My first tryst with Wai Wai noodles was in college. It was quite easily the most sold item in our college hostel, and it’s not difficult to fathom why. While there are many instant noodles, Wai Wai is the only one that truly lives up to the billing. Wai Wai is pre-cooked, flavoured, and fried. Hence, it’s ‘ready to eat’ out of the packet.
While the convenience factor makes Wai Wai noodles the perfect bachelor food, it’s not the only thing that makes it stand out. Each pack comes with three taste enhancers. A signature Wai Wai spice and herb mix, a small sachet of chilli powder, and onion oil. The zing of garlic, onion, and chilli is something that most Indian recipes rely on. It’s little wonder then that once someone has tried Wai Wai, they struggle to go back to anything else. When I moved to Hyderabad, Wai Wai was a rare sight in the city. I missed my fix of Wai Wai so much, I resorted to getting it couriered from Bengal.
Wai Wai noodles was created in Nepal by Binod Kumar Chaudhary. It got started in 1984, and was available in India even before the economic liberalisation. Wai Wai was inspired by the instant noodles popular in Thailand, and literally translates to ‘Fast Fast’ in Thai. The flavour, however, was adjusted to suit the Nepali palate. For a long time, its distribution was primarily limited to the North-Eastern region of India. The company’s first Indian manufacturing facility was in Sikkim, adjacent to my college. However, things have changed over the past decade. The brand has expanded to seven manufacturing facilities spread across the country. It is now available in most kirana stores in Hyderabad. Wai Wai has also introduced new variants, including a range of Quick curries and a Jain Masala variant without onion and garlic. However, the most popular ones remain Veg Masala and Chicken Masala.
As suggested by the tagline #MunchitLunchitSoupit, Wai Wai noodles is extremely versatile. While you can always eat it out of the pack, you can also make a noodles soup or a typical dry preparation. In fact, even if you want to relish a soupy noodle, you can directly cook it in the packet. Crush the noodles, add some hot water, pour the taste enhancers, and wait for a couple of minutes. This also makes Wai Wai great for carrying on your travels. If you’re pressed for time or just aren’t in the mood for ordering in, you can treat yourself to a hot packet of aromatic noodles in your hotel room using nothing more than the water heater. I love to keep things simple with Wai Wai, but it is adaptable enough to power a full restaurant menu. Check out the recipes section of their website for some inspirations; the Wai Wai Bhel is one of my favourites. If there’s a recipe that you love, do let me know in the comments section.