Many food aficionados might scoff at the idea that a Thai person would resort to eating instant noodles! Instant ramen noodles like “Top Ramen” are nothing more that mass-market slop for ignorant Americans. Surely, the best you can hope for are those unidentifiable salt-bombs labelled chicken, beef, or vegetable.
Well, not only can you get instant noodles with Thai flavors (although it is still a sodium bomb), the Thai people eat loads of the stuff. Entire aisles at 7-elevens and grocery stores are taken up by Thailand’s leading brand of instant Thai-style noodles, Mama noodles. They’re even sometimes sold at street stalls or in restaurants, and they come in many flavors. Instant noodles began flooding the Thai market in the early eighties, and MaMa brand, produced by Thai President Foods Co. Ltd, with a seemingly endless variety of flavors, became an addiction. At one point, it was rumored that they contained marijuana as an ‘active ingredient.’
We could talk about the changing food climate and centuries of food culture being shoved aside by mass-market convenience, but the fact is, MaMa instant noodles are comfort food with a capital C, bound to take the place of the leading brands for any college student who reads this article and purchases some.
MaMa noodles are the best-known brand of instant noodles in Thailand, and they are just as much a part of the culture there as Top Ramen noodles are here. Mama in fact, is a generic term for any instant noodle in Thailand. Someone should tell the company they are in danger of genericide (depending on trademark laws, of course)!
MAMA Noodles Flavors
President Foods makes a number of products. Domestic products include MaMa Instant Noodles, MaMa Ramen Oriental Flavor Noodles, (Sen) Ruski Instant Noodles, Mendake Japanese Style Noodle, Bissin Biscuits, Cookies, and Crackers; and Homey Crackers and Cookies. Curiously, for export, they offer a line of instant noodles called Bamee, and several other lines such as Thai Chef, and Thai Chu Si.
Is it plain old Mama instant noodles, with its myriad flavors, you want to look for. There is beef, chicken, spicy chicken, and pork. Among these, try the pork but have some water or other beverage handy. You’ll be thirsty!
Then there is Mama Spicy Pork Noo Nam Tok (recommended), tom yum flavor noodles, green curry flavor, , shrimp flavor Tom Yum (pictured above), stir fried noodle (Mi Goreng), duck flavor, hot & spicy, Shitake, and several others. Be aware that certain flavors come in both artificial flavor and regular. There are also Mama Noodle bowls and soup bowls.