February 15, 2009

#56 Maggi Mee

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.

23 comments:

kaioucat said...

Haha...I love this post. My favourite so far!

Your blog reminds me what it is like to be a Malaysian - like Lat, only in written form. Something I need being away from home.

Thanks and keep it up!

-mishy- said...

Somehow you manage to encapsulate all of our culture into words for me to reminisce on, and enjoy. As another student overseas, I can definitely agree with the value that Maggi Mee has overseas. [maybe Malaysia should use Maggi Mee as a form of currency? Certainly working better than the RM, especially overseas]

synical said...

Maggi as alternative currency... heh. About time it came up here.

I got an idea for a blog post for you, I don't have the inspiration to flesh it out, haha.

Even Milo made overseas doesn't taste the same as Malaysian-made Milo man.

Lisalicious said...

ahh maggie mee

some how I never fail to eat it once a week

Irenelim said...

I love maggie mee... must have a few packs at home for the busy days. :)

B.H. said...

Kaioucat,

Thank you, the comparison with regard to cultural resonance is very flattering.

Mishy,

Your words have warmed my heart as much as mine did yours. I'm not sure about the currency exchange but it sounds like a good idea for a TV commercial.

Synical,

Valid idea. Try drafting a piece. I'd be glad to post it. Unfortunately I'm not much of a Milo connoisseur but I notice that you can never get self-made Milo to taste nearly as good as the boxed ones.

Lisa and Irene,

Really? I'm on a Maggi sabbatical. I'm not a fan, only in times of desperation.

Btw, why do you guys spell it as MaggiE and not Maggi? Correct me if I'm wrong here.

B.H.

Ara said...

my favourite - TOMYAM! *slurp!*

s kim said...

LOL at synical's comment.
your right! haha i personally feel that malaysian milo is waay better.

kaioucat said...

Have you guys tasted Milo from Singaporean coffee shops? People here seem so stingy with the amount of Milo powder they use!!!

Back to Maggi...it is spelt Maggi, not Maggie.

Aidan said...

Assam Laksa is the best! With very little water. =D

Now I think you should also blog about yao cha kwai and how we eat it with coffee. Mmmm. Okay la, yao cha kwai isn't Malaysian.

B.H. said...

Ara,

Noted.

Kim,

Thanks, I see the Milo idea is slowly gaining credence.

Kaioucat,

Thank you for validating the spelling. As for the Singaporean observation, well done!

Aidan,

1. Asam Laksa, one S. With that dehydrated form of preparation, no wonder your skin is dry.

2. Although you preempted your statement, I must say that method of eating yau char kwai is obviously the result of personality foibles of which you have many.

B.H.

Anonymous said...

maggi mee can easily bought in sheffield though! even easier in chinatowns across uk. so maybe need to think of sth else to present to your malaysian friends overseas,esp in uk.

Aidan said...

Some people spell it as Assam ok! Pft. And eating yao char kwai with coffee isn't weird.

Try it. You'll like it.

Philip Tan said...

I thought Indo-mie is much more a malaysian favorite nowadays?

Eurasian Sensation said...

Good post. I have always wondered why the immensely food-proud nation loves Maggi Mee so much.

In the West, any restaurant which sold a dish like maggi mee goreng which contained instant noodles would immediately be written off as low-class.

But I guess quite rightly, Malaysians only care if it tastes good or not.

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