FoodOctober 19, 2017

The Spinoff reviews New Zealand #45: Mi goreng potato chips


We review the entire country and culture of New Zealand, one thing at a time. Today, Madeleine Chapman’s life is changed by mi goreng potato chips.

Before you start reading, please think back to your strongest and fondest mi goreng memory. If you don’t have one, get one. If you don’t want one, leave.

In 2009 I ate a packet of mi goreng instant noodles for lunch every day for a full school term. There was a classroom above the basketball gym at St Mary’s College in Wellington with a sink and boiling water dispenser. Every day a group of us would head down to the classroom to prepare our noodles. A couple of girls had those fancy glass dishes to make theirs in but most of us just used ice cream containers that unsurprisingly crinkled and became misshapen with the heat of the steam once you put the lid on. Yes, this means I almost definitely ingested unhealthy amounts of melted plastic on top of the unhealthy amounts of instant noodles. But it was either that or risk ruining one of Mum’s Tupperware containers. And if I ruined a Tupperware container, I wouldn’t be here today.

Needless to say, mi goreng noodles hold a special place in my heart. Everyone has their own way of making mi goreng. Mine is the correct way but I accept that everyone has their own unique style.

My own original recipe is blue packet mi goreng and BBQ flavoured Doritos in the whitest bun you can find.  It’s like the chicken salad sandwich at The Fed except not at all and therefore way better.

But now something has come into my life and spiced it up more than when I used to put two chilli sauce packets on my noodles because one of my friends was weak and couldn’t handle any.

It’s mi goreng-flavoured potato chips.

Call me a powder sachet because I am thoroughly shook. I was tipped off by my workmate and fellow instant noodle consumer, Henry Oliver, that mi goreng chips were available at Lim Supermarket in Mt Albert. Being a naturally blasé person, I ‘forgot’ to get off the train at my stop and by some coincidence found myself in Mt Albert, right by Lim Supermarket. Would’ve been rude not to check it out.

I went in empty handed and emerged half an hour later with a basket full of Japanese chocolate snacks and three packets of Chitato, the mi goreng potato chips. How long have they been in the same city as me without us ever meeting? Are there more flavours? How do I know they won’t disappear on me? I stressed over these existential questions before coming to the entirely original conclusion that it’s better to have loved and lost then to never have loved at all.

As for the taste? Look, they taste like red packet mi goreng noodles. Which means they shouldn’t be anything to shout about and yet when I offered them around the office today, literally everyone’s reaction was to shout about them. Because while the flavour itself isn’t groundbreaking, the nostalgia it induces is intoxicating. Mi goreng chips are the Stranger Things of food, transporting you back to a time when you were younger, poorer, and more accepting of carbs.

Mi goreng is a state of mind and mi goreng chips get you there without the need to eat a whole meal and feel bloated afterwards. It’s everything good about mi goreng (the taste, the feeling of youth) without the one bad thing (the fact that mi goreng noodles are very bad for you so please don’t eat them every day like I did).

Verdict: The closest a uni student could ever get to gourmet cuisine.

Good or bad: Neither, it’s mi goreng.

Image: Archi Banal

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The Spinoff has covered the news that matters in 2021, most recently the delta outbreak. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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