In Thailand, a country famous for its flavourful, spicy cuisine and street food, instant noodles may seem an unlikely culinary hit.
But for teenagers like Ratchadaporn Krongngam, a store that stocks more than 70 types of instant noodles from across Asia and allows you to cook and eat them immediately is an experience worth savouring.
Since Good Noodle opened in a Bangkok mall last October, it has seen thousands of young customers browse its bright orange shelves for noodles from Indonesia, South Korea, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
“This is my third visit. I love it here because I wanted to try out new and different kinds of instant noodles as I want to know how all of them taste,” said Ratchadaporn, 18.
Customers often dine in the store, where they can cook their own three-minute meal, which costs between 6 and 250 baht (US$0.18 – $7.46).
Customer Sirayakorn Charoenthat, 18, said the prices were reasonable for students compared to eating at restaurants.
Instant noodles are hugely popular in several Asian countries because of their taste, versatility, convenience, and low price. But health experts warn against consuming too much of the highly processed food because it lacks key nutrients.
The store’s managing director Ungkool Wongkolthoot said he scoured Bangkok’s convenience stores and supermarkets during the pandemic for all the different types of instant noodles he could find, which turned out to be more than 350.
With this, he saw a business opportunity.
“I wanted to give the customers an instant experience with the noodles. Not just buying the noodles from other convenience stores or supermarkets, then forgetting about them at home,” he said.
- Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor and Alexandra Hudson, of Reuters.