Hong Kong Style Instant Noodles
Because I keep a food blog, I think many may assume that I must eat well at home. The truth is that I don’t cook every day, and I eat my fair share of fast food and instant noodles. And I eat instant noodles not just for the convenience, I love the MSG flavourings and the texture of the noodles =P I am also quite fussy about how my instant noodles are done – they have to be firm and the soup is usually cooked separately because I don’t like the waxy water after cooking the noodles.
One of my fave brands of instant noodles is Nissin‘s chu qian yi ding (出前一丁). The noodles are ‘q’ (Chinese equivalent to al dente?) to the bite and the sesame oil flavouring is so aromatic. It is used by Hong Kong tea cafes (cha can ting 茶餐订) for their “Gong Zai” noodles (公仔面, gong zai mian). When I was in Hong Kong, I looked forward to waking up in the morning to enjoy this simple dish to start my day. Gong zai mian is cooked with chu qian yi ding noodles, and the soup is usually replaced with the cafe’s own soup broth (there are dry versions as well), with a variety of toppings to choose from.
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I asked around and was told that “gong zai” means “doll” or “puppet” in Cantonese. So I guessed the noodles were named this way due to the cute boy mascot on the packaging?
“This type of noodle is called “gong zai” noodle not because of the cute character on the bag. In fact, there’s another brand of instant noodles in HK that was more popular before Nissin arrived, and that brand is called Doll Brand (Gong Zai Meen in Canto). So that’s why people still refer to instant ramen as “gong zai” noodles, even though Nissin is much more popular than Doll Brand these days. (I’ve tasted Doll Brand before and it’s not bad as well.)“
At home, I whip up my simple version of gong zai mian by adding a sunny side up egg and some veggies, along with some ham or luncheon meat slices. Since I didn’t have the chance to travel to Hong Kong for the past few years despite missing the place so terribly, this will be a cheap way for me to reminisce about Hong Kong until I have a chance to go again, hehe
If you have other toppings ideas for gong zai mian, please share them with me in the comments section :)
- 1 packet of Nissin chu qian yi ding instant noodles 出前一丁 (I use original flavour)
- your own soup broth (or use the packet seasonings) plus the sesame oil sachet
- 1 to 2 ham slices or 3 slices luncheon meat
- 1 sunny side up egg*
- some oil
- 1 small bunch of baby bok choy 小白菜 (you can substitute with other veggies such as lettuce or peas)
- chopped spring onions (garnishing)
* Directions for making sunny side up egg
Crack the egg without breaking the yolk into a small bowl. Heat up a wok and grease it with oil. To cook perfect sunny side egg, carefully pour the egg into the wok, and try to position the yolk in the middle surrounded by the egg white. After about two minutes, loosen the edges a bit, and let the egg cook for a few more minutes till the yolk is about half cooked. Carefully remove from pan and set aside.
1. Cook baby bok choy in boiling water for about 30 seconds. Set aside.
2. Cook the instant noodles in boiling water. Drain and set aside. Discard water.
3. Pan fry the luncheon meat slices for a few minutes each side till crisp. If using ham slices, just heat up both sides for a while. Set aside.
4. To assemble, add your own soup broth plus the sesame oil seasoning. What I did was I added the packet seasonings on top of the noodles, pour boiling water over and stir to mix it in. Then I added the sesame oil, and assembled the meat, veggies and sunny egg on top. Garnish with some spring onions.
Psst … if you have leftover luncheon meat, try my fried rice with luncheon meat recipe.