Really, instant noodles on the food blog? Why, yes. And let me assure you, these are no Top Ramen noodles. If you’re Asian, you probably need no convincing that instant noodles from a bag is nothing to scoff at. But for others who remain dubious or who may have consumed too many 5-for-$1 Top Ramens in college, please give me a chance to change your mind!

Of all the different kinds of instant noodles out there — Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Thai, etc., many of which are quite good — there is one that is near and dear to me, and that is the MAMA pork flavor noodles that come in an orange bag. (A separate post will be devoted to everyone’s favorite instant noodles… Shin Ramyun.)

Me and these MAMA noodles, we go way back. There are two ways I like to eat these, and the first is distinctly a childhood thing. It doesn’t even involve turning on the stove. On Saturday mornings in Toronto, when my parents hadn’t gotten up to make me breakfast yet, I often liked to grab a bag of these noodles, crush them while they were still in the bag, then open them and add some of the dry seasoning, twist the top of the bag closed and shake it, and then munch on these while watching my Saturday morning cartoons. I particularly like the MAMA brand noodles because even when you eat them uncooked like this, they don’t have the raw taste and texture that some of the other instant noodle brands do. Eaten raw, crushed, and with a sprinkling of seasoning, they are crunchy and salty and as satisfying as a bag of chips or popcorn. Occasionally, whenever I felt particularly lazy (just leave it to me to get even lazier than instant noodles), I’d crush the noodles like this before cooking so I could eat the noodles and soup with a spoon.

The second way comes from childhood as well, but unlike the first method, has stuck with me well into adulthood. For as long as I can remember, melting a slice of Kraft singles cheese into the broth is one of my family’s favorite ways of eating instant noodles. I honestly don’t know how this started, but my dad often bought Kraft singles slices to include in my lunch sandwiches (an unfortunate and rare lapse in judgment on his part, but more than made up for with these noodles), and so I can only imagine it being one of his concoctions, though in recent years I have encountered others who enjoy their instant noodles this way as well. The cheese just creates this rich and creamy soup that coats the noodles. Even now, I think of it as my childhood in a bowl.

What are your favorite instant noodles? How do you like to eat them? I would love to know!

Cheesy MAMA Pork Flavor Instant Noodles
Serves 1

Having tried this with a few different kinds of instant noodles and cheeses, I still think it works best in this particular combination. If you like, you can try using other pork- or chicken-flavored noodles (something like beef may be too strong, but who knows?). You can also try other types of cheeses, but processed cheese tends to work better for this because it melts completely into the broth and isn’t as strongly flavored. I also like to cook my instant noodles twice to get rid of some of the wax and grease it gets coated in during the manufacturing process.

1 bag of MAMA pork flavor noodles
1 slice of Kraft singles cheese
optional: your favorite ramen toppings (leafy greens, mushrooms, egg, etc.)

1. Put dried noodles in a small sauce pan with just enough cold water to cover the noodles. Place on high heat. At the same time, boil about the same amount of water separately in a kettle. When the water with the noodles comes to a boil, immediately drain the noodles. The noodles should be loosened but still tough at this point.

2. The water in the kettle should be boiling or close to boiling around this time as well. Add the drained noodles back into the pot, set on medium heat, and pour in just enough hot water from the kettle to cover the noodles. Immediately add the dry seasoning packet and the flavored oil packet (and the chili packet if desired), and stir to combine. Since the noodles are already partly cooked, you want to add the seasonings right away so that the noodles have time to soak in some flavor while they finish cooking. Then add the slice of Kraft singles cheese. When the cheese melts, stir it into the broth. You can also add whatever else you like to eat your noodles with at this point. The noodles are ready when they are soft but still have some bite to them.