie and the brand is also available in Nigeria and the Netherlands (lucky me). Indomie instant noodle is now favorite food in Nigeria – unbelievable how popular the instant noodle there, they have bigger package than normal!! Anyway, for me here, instant noodle is quick and Indomie brand reminds me of home :). Dutchie likes instant noodle as well, so sometimes he eats it as quick served food during the weekend, we added the noodle with eggs, meatballs and veggies…But gosh, we don’t think it is healthy to eat instant noodle everyday!

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    • I actually only tried Indomie two years ago, believe it or not. Before I tried it, I always heard that it comes with very strong flavours and stinks up the whole house. But when I tried the original Indomie instant noodle, I was blown away by the taste 🙂 The only gripe I havea about Indomie is that the sauces can be hard to squeeze out of their packets.

      Nigeria are SO lucky to get a bigger pack of Indomie. Too bad Australia doesn’t get that!

      Very nice to hear you and Dutchie share the same tastes. Asian food is always hard to resist…and certainly not healthly all the time. But that goes for all foods 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s true about the Indomie sauces 😀 it could be annoying! The flavours of Indomie here is bit less than the ones they sale in Asian markets. I think they have a manufacturer in Germany that made the flavours as according to European taste – less spicy 🙂
        Oh I enjoy reading your post about the instant noodle, and it is interesting to know that most Asians share the instant noodle as sort of comfort food 🙂 Have a great week Mabel!

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        • I didn’t know they tend to ship less spicy Indomie to other countries! I learnt something today 😀

          I never actually put all the red colour sauce into my Indomie – too spicy for me! Definitely, instant noodles is a comfort, pick-me-up food. Always tastes good at any time of the day!

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  22. I love noodles, also enjoy rice noodles, pasta, breads… 🙂 I can’t say I love instant noodle though, but I agree, it is very convenient. 🙂 You always find interesting topics to write about. Well done, Mabel!
    Nice capture of the noodle dish. 🙂 Enjoy the weekend!

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  23. I used to love noodles in Japanese restaurants in California, the ones more like soup with lots of prawns or chicken and vegetables. Oh I could really enjoy a steaming bowl full of those right about now 🙂 Hubby loves instant noodles. For me, it depends on what brands they are. Some here are dirt cheap and nothing but chemicals it seems to me, so I avoid them. Daughter loves all Asian food so she will sometimes drum up a noodle dish or two which I love…and even more so because she made it 🙂 Food and culture is intrinsic isn’t it? When I eat a Sunday roast here it reminds me of where I belong, as an English girl back on my home turf. Love how you brought instant noodles into such a thought provoking post about home, culture and the food that rocks us 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend dear Mabel ❤

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    • Soup noodles with all those vegies? Those are definitely the healthier options, you certainly have good taste, Sherri. If you come over to my place, I’d be happy to make you a hot bowl of noodles…with the little cooking skills that I have 😉

      But I would suggest you go and ask your daughter to make you a bowl of noodles, she sounds like a cook in her own right!

      You are so right. Food and culture are intertwined. The food we eat reminds us of who we used to be – and who we used to be is (and will always be) who we are. I hope those Sunday roasts are a regular thing for you.

      Thanks for stopping by, Sherri. Always love it when you do. I had a busy week, bit of a busy weekend too. Hope you have an amazing week ahead 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I would love to have you make me a bowl of noodles…and then I would make you a Sunday roast in return…with lots of vegetables of course 😉 Ahh…thanks Mabel, and you too, I hope the week ahead is amazing for you too 🙂

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  24. Pingback: Noodle omelet recipe on Yummy Lummy

  25. Great post, reminds me of a very funny story: a few years ago, I took some friends from China on a trip to Northern California (to Big Sur). We stayed at this great place overlooking the Pacific Ocean and treated them to a dinner at one of the top restaurants in California (organic veggies and wild meats). We ordered dinner, and the “dad” of the group (he was around 67 years old) ate just a bit…I knew western food was new to him, so tried ordering him veggies and Asian/Chinese themed dishes.

    When we all returned to the cabin we had rented, he immediately grabbed a $0.30 box of instant noodles, added water and had the biggest smile on his face as he ate. I loved it ~ I asked him if the noodles were better than the dinner (the dinner which was truly one of the top 5 meals I’ve ever had!) and he smiled and nodded his head vigorously.

