Hot on the heels of Maggi’s Extra Spicy Curry instant noodles is another spicy release: Maggi Senses Laksa.
And it’s endorsed by none other than celebrity street food critic, KF Seetoh, who calls it “well-balanced”.
I was curious to find out if his endorsement could actually change the way I feel about instant noodles. You see, I’m a freak. I’ve never been partial to Momofuku Ando’s greatest contribution to mankind. Alvin, who has a more sociable palate than me, loves trying different brands and flavours of the stuff, but he’s never managed to convert me.
Hanging heavy on everyone’s minds at the press launch of Maggi Senses Laksa was of course the question: How much did Maggi pay Seetoh to put his face to the product? And why would he?
Everyone invited to Cookyn Inc that day was too polite to ask the first question, but Seetoh did answer the second one without much prompting, during his live demonstration of how one should cook a packet of Maggi Senses Laksa.
“When I tasted the laksa, I felt that it was well-balanced. Nothing jumps out at you. Nowadays, many of the laksas out there have too much haebi (dried shrimp). But this one doesn’t. It doesn’t have too much lemongrass. There was just the right amount of everything,” he said as he stirred the noodles cooking on the stove.
The wet paste inside the packet, which contains stir-fried galangal, ginger, garlic and shallots, takes a lot of skill and expertise to concoct and package, he raved. The Maggi people also explained that several rounds of consumer taste tests were used to ascertain the most preferred taste people wanted: “Not too lemak (Malay for ‘fattening’)” was the common consensus. And just like all Maggi products, it doesn’t contain any added MSG. By that, it means that artificial monosodium glutamate has not been added to the product. Some food items, such as shrimp and tomatoes, naturally contain MSG as they come, so Maggi cannot claim that there is “NO MSG” whatsoever in them.
Seetoh has some great tips about making the best of your 4 x 141g for $7.95 instant noodles:
1) Follow the instructions on the packet.
2) Sitr in your seasoning, followed by the noodle cake into the pot when you see little bubbles form. Loosen the noodles with a pair of chopsticks.
3) Wait until the 4th minute before adding the coconut powder, and cook for one more minute before serving.
4) You could add prawns, fishcake, beansprouts, and even flower crab to the laksa for extra oomph. (Read: The laksa as it is, is topless unless you add ingredients of your own to it. I believe that the instant laksa of other brands are also topless.)
The good folks at Maggi brought their development chef Kam Chee Wai down from the labs at Nestle R&D to cook us a delicious five-course lunch showcasing Maggi products.
We got to taste the laksa too, of course, and Alvin slurped up every bit. The noodle cake is 100g in weight, larger than the usual 60g, and the noodles are also thicker and springier. Because the noodle cake is larger, one packet actually can be split into two servings. Maggi revealed that these are wheat noodles with seasoning in the mix. Myself, however, being very sensitive to spicy food, found the soup a little too piquant for my liking.
I still like my laksa not instant, but I’m grateful to Maggi for giving me something I can whip up within five minutes at midnight. Wish there was some dehydrated fishcake, or even better – crabmeat – inside the packet, though!
A summary of the product:
Name – Maggi Senses Laksa
What – Instant laksa without added msg
Price – $7.95 for 4 x 141g packets
Available at – all good supermarkets