The ever-dependable instant noodle. Created in 1958 by Momofuku Ando, the product has since become the stuff of both indulgent late-night suppers and university student struggle meals. Meanwhile, today’s TikTok chefs are whipping up all manner of noodle hacks—add spam, milk, spring onions, an egg, a slice of cheese—and making everything from ramen burgers to instant noodle fried rice. In the age of the Internet, the humble convenience food has gone positively gourmet.
If you go to 33 Desker Road in Little India, shuffle through a curtain of yellow strings, and head up a narrow staircase, you’ll find yourself in a cozy space filled with eclectic framed posters and wall art. This is Eat Snake, a creative performance and event venue that’s partnered with social media agency GOODSTUPH to create what feels like an instant noodle shrine—offering everything from elevated versions of favourite flavours to merch made by Southeast Asian creatives.
Nood vibes only
On the tables, you’ll find jellyfishlike lamps by Megan Soh (Singapore), with glowing noodles suspended from upturned cups. According to the Eat Snake and GOODSTUPH teams, these kitschy concoctions think about “the waste incurred with single-use cup noodles, and [reimagine] … their afterlife as a nood lamp.”
Walk in a little further, and you’ll see brimming trays of add-ons—chicken wings, meatballs, and crab claws, for instance—ready to amp up your bowl of noodles. The six menu options reflect the flavours and culinary traditions of East and Southeast Asia, from bakmie to army stew. Luxe lovers might go for the Seafood Noodies, topped with prawn, crawfish, scallops, and clams. But we picked the Gyu Don Noodies—sesame oil cup noodles, beef, and tempura enoki, finished with a silky onsen egg.
Created by Eat Snake co-founder Cherin Tan, the dishes are available this weekend on a pay-as-you-wish basis, but limited to 100 servings per day.
Miss out on the noodles? Over a dozen creatives from GOODSTUPH (and their sister company Mistress) are also dishing up a selection of themed apparel, accessories, and home decor. And, with all production costs sponsored by Eat Snake and GOODSTUPH, the sales proceeds go straight back to the artists.
This unusual decision, say the Eat Snake and GOODSTUPH teams, is “rooted in a commitment to support and empower the creative community…It’s a gesture that underscores the importance of nurturing creativity and fostering a sustainable ecosystem where artists are valued and financially rewarded for their unique visions and skills.” (Bravo, we say!)
The result: an assortment of merchandise for noodle lovers of all aesthetic predilections. Noodle-slurping fashonistas, for instance, will dig Eugenia Tan’s (Singapore) trippy “Lenticular Noodleverse” collection—including sunnies, bags, and pins—and Chentini’s (Indonesia) shirts and bucket hats, which pay homage to the painted rooster bowls ubiquitous throughout the region.
Alternatively, thank a “souper friend” with a whimsical greeting card from Sherrell Kong (Singapore), or appeal to youthful sensibilities with Ariel John’s (Indonesia) “Noodlesthetics” keychains and stickers. Combining instant noodles with popular Gen-Z aesthetics, these unexpected mashups include “Y2Kwayteow” (featuring a floating tamagotchi and flip phone) and “Sobaquette” (the prettiest pink bowl filled with ribbons and pearls).
The strands that bind
Ovita Pattari Purnamadjaya’s (Thailand) taste for instant noodles, it seems, started in the womb. When pregnant, her mother loved eating instant noodles, and Ovita’s had a “deep connection” to this everyman’s delicacy ever since. With colleagues Katarina Stella and Laurencia Marchellina (Indonesia), she’s made “Meestery Cup” blind boxes that contain practical items like sleep masks and wall hooks—but with a noodley flair.
Khobfah (Thailand) has a different noodle story. Concerned about health, his parents disapproved of the ultra-processed food, but he’d still go out and eat it every chance he had. He’s expressed his affection for this “guilty pleasure” with big, fluffy rugs that bring cosy feelings into your living space—no health worries here.
From figuring in cherished memories and connecting cultures across Asia, to even earning their own museum, instant noodles are much more than your midnight-snack last resort. Here, the simple product’s become a savoury fount of creative inspiration. And while there’s nothing quite like a warm bowl of noodles on a rainy day, it’s warmed our hearts just as much to see this earnest celebration of art and design.
NOODIES – The Qi of the Instant Noodle takes place at Eat Snake, 33 Desker Road, #02-01, from 3-4 February 2024. At the time of writing, slots are fully booked, but merchandise will be made available online from 5 February onwards (while stocks last). For the latest updates, follow Eat Snake and GOODSTUPH on Instagram.
Header image: Merchandise for sale, including (from top, anticlockwise) Megan Soh’s Instant Noodle Lamp, Sherrell Kong’s Noodle-Lovin’ Postcards, Ariel John’s “Noodlesthetics,” Asto’s (Indonesia) air fresheners, and Asto and Raihan’s (Indonesia) Noodle Reed Diffuser. All images by author unless otherwise stated.