Instant sour and spicy noodles from China are all the craze lately in Singapore.
Also known as suan la fen in Mandarin, each cup has eye-catching graphics printed on it and comes with individually packed ingredients. Typical ingredients consist of vinegar, seasoning powders and mala sauce, but you can also find scallops and mushrooms, and vacuum-sealed clams in fancier options.
The cup noodles take an average of five minutes to cook and one portion works well for a light meal or satisfying supper. You can find a few brands at supermarket chain Sheng Shiong. E-commerce platforms such as Shopee Lazada, Carousell and Qoo10 carry more varieties but prices and delivery charges vary. Preorders are also usually required.
The Sunday Times did a taste test of eight types of spicy cup noodles via video-conferencing app Zoom. The judges were ST food editor Tan Hsueh Yun, ST food critic Wong Ah Yoke and chef-owner Willin Low of the Wild Rocket Group.
Each noodle could get up to 30 points – 10 each for taste, texture and ingredients.
The top two cups came from the Haichijia brand, which bears the face of Hong Kong actor Bobby Yip on its packaging.
The suan la fen winner had the best noodle texture, with a good dose of spice, while the runner-up, hua jia fen (spicy clam noodles), had a lighter broth.
Ms Tan said: “The top noodles didn’t paralyse my taste buds. The ones that failed had no nuance and no subtlety in the flavours. I desperately wanted to love the oden, but the spice just kept hammering at my palate.”
Chef Low added: “The winner ticks the boxes of ma (numbing) and la (spicy). For the spicy clam noodles, I wanted to keep drinking the soup. It didn’t taste like instant noodles, but like someone had cooked it.”
Scroll down to see their verdicts on the top 8 sour and spicy noodles that are popular in Singapore.