Remember when S&S saimin was introduce on Checkers & Pogo as saimin you could make at home? Before that, saimin was available only at the mom & pop saimin stands or at the drive ins and restaurants. But now, you could make instant saimin at home!
We begged our mom to get some which she did. But she mistakenly bought the wrong one. It wasn’t the “fully cooked” S&S saimin so it wasn’t very instant. She had to cook the noodles first.
But it was worth the wait!
Then we were introduced to dry saimin. I don’t remember exactly, – I want to say it was some kind of “Marukai” brand – but I know for sure that we used to buy the Sapporo Ichiban brand by the case.
We would save the wrappers, then turn them in at the Marukai distribution warehouse by the Kapalama Gem and get saimin bowls, soup spoons, etc. I think the bowls were made in China and lead paint was probably used. But they were just like the kine in the saimin stands so we didn’t care (more like, we didn’t know any better). My dad had his special saimin bowl. The handmade ones from long time ago.
Instant saimin. Man, we lived on that stuff. Lunch, quick snack, late night dessert, especially on cold nights — saimin always hit the spot. Funny yeah, seems like we were immune to MSG back then…
Then during the college years – someone invented instant saimin in a cup. Cup Noodle!
This was the best thing since sliced bread. At KCC, there was always a big pot of hot water in the data center so many late night hungries were satisfied with a bowl of cup noodle. I used to keep one stashed in my 80-80 punch card drawer – with a pair of disposable chopsticks too, of course.
Nowadays, there’s all kines of instant saimin, ramen, kook su, pho, pasta, kim chee soup, etc.
But every now and then, I like to bust out a package of Sapporo Ichiban instant saimin, cook it up on the stove like the old days, maybe throw a few ice cubes in it to cool it down, add a little black pepper – no shoyu (bad for the blood pressure) – and slurp away. I just have to remember to drink a lot of water to flush out all the MSG.
I’m sure you grew up with home kine saimin too. Maybe was the Okahara brand?
Share your Saimin @ Home stories with us. Did you have it for a meal or a late night snack. Or maybe even for breakfast? Nothing wrong with that. What was your favorite brand? Did you only eat the noodles or did you drink all the shiru too? Did you eat it plain or add kamaboko, green onion, char siu, black pepper, or shoyu?
UPDATE: M and Masako sent me some photos of their visit to the Cup Noodle Museum in Yokohama,Japan.
Thanks for sharing your pictures with us, M & Masako!
Received another cool picture from a good friend: