There will always be that one glorious dish that is near and dear to your heart, a food that is synonymous with satisfaction and perfection. We asked our friends in the food and editorial world to write #FoodOdes to the dishes that they love. Here, an ode to Maggi Instant Noodles from Saveur and First We Feast contributor Khushbu Shah. (@KhushAndOJ).

Noodles may be the singularly most satisfying food in the world. Drenched sidewalks and overcast clouds always trigger a craving for soupy noodles of Asian origin—the phos, ramens, and laksas of the world. The very moment the first of the leaves begin their transition from green to a lush range of oranges and reds, I instantaneously begin craving bowls of freshly made fettuccine drizzled with a Paula Deen inspired amount of brown butter sage sauce. A long and tiring day calls for bowls of simple, yet perfect, bucatini doused in marinara, and the only occasion I need to eat spaghetti carbonara is a day that ends with “y.”

My immense love for noodles of all types has resulted in a strange assiduousness when it comes to the hunt for a bowl of pasta. I will take the more arduous road if it means freshly made noodles with a slight bite, free from preservatives, and plastic packaging. Mention the words “Maggi noodles” and all former sentiments are cast aside.

In the world of instant noodles, Maggi is Beyonce, the reigning uncontested queen of fierce, while Top Ramen is Miley Cyrus—cheap and one dimensional.

A product of Nestle, Maggi noodles are about as commercial as food can get. Most likely the stuff of Alice Water’s nightmares, Maggi is India’s answer to every broke-ass-person’s mealtime staple—Top Ramen. Noodles are fried and freeze-dried into little cakes, stuffed into colorful plastic, alongside an ominously labeled package that wields all flavoring power. That is however, where the similarities end. In the world of instant noodles, Maggi is Beyonce, the reigning uncontested queen of fierce, while Top Ramen is Miley Cyrus—cheap and one dimensional.

For flavor, Top Ramen turns to salt, whereas Maggi also embraces spice. The bowls are never bland and never in need of additional seasoning. Each flavor, whether it be tomato or masala or anything in between, strikes a deft balance between sinus revving heat and straight up taste bud domination. Perfectly cooked in two minutes, the noodles can be twirled around the tines of a fork in less time then it takes Taylor Swift to change boyfriends. It’s one of those dishes in life so good, that mindful eating often takes a backseat to near inhalation—hence why most people eat two.

What I love most about Maggi is that they are glorious no matter how you eat them. A bowl of cold noodles is more satisfying than a slice of cold pizza. They are amazing at lunch and fantastic for dinner. They are mind-blowing when intoxicated, and the only thing I can stomach when paying for the sins of the night before. Make it extra soupy and broth-like with piles of swimming noodles when you find yourself sick, and toss it with a handful of steamed vegetables when attempting to be semi-virtuous. I prefer mine slightly overcooked, where the broth is reduced (and the flavors heightened), resulting in a pot full of wavy noodles with a spicy and slightly caramelized coating and an absurdly happy me.

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