What’s your favorite food?
By far the most common answer to the common practicing English in the classroom question. I’d say fried chicken or fried rice would be the second most common. But let’s go back to noodles. Or nooden as it is pronounced by Thais.
I really like ramen noodles. I remember telling my friend JP that I make ramen at home, quite often. You know, drop an egg in the boiling water, add some vegetables, like cabbage or kale and you’ve got yourself a nice hearty meal.
Now it should be noted that JP is a foodie and a good friend. So I took it in Bubble Yum stride when she said, “Oh my God! Ramen is so bad for you!” Yeah, but, it tastes so good. It’s comfort food too.
When I was attending Fort Lewis College in the Subaru and SUV town of Durango Colorado, I received the same disgusted reaction from my college roommates. Who knew ramen had such a bad rat tat tat reputation? I mean Open Office keeps giving ramen the red underline squiggly (the middle finger of the word processing world).
But I grew up with ramen. We were friends who spent a lot of time together, ramen and I. Maybe because my brother and I were latchkey kids. I don’t know, but I could always reply upon the rice cooker ON and a variety of ramen on the shelves.
The popular MAMA glass noodles were always there, as were the classic Sapporo Ichiban, the latter being my go-to brand. There are more noodles in Ichiban (What can I say, I have porky tendencies). I even started discussing which ramen flavors I liked best with my mom when we were at the Commissary (military grocer). I had to make sure that she picked up the brand that had the dried soybean and udon noodles.
My mom taught me how to make a bowl of ramen by adding sliced pork, any vegetables you might have lurking in the recesses of your crisper (even lettuce tastes good!), an egg and using half of the seasoning packet or discarding it all together for your own broth. And after living in Thailand and seeing how vendors make a living off of doing this with MAMA noodles, I’m not surprised.
Growing up in Hawaii is like growing up in a Hot Pot of Asian countries. I was exposed to many different kinds of food, flavors, customs and cultures. The fact that McDonalds served saimin noodles and Portuguese sausage, eggs and rice didn’t phase me until I was in California and tried to order Portuguese sausage, eggs and rice for breakfast.
In grade school, it became trendy to bring your own packet of ramen. At recess, kids would break their uncooked noodles, and eat it raw, nibbling on the chunks like a cookie or Rice Krispies treat, sometimes adding the seasoning packet. This seemed like a horrible waste of good noodles that like to take a hot bath, and I wasn’t sold on the taste but I understood the importance of wanting to be cool.
What’s your favorite food? Nooden. Why? Um. Because it’s easy to eat and it’s delicious.
Couldn’t agree more.