    So while I am not at all a fan of instant noodles, I love seeing the devotion of people who have grown up with them 🙂 Have a great week Mabel!

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    • That is a hilarious story. Maybe the Western food served at the restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean was either too oily and salty, or too bland, or he didn’t like the smell of Western food. It sounds like he always has an emergency stash of instant noodles for occasions like this. Sometimes it’s the least expensive and the simplest things that truly make us happy 🙂

      You don’t like instant noodles. Maybe you haven’t tried enough of them!

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  26. Sure, cheap and quick to eat. But I wouldn’t associate them with any particular memories. A lot of guys at work have those 2 minute bowls of noodles for lunch. I cook my instant noodles for 5 minutes at least, rather than 2. 🙂

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    • Ah, I suppose you ate much more classier food back in the day, Dragon 🙂 So far of all the places I’ve worked, there will be at least one person who’ll eat instant noodles in a week.

      5 minutes to cook your instant noodles? You must like your noodles soft then. I cook my noodles for no more than 2 minutes to achieve a chewy texture.

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  27. I love noodle a lot ❤ Instant noodle is the best choice for people who work not only 8 hours at office but also some extra hours at their home. My friends and I do agree that we could devote more for the main task by cut down the eating time 🙂 Maybe we are work addicted but work hard is the only thing we know to live well. Thanks for sharing the post ❤

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  28. Oh I love noodles. Filipino noodles, Chinese noodles and pasta are my favorites. The instant noodles are very tasty though I haven’t had it for years. The msg content gives me headaches. 🙂

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    • Filipino noodles? That’s a kind of noodles I’m not too familiar with, I’ll have to google that sometime to find out more 🙂 Me too, I get headaches if I use all the flavouring that comes with each instant noodle packet. These days I only use half the packet at the expense of a more diluted flavour.

      Good on you for not having instant noodles for years. Well done and my hat’s off to you. I don’t think I can achieve this feat at all!

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  29. I had no idea there were so many flavors — and chocolate! (can peanut butter be far behind?) I think the noodles sound healthier than lots of the quick foods people eat here, and having memories that go with them? — that doesn’t sound like junk food either. I’m just home from a trip and having to fix my own food and (horrors) make my own coffee… something quick sounds really good.

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    • Oooh. Peanut butter instant noodles! I think that might be a reality someday. Interesting thought there about noodles being less healthier than they sound. A lot of noodles are made out of flour, and too much of that can’t be too good for us. Egg noodles are presumably higher in cholestrol.

      Oh dear, Sandy. I hope you get the hang of making meals again and your coffee doesn’t taste bad. I’m sure you’ll get it soon. Cooking takes practice and a lot of patience – non-instant cooking 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  30. As someone who consumed copious amounts of noodles way back when, I can understand your post completely. Instant noodles (though there may have been flavor variations between our countries) were eaten morning noon and night, including snack time. They were just perfect for busy people. These days, though, I rarely prepare them especially for my children. I shudder when I see the ingredient list that come with each pack. The other day, I read about some health risks associated with eating too much of the instant noodles and I thought that those tasty instant noodles contributed much to my health issues many years ago.

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    • Oooh, never thought you ate copious amounts of noodles way back (love that word copious!). You are right. Anytime of the day is perfect for instant noodles. As long as we have boiling water, instant noodles can be served.

      It is good of you to set a good example for your kids. I hope you’ve got them into the habit of eating fruit 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  31. When I was younger, I loved eating instant soup noodles with egg (chicken or beef flavour) especially during the rainy days. I like instant Yakisoba, hot and spicy! 🙂 But I must admit, I refrained from eating instant noodles. I’m setting a good example to my daughter.

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    • Instant Yakisoba? I’ve actually never heard of that or tried that. That reminds me. A few months ago I had Yakisoba at a foodcourt in the city and it was hideously salty 😀

      I hope you DO let your daughter eat instant noodles once in a while. She has to try the best of Asian food 😉

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      • We have instant Yakisoba in the Philippines.

