March 1, 2016

#1957: MAMA Cup Vegetarian Instant Noodles Tom Yum Flavour

This is a special one sent to me by the kind folks at Thai President Foods – thanks again! In October, there is a special festival that takes place in Thailand and other places in Asia involving vegetarianism. Here’s a little info on it from wikipedia:

The Nine Emperor Gods Jiǔ Huáng Xīng Jūn / Jiǔ Huáng Da Di (九皇星君/九皇大帝) are the nine sons manifested by Father Emperor Zhou Yu Dou Fu Yuan Jun (斗父周御國王天尊) and Mother of the Big Dipper Dou Mu Yuan Jun (斗母元君) who holds the Registrar of Life and Death. The worship of Dou Fu Yuan Jun has declined strongly as proper teachings of Taoism degenerate since being exported out of China. Today, most Nine Emperor God temples do not acknowledge the existence of Dou Fu Yuan Jun. However, Dou Fu Yuan Jun is invoked alongside Dou Mu Yuan Jun in Great Dipper Honouring known as Li Dou (禮斗) ceremonies. According To Priest Long Hua, the 35th Generation Leader of Long Shan Men Taoist Sect (Singapore), honouring the Northern Dipper stars prolongs one’s life, eliminate calamities, and absolves sins and past debts of oneself and his family.[1]

The term Ye (爺) as in Jiu Huang Ye (九皇爺) loosely translates as “Grandfather”, a title worshipers commonly use to bring a more intimate relationship between themselves and the Nine Emperors. The Nine Emperor Gods should not be mixed up with the Wang Yeor Princes of the Ming rebels. Popular folk culture has it that the Nine Emperor Gods are actually sea pirates of the Ming dynasty that plotted to overthrow the Qing dynasty. According to Priest Long Hua, this information is inaccurate and considered derogatory to the actual teachings of Taoism as the Nine Emperor Gods are actually high-ranking Star Lords who preside over the movement of planets and coordinate mortal Life and Death issues.[2]

The Nine Emperors is formed by the seven stars of the Big Dipper of the NorthUrsa Major (visible) and two assistant stars (invisible to most people). The Nine Emperor Stars are:

  1. Tan Lang Tai Xing Jun (貪狼太星君)1st Star (Visible) Bayer: α UMa
  2. Ju Men Yuan Xing Jun (巨門元星君) 2nd Star (Visible) Bayer: β UMa
  3. Lu Cun Zhen Xing Jun (祿存貞星君) 3rd Star (Visible) Bayer: γ UMa
  4. Wen Qu Niu Xing Jun (文曲紐星君) 4th Star (Visible) Bayer: δ UMa
  5. Lian Zhen Gang Xing Jun (玉廉貞綱星君) 5th Star(Visible) Bayer: ε UMa
  6. Wu Qu Ji Xing Jun (武曲紀星君) 6th Star(Visible) Bayer: ζ UMa
  7. Po Jun Guan Xing Jun (破軍關星君) 7th Star (Visible) Bayer: η UMa
  8. Zuo Fu Da Dao Xing Jun (左輔大道星君) 8th Star (Invisible)
  9. You Bi Da Dao Xing Jun (右弼大道星君) 9th Star (Invisible)

In Thailand, this festival is called Tesagan Gin Je เทศกาลกินเจ, the Vegetarian Festival. It is celebrated throughout the entire country, but the festivities are at their height in Phuket, where about 35% of the population is Thai Chinese. It attracts crowds of spectators because of many of the unusual religious rituals that are performed.

In accordance with the traditions, many religious devotees will perform ritualized mutilation upon themselves and one another (with the consent of, context and understanding of all involved and the practice itself) while under a trance-like state, including but not limited to: impaling through cheeks, arms, face, legs, back etc., with everything from as small as syringes to as large as is agreed upon between all members; partial skinning (the skin is not removed, just cut and flipped over); slashing of limbs, chest, stomach and especially tongue with swords, axes and knives; bloodletting; removal of tissue (normally limited to cysts) and intentionally wrapping or standing near fire crackers as they are lit.

These vegetarian tom yum noodles are made specifically for the festival and today I’ll be giving them a try! I’ve heard of vegetarianism in Chinese and other cultures before, but I wasn’t sure about ‘fetid’ vegetables during this event. Here’s a little about that from wikipedia:

In China, Korea and Vietnam, monks are expected to abstain from meat. InTaiwan, Buddhist monks, nuns, and most lay followers eat no animal products or the fetid vegetables – traditionally garlic, Allium chinense, asafoetida, shallot, andAllium victorialis (victory onion or mountain leek), although in modern times this rule is often interpreted to include other vegetables of the oniongenus, as well ascoriander – this is called Su vegetarianism. Some Zhaijiao lay adherents do not eat any meat.

With that, now  you know a bit more about vegetarian culture and I’m ready to try this cup! Let’s check it out!

Detail of the side panels (click to enlarge). Definitely does not contain meat or fetid vegetaables. To prepare, add in sachet contents and boiling water to the inside fill line. Cover for 3 minutes. stir and enjoy!

Detail of the lid (click to enlarge).

An included fork!

The noodle block.

A few bits of vegetable loose in the cup.

Powder soup base.

Has a definite tom yum scent.

A paste sachet.

Thick and pasty.

Finished (click to enlarge). Added tau pok, coriander and pepper strands. The noodles hydrated perfectly and have that signature MAMA noodles chewiness. The broth is a refreshing tom yum with good heat and crisp lemongrass taste. The supplied vegetable bits did well. 4.0 out of 5.0 stars. EAN bar code 8850987101946.

Lonely Planet Pocket Phuket (Travel Guide)

A recipe for vegetarian tom yum soup you can make fresh at home.

Products cooked according to package instructions. Product reviews done prior to adding any additional ingredients.

Leave a Reply