Product Review: Sainsbury’s Basics Noodles (savoury and quick, does the trick)!

I have to admit, throughout my travels I’ve become sort of an instant noodles addict. What can I say? They’re good and portable. In the US I’m always afraid to eat most of the ramen I see because it has so many weird ingredients and MSG. In the UK there’s a supermarket called Sainsbury’s and as soon as we met, we fell in love. The year I lived in Brighton I discovered that their 9p ($0.14) chicken and chicken curry flavored noodles, which is UK lingo for ramen, were vegan. Look, Sainsbury’s even has a handy Vegan Product List containing everything they sell that’s suitable for vegans.

There was no turning back. These are especially perfect on a cold day or when you’re sick and miss the idea of chicken soup. I usually cut up some onions, pepper, mushrooms and broccoli reeeeallly small and add to a bowl with the contents of the flavoring packet, crunched up noodles (I like them small) and about a cup of boiling water from the kettle. I really can’t be bothered to dirty a saucepan for this, so water from the kettle and a minute to soak after stirring works just fine. If I overdue it with the water I’ll add a pinch of salt and some tumeric to balance out the taste. Voila! You have a yummy, easy and impressive looking snack (or meal if you add some tofu)!

People think of ramen as a bland boring food, but adding some veggies to the package makes it into a whole new creation. I’ve also stir-fried them in a pan with half the water, veggies and some fake meat or tofu for a non-soup version.

Even better, as far as I can see the Sainsbury’s noodles contain no MSG (monosodium glutamate). Win, win! I love Sainsbury’s. If only I could find some instant chicken-flavored ramen without weird ingredients in the US…help me out?

Ingredients (for chicken flavor):

Noodles contains: Wheat Flour, Palm Oil, Modified Tapioca Starch, Water, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Stabiliser: Guar Gum; Carboxylmethylcellulose.

Flavour Sachet contains: Salt, Vegetarian Chicken Flavouring (20%), Yeast Extract, Sugar, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Maltodextrin, Colour: Turmeric, White Pepper, Dehydrated Carrot, Dehydrated Chives.



  1. Hate to burst your bubble, but at least in the US “Vegetarian Chicken Flavouring (20%)” and “Maltodextrin” contain MSG. If you’re trying to avoid it, here’s a good list of ingredients that indicate MSG: http://www.austinholistichealth.com/Articles/MSG%20SOURCES.pdf

    Looking forward to seeing you during senior week!

    pearlsandcupcakes / Reply
  2. I have a friend here who eats ramen dry. He breaks them up into small pieces, mixes in the flavoring, and munches away. They’re actually pretty good like that – taste almost like chips. He claims it’s a pretty common thing to do…

    Hal / Reply
  3. Well, they’re definitely vegan according to this list:

    http://www2.sainsburys.co.uk/NR/rdonlyres/8ADE0DC4-8AB1-40DA-AD08-E3869A04544A/0/VeganApril2010.pdf

    Not 100% positive, but in the UK they use E numbers which stand for all the additives, one of which is MSG (E621). As there are no E numbers listed on the package, I’m assuming it’s safe, though of course I could be missing something. Generally if something has loads of E numbers I just assume it will make me glow in the dark. Info about E numbers here:

    http://www.eatwell.gov.uk/foodlabels/understandingenumbers/

    See you soon!

    Nicole / Reply
  4. I really need to get on this dry ramen thing, it sort of freaks me out, but then I am oddly intrigued…

    Nicole / Reply

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