        Daughter loves eating noodles – udon, char kway cheow, chow mien, rice and egg noodles. We encourage her to eat home cooked meals and specialty noodles from Chinese restaurants. Instant noodles once in a while is acceptable. She’ll become a picky eater when she gets used to it – Those instant noodles are flavourful 🙂

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        • My, my. Your daughter loves her noodles alright. She probably knows her noodles better than me, what a clever kid 😀 If I were you I will give her instant noodles as a treat occasionally. Like on her birthday or something 🙂

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  32. Here in the UK we have ‘Pot Noodle’ which you just add boiling water to. One time I really liked them as they were quick and very tasty, but I haven’t eaten one now for a few years because of the additives contained in them. I rather stick to a bowl of cereal, even at lunch times.

    Food which brings back memories for me are usually puddings such as Jam Rolly-Poly and custard or spotted dick and custard. They were school day puddings and have been reinvented in recent years here in the UK. Takes me right back to joining the queue in the school canteen and always asking for seconds if any was left over. By then, the custard was usually cold but that never mattered to me.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Mabel

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    • ‘Pot Noodle’. Never heard of that. It sounds very delicious, though, and I’m sure it is. Cereal for lunch? It’s never too late to eat cereal. Sometimes I eat that at night when I’m writing.

      Jam Rolly-Poly! We have something similar called swiss rolls in Malaysia and Singapore. Didn’t know they made a comeback in the UK recently. They’ve always been popular in Asia. I’ve always loved swiss rolls (soft cake, sweet jelly), so I can understand why you went back for seconds in the canteen. Pleasure to have taken you down memory lane, Hugh 🙂

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  33. Since the first time I tried instant noodles when I was around 7 years old, I love it!! I know its not a healthy meal, and I care a lot about what I eat… but once in a while Im not gonna lie, I desire it, I crave for it and I eat it… there is always at least one package at home. However, I still prefer the instant noodles from Brazil rather than the ones I find here in Germany 😀

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  34. Yes! I used to eat instant noodles all the time in my early 20’s when I was rooming with two other girls, we practically lived on them! I still eat them on occasion …they make a great quick tasty lunch at work. If the ones in your picture are instant noodles they certainly look like some of the best I’ve seen, yummy! Great post! 🙂

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    • Another instant noodle eater here! I bet you tried almost every instant noodle flavour you could find in your younger days!

      The noodles in the photo are friend Maggi instant noodles. They do look good, but they tasted too tomoto-ey for my liking 🙂

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  35. Hi Mabel, I recently came back from Kuching and my luggage was full of instant noodles. They now manufacture the ‘kolo’ mee or ‘kampua’ (foochow) mee in dry form like maggi and that’s so authentic. Have you tried the instant Penang (My Kuali) white curry mee? The Asian grocery stalls in Auckland sell them too. 🙂

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    • You are lucky to bring back instant noodles. This isn’t exactly allowed in Australia, and customs tend to confiscate all edible foods you bring in, including chocolate. I hope you enjoy your kolo mee, Jess. It does sound very tasty. I have never tried that instant Penang white curry me – not a fan of spicy foods 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  36. yet another classic post, especially the line “asians are cheap”. That’s why Jews (myself) get along so well and get married. Well, that plus the love of money, family values and the Chinese intention to keep others in the dark regarding how much money they have; Jews are opposite so we need to learn to shut up about it .

    I just love this blog !!

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  37. hi mabel,

    great post.
    instant noodle is definitely handy to have in the home, i will have one when i am in need of a quick fix 🙂 , although i go easy on the seasoning powder and balance that by adding some fried onion slivers, anchovies and garlic.
    did you try the ‘maggi mi goreng’ at the mamak shops when you were back in malaysia? really ‘shiok’ if you find a good one.

    best regards,
    ken

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  38. Hi mabel!

    Came across this very interesting blog post 😀 I live in Singapore and I am crazy about maggi as well as korean thick and smooth instant noodles! When i was young i used to eat them every saturday too while watching my favourite cartoon. How long has it been since you started the saturday routine?

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    • Hi Cyndy! I’ve started my Maggi-instant noodle routine for a while now, probably a few years Today I ate them for lunch again, right after I got out of bed 🙂 Hope you get to eat some again soon, and thank you so much for your nice words. You are kind 🙂

      Like

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