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weird cup noodles
Photograph: Jenny Leung

Quirky cup noodles flavours you should try in Hong Kong

Indulge in a little weirdness

Written by
Time Out Hong Kong
,
Ann Chiu
&
Jenny Leung
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Whether you're up late bingeing on the latest Netflix series, stocking up the pantry at home, or simply have a bank balance that's looking a bit depressing, cup noodles are the fastest and most convenient way to cure your hunger pangs. But with so many choices available, things can get a bit overwhelming. That's why we've scoured Hong Kong’s different convenience stores and supermarkets for some of the weirdest and quirkiest flavours to try. Wave goodbye to the boring seafood and chicken flavours and say hello to these.

RECOMMENDED: Feeling guilty from all the noodle slurping? You can always try out these killer workouts to do at home.

Thick imitation shark fin soup noodles
Photograph: Jenny Leung

Thick imitation shark fin soup noodles

If you’re expecting that thick, flavourful imitation shark fin soup you get from local street food stalls, I'm sorry to say that you will be disappointed.

Soup wise, it does have a slightly thicker consistency than most cup noodles but the flavours just didn't quite hit the spot. Though it could just be that my tastebuds have been spoiled by the rich flavours we usually get from this street-side snack here in Hong Kong. Whatever it lacked in flavour, however, was made up for it with the number of dried ingredients inside like goji berries, wood ear mushroom, egg, and lettuce (not the usual flaky, flimsy kind either). There were also a few small, broken strands of rice noodle-like strings of which I can only assume was the imitation shark fin. Overall, it's an interesting take on cup noodles but it has nothing on the real deal. 

Time Out rating: β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†β˜†

Afuri yuzu salt instant ramen
Photograph: Jenny Leung

Afuri yuzu salt instant ramen

If you love Japanese food, then anything yuzu flavoured shouldn't come as a surprise to you. And if you're unfamiliar, now is the best time to try it. 

Salty, yet tangy, with just a tinge of sweetness, The Afuri yuzu salt instant ramen sits among the top five on my list. I slurped it all up in no time, including the soup. The only downside, however, was that there were not many, if any, dried ingredients, and the portion is rather small. But then again, you can always make that up with some cheap and easy ramen upgrade hacks.

Time Out rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†

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Lobster bisque noodles / Clam chowder noodles
Photograph: Jenny Leung

Lobster bisque noodles / Clam chowder noodles

Nissin's lobster bisque and clam chowder cup noodles are nothing new, but the secret to making it taste great all depends on how much water is added. If you fill it right up to the line indicated, it's a big sloppy, watery mess. But if you add just enough to cover the noodles, it tastes exactly as promised. Of course, if you're demanding Michelin-starred restaurant quality, there's still a long way to go. All in all, definitely worth a try.

Lobster bisque rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†
Clam chowder rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†

Milk seafood cup noodles
Photograph: Jenny Leung

Milk seafood cup noodles

I know it sounds stomach-churning, but trust me, it's quite the opposite. Milk-based noodles are not actually as uncommon as you think, especially if you've been to Japan enough times. If you're still not convinced, think of it as like your standard seafood cup noodles, but a lot smoother and creamier, with the usual seafood flavour tamed down significantly by the milk (or whatever they actually use to replicate milk). I can keep telling you how good this tastes, but it's best to try it yourself. 

Time Out rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜† 

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Huadiao chicken (chicken wine) noodles

Huadiao chicken (chicken wine) noodles

Hugely popular in Taiwan, this huadiao chicken cup noodle is packed with ingredients. Each bowl comes with freeze-dried chicken, seasoning powder and a chicken wine packet. The recommended cooking method is to soak the noodles in hot water for five minutes before adding the chicken and seasoning after. Give it a stir and drain out the water. Throw in your chicken wine last then voilá, you have yourself a delicious bowl of noodles. The noods are nice and chewy while the soup base is rich without being too overpowering and has a pleasant hint of alcohol. The chicken bits are also surprisingly decent, making it a solid chicken noodle dish as a whole.

Time Out ratingοΌšβ˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†

Tomato pizza big cup noodles

Tomato pizza big cup noodles

Ever feel torn between getting cup noodles or ordering pizza for a late-night snack? Well, these cup noodles should solve the dilemma. The tomato pizza flavour is packed with cheddar cheese, tomatoes, potatoes and cauliflower. The tomato soup base is pretty rich, and you can totally slurp the soup on its own. Although the cheese is a bit bland and the noodles a bit gooey, the hearty portion earns this cup a few points. You’ll definitely be full after one serving. 

Time Out rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†

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Wasabi mayo stir noodles

Wasabi mayo stir noodles

If you're not a fan of soup, why not try this wasabi mayo stir noodle from popular Korean brand Samyang? All you need to do is to cook it in hot water for a couple of minutes, drain it and throw in the special soy sauce, wasabi and mayonnaise, then mix it all together. There's around one tablespoon worth of wasabi, meaning the noodles aren't too spicy, but there's way too much mayo and it lacked a few ingredients to go with the sauce. The entire cup ends up a bit bland. Try it then chuck it. 

Time Out rating: β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†β˜†

Matsutake mushroom with white cream cup noodles

Matsutake mushroom with white cream cup noodles

The moment you add water to this, you’ll immediately smell the cheesy aroma thanks to its three kinds of cheese: parmesan, cheddar and Emmental. But once you start slurping, it's just another creamy soup base. In terms of the matsutake mushroom, it’s a bit disappointing as there were only a couple of pieces. They were also both tough in texture with barely any flavour. The noodles are better, being thick and soup absorbant, basically saving the entire thing. 

Time Out rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†

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Butter and numbing spicy flavour instant hotpot

Butter and numbing spicy flavour instant hotpot

Okay, so this one isn’t exactly a cup noodle. It’s instant hotpot, but the intention is the same. And we Hongkongers love a good hotpot. Eliminating all the fuss of needing to prepare fresh ingredients and even having a pot, 9515 Hong Kong’s butter and numbing spicy instant hotpot comes with sausages, potato noodles, vegetables, hotpot seasoning and sesame oil. Dump all the ingredients into the white box and add some cold water to the black box underneath, which has a built-in heating pack for it to start cooking (don’t ask us how the science works). Keep the lid on for about 15 minutes and you’ll be ready to go. While the soup won’t be your usual boiling hot temperature, it’s still got that great numbing, spicy aroma without burning your taste buds. The lotus roots and fungus are delightfully crunchy, but the potato noodles are too tough and the sausages are a bit of a letdown. On the whole, if you’re craving hotpot without a whole party to go with, it’s still worth a try, even if for novelty value alone.

Time Out rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†

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