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Mi Goreng - A comparison.

01 November 200908:41AMlife

For Hallowe'en, we went to a Han's, an emporium well-known for it's vast array of pan-Asian delights. And I spotted something on the menu, that sacred, numbered beast, which should be familiar to most of you...

Number Forty-Four: Mi Goreng

What self respecting pan-Asian cuisine enthusiast would I be if I were not to take up this challenge? My colleagues, I humbly present what I believe to be the Internet's first Mi Goreng Side-By-Side-Albeit-24-Hours-or-so-apart Comparison?

The Shop Stuff.

A veritable ocean of noodles.

I must admit, I was rather apprehensive. Certain of my table-fellows had pointed out that Mi Goreng was not what we have grown to expect from our delicious freeze-dried supermarket packs, and that the real stuff was, in his terminology, 'crap'. With this in mind I began to eat.

The first thing I noticed was how similar the flavours actually were. Where chicken noodles taste nothing like chicken, and beef anything tastes very little like beef, Real Mi Goreng does actually taste vaguely like the stuff from the packet (which I have heard claimed is itself the real stuff, although I'm inclined to disagree). After that inital similarity, the flavours began to emerge.

It tasted very much like a typical pan-Asian dish. Savoury overall, but with a hint of sweetness. Some of that hoi-sin sauce stuff was probably in it. The noodles were thick and moist (much like your mum last night) and there were a lot of them. There were bits in the stuff, bits of generic vegetables and generic meat, and the obligatory solitary prawn. It also had a slice of tomato cooked in it, which seems more like something you'd put in Tom Yum, but there you go. The chilli factor was just right- I could've handled much stronger but it was just right so as to complement the taste rather than being crazy- overpowering. The fact that there was enough sauce was also nice- nothing's worse than a dry, or over-soggy noodle.

All in all, a solid dish. I give it 7/10.

The Packet Stuff.

Surrounded by the trappings of its creation.

Ah, packet stuff. That refuge after a long night and an empty stomach. Notoriously easy to prepare, I whipped myself up some just before writing this. In order to get the best possible dish, I followed the instructions on the packet to the letter.

Right from the start this is clearly the inferior dish. It lacks thick noodles, stuffy bits, and a serious amount of volume- it's really just a snack. Also, I don't know whether it's just me, but there's never enough of the topping things in the little sachet things to cover all the noodles- you always get that little bit at the edge which no amount of stirring can cover with flavourings.

Tasting it, the flavours were about right (I'm sure you all know what they are by now). The real one was sweeter, I think, or maybe just less salty (there's a difference). It lacked texture which in the real deal was provided by bits, and also any meat of any description- not that there was all that much of that in the other one anyway. It was good, but whereas the other one left my mouth sweet-and-sour/soy-sauce tasting, the packet one left my mouth tasting like the glutinous crap you mix with water to kill weeds on the driveway. That would be the MSG. The one thing that was absolutely perfectly exactly the same, however, was the chilli. It was literally the exact same reading on my spiceometer, so kudos to the packet people for that.

For convenience, though, this one wins out. 79c vs. $9.95, and 3 minutes vs. 15.

As a meal I'd give it 3.5/10

As a snack, it's more like 6 or 7.

Conclusion

For convenience and price, the packet noodles are a definite winner. However, if you put the two in front of me, there's not even the slightest question about which one I'd eat.

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