Malaysia has been said (and self-proclaimed) to be a gourmet paradise by many a tourist, culinary expert and gourmand. It is therefore ironic that one particular dish stands out as a Malaysian trademark due to its ubiquity and omnipresence: Maggi Mee.
Maggi noodles are a brand of instant noodles manufactured by the brand Nestle. However, given the pervasiveness of the Maggi brand, all kinds of instant noodles are known colloquially and collectively as Maggi Mee.
Much like Badminton is the unofficial national sport of Malaysia, it can be said that Maggi Mee is a national dish and anyone who is Malaysian has consumed Maggi Mee at least once in their lifetime. No single social stratum in Malaysia can be indifferent to the temptation of Maggi Mee. Given its instantaneous nature and convenience, Malaysians have come to accept Maggi Mee as a staple form of nourishment on account of its high Monosodium glutamate levels.
Given the creative nature of Malaysian food proprietors in Malaysia, Maggi Mee has evolved and now comes in several culinary forms. Among the most popular would be the Maggi Goreng; fried Maggi noodles which adorn the table of mamak stalls across the country. Some people apply their own form of inventiveness and preference by half-cooking their Maggi within half the recommended time. These experiments are brought on by acquired tastes and peculiar idiosyncrasies, to be sure. Such is the affinity Malaysian people have for Maggi Mee that they would pay money to enjoy this dish at eateries despite the ease of which they could prepare one at home themselves.
Maggi Mee is one of the few items that remain impervious and ever-present throughout economic uncertainty and cultural confluence. And if you ever run out of ideas for gifts for your Malaysian friends overseas, present them with a box of Maggi (must be made in Malaysia). They will be overjoyed and reminisce about their struggling days as a a student, surviving on a pack of Maggi a day and their attempts to beat the luggage weight limit at the airport because of the Maggi supply they attempted to lug back overseas.
If the Malaysian person you purvey the box of Maggi with is still indeed a student, you will be seen as a Messiah. This is because Maggi Mee takes on considerably more value (sale, barter trade with fellow students) on foreign soil. This act of grace can then be used to leverage favours for future benefit, such as asking them to transport items back to Malaysia for you during their semester break.