From Maggi mee goreng at Malaysian roving night markets, to yum Mama topped with blanched seafood at Thai hawker stalls, instant noodles really have become a staple street food favourite.
By
Tammi Kwok

11 Feb 2021 - 3:57 PM  UPDATED 17 Feb 2021 - 11:51 AM

You can’t mention instant noodles and not talk about Indomie’s Mi goreng. Created by the late Nunuk Nuraini during her nearly 30-year career at Indofood (who owns the Indomie brand), the iconic red and white packet of mi goreng can be found in university students’ pantries all over the world. 

Nuraini sadly passed away at the end of January this year at age 59. We agree that greatness should be celebrated. And so, in honour of Ms Nuraini and her wonderful legacy, let’s talk about all things mi goreng.  

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Sauce first or noodle first?

First things first: mi goreng is different from many other popular instant noodle brands in that it sits in the “dry noodle” category. Instead of adding soup base packets to boiling water, mi goreng mixes drained cooked noodles with sweet soy, flavoured oil, fried shallots and a powdered seasoning (bumbu) sachet. 

But the question still stands: do the seasoning go in the bowl first, or do the noodles? There have been discussions about which way creates a better distribution of flavour, but the one thing everyone does agree on is that you should save a couple tablespoons of cooking water to help dissolve the bumbu packet so you don’t get a clump of powdered seasoning mid-way through your meal.  

Pro tip: when draining the noodles, pour the hot water over the oil/sauce sachets to warm them up! This makes them runnier, making it easier to mix through the noodles. 

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Crunchy or smooth?

Peanuts are one of the most common food allergies.

There are people who will put peanut butter in everything. Including, it seems, mi goreng! Some people swear by adding a spoon of peanut butter through their noodles, using the residual heat to melt the paste into mixing consistency. But does it work? Well, we’re holding out judgement on this one: the creaminess of the peanut butter could act as a foil for the mild spiciness, making it a cheats’ version of satay sauce. Or it could be complete heresy. Who can say for sure?

By the way, you do know that Indomie also makes satay flavoured mi goreng right? Just saying. 

What’s mi goreng without the goreng?

Picture the scene: it’s the middle of the night, you’re hungry, and you open up a packet of mi goreng noodles. You empty the flavour packets into the bowl and toss the noodles in. Mix it up and ah, bliss. But is it? Although it’s cooked to packet directions, it does seem odd that the mi goreng flavour is missing a crucial, titular step: frying the noodles! 

Sure, it takes away a little from the “instant” concept of it all, but just a couple minutes in a frypan really helps to bring out subtle aromatics in the flavour mix. Besides, you were already going to use the frypan to make a sunny side up for your noodles right? So why not? 

Mamak-style fried noodles (mee goreng mamak)

Mee goreng are the fried yellow noodles eaten commonly in Malaysia; in this popular version, found in mamaks (open-air eateries), the noodles are tossed through a rich sauce of kecap manis and tomato ketchup, as well as potato, fried tofu, calamari and egg. 

Let’s get creative

So you’ve mastered the humble mi goreng. Now, it’s time to get funky with it. In recent years, the fandom has taken this cult favourite to a whole other level. 

From monster mi goreng bowls topped with fries and corned beef, to mi goreng doughnuts, the love for this classic knows no bounds. An Indonesian bakery has even started offering mi goreng wedding cakes, with optional savoury toppings to complete your special day. 

Ah, we know what we want for our birthday cakes this year! 

So have at it! Show us your best mi goreng creations and tag us at @sbsfood on Instagram, or post in our Facebook group.

Love the story? Follow the author here: Instagram @teafortammi.

 

Mamak-style fried noodles (mee goreng mamak)

Mee goreng are the fried yellow noodles eaten commonly in Malaysia; in this popular version, found in mamaks (open-air eateries), the noodles are tossed through a rich sauce of kecap manis and tomato ketchup, as well as potato, fried tofu, calamari and egg. 

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