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Sedaap Chicken Soto Instant Ramen

Bought a 40 pack carton of this stuff last week. We found a shop with both Indomie's Instant Fried Noodles and Sedaap's Chicken Soto Instant Ramen going for AUS$7.50 a carton. The expiry date says the noodles will expire in November 2007, but instant ramen is chemically indestructible, like jerky. I did ask if Indomie's Chicken Soto flavour (one of my favouritest ramen flavours ever) was on offer too, but the Shop Aunty said it wasn't, and further noted that Indonesian customers liked to ask for this brand instead. I tried a pack last night.

Sedaap (pack weight 75g) gives less noodles than Indomie (pack weight 85g). Sedaap's noodle blocks are noticeably thinner than Indomie's. Each pack comes with a packet of soup stock, chilli powder, fried shallot oil and the second difference between the two manufacturers -- a mysterious packet of something called "Delicious Powder". After preparing the noodles, I infused the cooking water with the soup stock. I was immediately struck by a strong smell of cekur (Chinese ginger leaf) and cumin, which was really nice. Cekur has a scent somewhere between young fresh ginger and cloves. I found the overall perfume refreshing. I threw in the fried shallot oil and Delicious Powder next. The latter turned out to be an extra helping of dry fried shallots and some kind of white crack that smelled like onion powder (perhaps it was really the fried shallots that had long since crumbled to dust). I added the chilli powder last, which came out in one surge of bright red and made me seriously reconsider the wisdom of adding all the chilli all at once. Smelled good though.

On first taste, the cekur is very prominent. The flavour of cekur is exactly like how it smells. There's a nice hint of kaffir lime leaf in the aftertaste. After a few more sips, the cumin becomes definitely present, along with the flavours of white pepper and onions. The chilli powder turned out to be pleasantly mid-range red peppery (similar to Indomie's chilli powder), adding a subtle heat to the proceedings not unlike sambal (chilli paste), whose role it clearly has taken over here. A note about the chilli powder though: while it does start out quite mildly, it does get incrementally more firey the lower down the soup bowl one gets. The noodles were nice and springy, with a good bite.

Overall, the flavour and noodle quality wasn't too different from Indomie's Chicken Soto at all. The addition of extra fried shallots was a pleasant surprise, but not really life-changing. I guess if I were still a university student, far from a home without a 1kg pack of fried shallots lurking in my fridge... but I had one of those even when I was a university student... Extra onion powder, which in hindsight probably also had extra white pepper in the mix, was also a nice touch, but again, also a bit of a gimmick. The smaller amount of noodles wasn't much of a minus in the end either. I was still nicely snacked after finishing my bowl. I guess the key deal with Sedaap is the extra 10 packets of noodles you get per carton over Indomie (standard carton has 30 packets). At AUS$7.50 for 40 packs of noodles, this came out even cheaper than what I'd cough up for the same amount of noodles by Myojo or Maggi back in Malaysia.

Economy ninja food rules!