Good Time & Bad Time
I had Tom Yum Mama Noodle Soup for lunch today, instant ramen noodles made from the Mama brand with Tom Yum Goong favor. I took a short break from working in the garden and went into my kitchen, but there weren’t any leftovers and I had a craving for the flavors of Tom Yum Mama Noodle Soup. It is common—but not often—that I reach into my kitchen cabinet where a few emergency instant noodles are hidden. It is an honest confession that I take pleasure in eating instant Tom Yum Mama noodles once in a while. I am not alone. One of the photos below was taken a few years back when I visited my friend Varuunee one hot and humid afternoon at her food stand in Bangtao Village, Phuket, Thailand.
Varunee prepared our lunch –Tom Yum Mama with egg and Chinese celery – for her neighbor and me. The neighbor happened to be the head chef for the Thai restaurant at a famous resort hotel nearby. There we were, two cooks, leisurely slurping the simplest dish prepared from instant noodles – just for good time’s sake!
Above is my favorite, Mama Shrimp Tom Yum flavor
In Fall 2011, I was in line at the cashier’s stand in an Asian market in Seattle when I saw a food stamp shopper demand to know when Thai instant noodles would be back on the shelves. The cashier simply could not give a precise answer due to the huge domestic demand in Thailand and the shortage due to the extreme flood crisis during the late monsoon season that September. The flood effected many families; some were living on instant noodles and other foods in their emergency food supply. Instant noodles can be kept for extended periods and by adding just a small amount of warm water they can become a good emergency food source. In fact, a hike in sales of instant noodles can be use as an index for indicating bad economic events in Thailand. In general the sale of the noodles is high at the end of the month, during economic crises, and when there are extreme weather conditions—times when when every Baht (Thai currency)- ทุกบาททุกสตางค์ – is stretched -เวลาที่ยากลำบาก
May 26th, 2013
Photo above is a courtesy of Niruj Kamala News
Lately my family and friends have mentioned a lot on Facebook about power shortages and heavy rain in Phuket, Thailand. Monsoons start at the beginning of May and end around September, though the weather varies from year to year as does when a storm will hit. The posts on Facebook reminded me of the story that I want to share with you from the year 2011. That year, Thailand was faced with some of the most extreme floods in its history. Perhaps you still remember the news of the difficulties people experienced who lived in the flooded areas in central Thailand. For some people it was more than two months before the water receded.
Instant noodles can be a fun dish that is quick and easy for students, or for the many Thais who experience a random craving for a familiar taste during good times or bad!
It tastes like tom yom soup. Ingredients: wheat flour, palm oil, salt, sugar and CMC, soup base ingredients, kaffir lime leaf powder, lemongrass powder, sugar, MSG, chili paste, chili powder, palm oil and artificial shrimp flavor. Net Weight 2.10 oz. Product of Thailand.
I don’t recommend instant noodles as an everyday food for anyone. I am sharing them with you today because they tell a story about how what we eat is affected by economics, politics and environment factors. Instant noodles often serve as temporary foods to alleviate hunger. For many people, sometimes hunger is real. There are proteins that you can add to your noodle soup such as ground pork or beef, shrimp, and egg. For vegetables, the options are choy sum, bok choy and bean sprouts. For the herbs, Kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass, cilantro and chives.
Tom Yum Mama Noodles
Tom Yum Bamee Mama
Cooking Time: 7 minutes1 package Mama Noodles Tom Yum Flavor 1 egg 1 rib or stalk Chinese celery or celery heart, chopped (use both leaf and stalk) 1/2 lime, cut into two wedges 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, optional
While bringing 1 cup water to a boil in small pot on high heat, open a package of instant noodles and the seasoning packet, and chop the celery. When the water comes to a boil, add seasonings and stir, then add the noodles. Cover, and let cook for 2 minutes. Stir the noodles to loosen them and make a well in the center. Crack the egg and drop it into the center. Cover and let the egg poach in the liquid for 1 minute. Stir in half of the celery and the juice from one lime wedge. Garnish with remaining celery, lime wedge, and chili power if desired. Enjoy immediately.© 2013 Pranee Khruasanit Halvorsen I Love Thai cooking Pranee teaches Thai Cooking classes in the Seattle area. Her website is: I Love Thai cooking.com
- Review: the best and worst of instant noodles (flyingthecoop.net)
- Instant noodle sales top 100 billion units a year (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Bangkok,Thailand (travellingchefs.wordpress.com)
- The Ramen Rater’s Top 10 Instant Noodles of 2013 (seriouseats.com)