While there isn’t an official figure for how many packets of Mama noodles are sold every year in Thailand, the unofficial one says Thais eat around six packets of instant noodles each every year, and most of those are the Mama noodle brand. That would mean approximately 372 million packets of instant noodles are sold in Thailand every year (approximately 62 million Thais). But, before you start saying “Only six packets of instant noodles per person?” and telling me I’m wrong, there is a qualifier to that statement.
That’s because, while Thais might not make that many packets of instant Mama noodles at home, they’ll certainly eat hundreds of bowls of instant noodles on the street at restaurants that use Mama noodles, and that’s because street food in Thailand is cheap and delicious. Almost as cheap as that pack of instant Mama noodles at the local Thai supermarket.
You’ll find Thai instant noodles being served at a huge percentage of the street stalls in Thailand. Called ‘guay-dtiaao‘ in Thai, a bowl of noodles at a typical Thai street stall costs around 30-35 baht, or just over $1 a bowl and that includes the big pieces of pork or beef or shrimp on top.
Instant noodles, such as the Mama brand, are used to make the basic dish, and then a thin soup stock is poured over them and slices of pork, beef or a few shrimp are added. Top it off with some cilantro or some other chopped veggies and Thailand’s instant noodles are one of the cheapest, and most delicious, Thai dishes you can buy.
That’s why, when Thais say they only eat “six packets of Mama noodles a year”, you shouldn’t really believe them. After all, they’re not counting the many many packs of noodles they eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner at Thailand’s street stalls.