If you have not heard about this popular brand of instant sour and spicy noodles, you probably have been staying aloof from social media.
Hai Chi Jia Suan La Fen (嗨吃家酸辣粉) has been dominating Shopee‘s Food and Beverage page during Circuit Breaker period. As foodie and spice lover myself, I just had to try these instant noodles to see if it was worth the hype.
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Where to buy them?
I did what every curious foodie would do. Head over to Shopee, bought the cheapest Hai Chi Jia Suan La Fen I could find and waited impatiently at home for the delivery man to pop by.
Most of the sellers on Shopee sells Hai Chi Jia Suan La Fen by the carton. There are 6 tubs of noodles in it and each works out to be around $2.40. This is way cheaper than buying them at NTUC or Sheng Shiong where they are retailed at $3.25 per tub. Besides, I planned to give away the noodles to my family and friends to try them too. So, I went ahead to purchase a carton of 6.
What is Suan La Fen?
Suan La Fen is a popular street food in China. It’s actually sweet potato glass noodles steeped in a spicy soup based layered with sour and umami flavours. It can taste rather numbing due to the added Sichuan peppercorn. So if you love Mala, you will enjoy eating this dish.
Unboxing the noodle tub!
All the ingredients are packed neatly in a paper tub. There are a total of 6 condiments along with a packet of sweet potato glass noodles and a disposable plastic fork.
Similar to cup noodles, all you will need is just some boiling hot water. Empty out all the ingredients into the tub, pour some hot water it and then let it cook for about 5 minutes.
These dried vegetables condiments have added white sesame seeds which adds a lovely crunch and texture to the noodles. Watch how they expand in hot water!
This packet of chili paste looks potent because it contains the Sichuan peppercorns and you may spot a few of the peppercorns bits in the sachet.
If you are quite health-conscious, you can actually skip the chili oil. I tried the noodles without adding the chili oil and they still tasted great. Besides, the chili paste itself already has some chili oil in it. The oil is added to help prevent the noodles from clumping together.
The vinegar will give that sourish kick which also helps to slightly mellow out the numbing spicy sensation of the chili paste.
This is instant noodles after all so it comes with a packet of seasoning powder for the soup.
What’s sour and spicy noodles without some peanuts? Adding peanuts to the noodles elevates the whole noodle eating experience. I just wish they had provided more peanuts instead.
Sweet Potato Glass Vermicelli
The only healthy and natural ingredient in this tub of instant noodle is probably the glass noodles itself. 1 serving size (about 20 grams) of the noodles itself contains only 70 calories.
It is made out of sweet potato and just water, without added additives or oil. They are slippery and has a chewier texture as compared to yellow or white noodles. It is also gluten-free!
How to cook it like a pro
After you emptied out all the condiments, pour in the boiling water. I prefer my noodles to be a little on dry side, so I added just enough hot water for the noodles to be submerged in the water. If you like it soupy, you can add even more water.
Hold up and wait up
It doesn’t take very long for the noodles to be cooked. In fact, it should be ready by 3 minutes but I would usually leave the noodles to be cooked a little longer so that they will soak up all the flavours in the soup.
Besides, these glass noodles don’t really turn soggy so quickly so it doesn’t hurt to leave them cooking for a slightly longer period of time.
Once it’s turn, eat it while it’s hot!
The vermicelli expanded and had soaked up all the chili paste and seasoning. Look at how beautifully the noodles are coated!
The noodles are indeed very chewy and I really enjoy the spicy kick to it. It’s very enticing and quite addictive. I get it now. It’s delicious and definitely worth the hype. I would say that they tasted somewhat like Mala noodles except that it is ‘healthier’ in the sense that the glass noodles are not that carb-heavy.
But on the other side of the camp, I have friends who did not like the noodles at all. My parents said that they tasted mediocre. The mixed reviews really left me feeling quite puzzled though.
So I guess you just have to try it and see it for yourself!