Friday, August 22, 2008


Anyone who’s claimed to have gone to Taiwan before would be missing out totally if he didn’t try 3 things.. their 鸡扒, bubble tea and cup noodles. Yes.. you heard me right.. I said instant noodles.. well what so special about it? Allow me to try my best to account for the experience of my first bowl.. it was really quite something..

The scene takes place on a winter night.. not a snowy one, but one with a clear night sky.. I vaguely remember a full moon. Hmm.. that would be 4 years ago.. how time flies. A chilly winter wind was blowing, marking the start of a cold front making its approach toward the island archipelago. I’ve been walking for the past 12 hours with a load on my back that seemed to get heavier by the hour.. the combination of all that equipment with 72 hours of ration seem quite ridiculous.. but somehow we managed, as we always did.. Spirits were high.. we were on time and we weren’t lost. Sure.. there were some mistakes along the way but nothing too serious.. talk went from fun to serious, mimicking our superiors and getting really good at it, to personal subjects and then swaying back to fictitious characters and who’d we like to be.. we aptly nicknamed ourselves the “Special Elite Thunder Force”.. and kept cracking ourselves up (like how you’d prob be right now) each time we mentioned that name.. there were also colourful characters such as RadioMan and FrogMan.. and how each of us would be unique and special in that one way.. much like superheroes had their own special powers.. we too had our own ‘powers’ and specialty ..and so it was.. 4 ppl barely knowing each other well but yet pretty much in the same situation.. and wanting to make the best out of it..

It was getting late and we decided to find a place to settle in for the night.. this was when we chanced into a little town at the foot of a hill.. I’d never forget that place.. that little house which seemed to be vacant, illuminated a pale white by the moonlight.. that little street that was dead empty with white street lamps dotting the road every few hundred meters, so unlike the orange ones here which can be found every stone-throw away.. the temple with all the figurines and statues that glowed an eerie red in the dead of the night as we passed it.. And of course that car and that car porch where we hid in the dark as Staff and DemoMan trotted off to link up with a member from another group of four. Hiding in the shadows and elated to have finally taken that load off our backs, the remaining 2 of us sat on the curb, quietly waiting for their return..

“Psst!” .. and then out of the corner, a silhouette comes into shape as Staff approaches and hands us a bowl and a bottle each.. Don’t ask how he got it, just eat.. those were the words that came along with it.. Sure. Any form of food now, would be a treat.. he then disappears and reappears shortly with DemoMan and we 4 huddle together in the dark with our food..

The first whiff of hot soup immediately invites the salivary glands to start working and as the warm steam from the bowl rises and brushes against ur cold, wind-beaten face, you sorta know it’s gonna be a good night and it’s only the beginning.. that first slurp of noodles is just pure ecstasy.. hah. I’d give anything to relive that experience.. so halfway through the second mouthful, you realise tiny chunks that got into ur mouth together with the noodles.. NO WAY.. but after chewing you know it’s gotta be. Beef.. chunks and chunks of beef found in the bowl of noodles.. it just keeps getting better.. and so the excitement gets passed around as we each realized that there were chunks of meat in this special bowl of cup noodles.. finishing it with my bottle of what tasted like Sarsi.. I then concluded that the Taiwanese really know how to enjoy food.. and that the best meals always taste even better, when eating in secret.. =P

Well, so much for that account.. what about it you ask? It has been 4 years since that first encounter and I have spent much time trying to find that similar bowl of noodles.. almost every leisure trip to the supermarket, will end up with me taking a peek and longingly trying to hope to catch a glimpse of that familiar looking packaging.. scrutinizing every suspicious looking brand, shaking and trying to feel its weight, wondering if there’s a happy pouch of meat contained within.. and quite obviously, this always results in me being disappointed.. hah. Did I mention that I’ve also tried various alternatives..? I’ve tried adding a can of pork cubes to a bowl of noodles.. but well, it didn’t quite capture the flavour very much.. one of those things which came close but just lacked that something.

And so, 4 years on, I’m glad to present to you what I've been looking for all these while. After what seemed like an arduous journey, it has been found and there’s another brand that carries it. Ok, so it’s not EXACTLY the same brand that I took that fateful night, but it’s one of them.. one of those night snacks we sort after at the nearest 7-11 (which were surprisingly dime-a-dozen there) after the training period.. slurping away happily while watching Mel Gibson in We Were Soldiers and being Mr. Critic at every non-tactical thing he did in the field..

I’m just glad that it has finally made its way into the Singapore market.. and I hope with all my heart and tummy that it’s here to stay.. =)

Bon Appétit!

Beef and Pork flavoured.. gonna stock pile this up as my midnight snack for a long time coming.. =)

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