Kiki Noodles was a bit of a craze last year in 2017 when a Singapore importer brought in 2000 packets and it was all sold out in 6 days. Today, I am given to understand that they are sold at selected Buzz convenience stores.
The costs ? S$13.70 for a pack of five.
Yes you heard me right. That works out to S$2.74 a packet.
That’s expensive! Geez- it’s priced way more than some of those Japanese instant noodles. But wait – it gets worse. Each packet is tiny so for a guy with a hearty appetite, you will definitely need two packets for one meal. That works out to S$5.48 for 2 packets for a meal.
Don’t believe me ? This is one packet :
Growing boys will need two packets of Kiki.
So yes get it in your head – the costs is more like S$5.48 for a meal.
Will you pay S$5.48 for plain instant noodles ?
Well consider this – the most expensive instant noodle I could find in the market is A1 instant noodle for $$4.25 per packet but they are utterly delicious and for that price, out pops a little mini abalone in the ingredients sachet.
The expensive Prima instant noodles costs $1.96 per packet and the expensive Korean ones costs S$1.17 per packet.
The perennial favourite Ibumie Mie Goreng is only S$0.47 per packet.
And the average quintessential Maggi mee we all grew up on costs S$0.38 per packet – even with inflation. So this Taiwan instant noodles at S$2.74 is about 7 times more expensive than your humble Maggi.
It’s not like for like and it’s not fair to compare you say ? Sure I give you that but they’re bloody expensive by any comparison and qualification!
So they are really not your everyday standby instant noodles – fast to cook good to eat – which you keep in your cupboard to feed that hoard of ravenous boys when your Son’s Rugby team drop by after school and you have to feed them.
But price aside, how’s the taste? Frankly? I’m not a fan. It’s more like La Mian rather than instant noodles texture. And the noodles itself are rather plain tasting (listen people there is no magic here – sun dried and healthy – less taste. Deep fried – taste galore duh). To make matters worse I find the sauce too sweet, too saltish, too cloying.
Ok I’m being cantankerous here. But why sun-dry and tout the health benefits but accompany each sachet packet with so much salt and swimming in oil ?
It blows my simpleton mind.
By the way, use only 2/3 of the sachet of seasoning – it’s really salty.
So why the craze?
Kiki noodles hail from Tainan, south of Taiwan. It started off as a chain of restaurants selling Sichuan food (you can find Kiki restaurants in Taipei) but in 2016, they decided to retail their noodles.
But this is really where the magic of marketing takes place – they embarked upon a successful marketing campaign featuring the incredibly beautiful Shu Qi.
Men – own up. Seeing our wet dream slurping those noodles with those luscious lips of hers – you wished you were the noodles touching her lips and we will happily deed poll our name to Kiki right ?
Wait – what do you mean it’s just me? Well screw all of you – I only answer to Kiki now. You can inspect my deed poll.
In my last trip to Taipei, I decided to visit the Kiki corporate office where I understand you can buy the Kiki noodles off the rack.
And who knows, Shu Qi may be casually sitting there slurping up some Kiki noodles and mesmerising me with her dimples.
So off I went armed with just the address which I flashed to the Cab driver.
– CONTACT US –
The location isn’t too far away from the busy Zhong Xiao East road but it’s in a small lane and housed in a nondescript black stylish shop house that looks like someone’s home or the sleek office of an architect. There are no windows with rows and rows of noodles peeking at you but just a small modest sign spelling Kiki. There is a good chance you will miss it unless you are looking out diligently.
I went in and this is what I found.
The price – TWD 199 per packet of 5 so this works out to S$8.90 per packet of 5 compared to S$13.70. So in Singapore, you pay 35% more.
Apart from shipping costs, what makes up the hike are the costs importers have to factor in for testing to pass our strict health authorities regulations.
Taiwanese starch products were once taken off Singapore’s shelves back in 2013 when it was discovered that there was an unapproved food additive, maleic acid, added to the products.
Every shipment of KiKi noodles now has to be tested by the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration before it is allowed to come to Singapore.
So for those of you who travel to Taipei, you may want to save 35% and buy a giant box from Taipei like I did.
Shu Qi made me do it.
Kiki now has 4 flavours for the dry noodles in their range:
Aromatic Scallion (comes in flat version (mee pok) as well)
Sze Chuan Pepper
Aged old ginger
I did a taste test this weekend for my kids. And added ingredients.
Trust me – the noodles is really too plain.
My kids liked the Sze Chuan pepper which is like Mala. If you like something with a bit of a kick, try that. They also like the Aromatic Scallion version.
None of us were too crazy with the ginger version.
So the final analysis? Interesting but not compelling.
Think I’ll deed poll my name back again.
Kiki sounds like an annoying cat.
But I still think Shu Qi is incredibly beautiful.