Instant Noodle Review: Trader Joe’s Squiggly Knife Cut Noodles

Has Trader Joe’s cracked the noodles code?

Published Sept. 1, 2023.

There’s no doubt folks on our ATK Reviews team love Trader Joe’s. From the most popular cheese roundups to crowd-pleasing sauces and condiments, we never stop waxing poetic about the delicious and best-bang-for-the-buck products TJ puts out. 

As the resident noodle reviewer, I dropped everything and rushed to Trader Joe’s upon hearing about the chain’s Squiggly Knife Cut Style Noodles, which promise a “quick” and “craveable” snack that cooks in four minutes. 

At first glance, these air-dried, wavy noodles seemed awfully similar to the Momofuku ones, which were largely disappointing. Unlike the Momofuku noodles that cost $2.50 each, a pack of four servings of Trader Joe’s knife cut noodles cost $4.99.  

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But the similarity stopped there. After cooking, these wavy noodles were a touch thicker than most average supermarket instant noodles but perfectly tender.

The wide strings of noodles gently curled up slightly, forming valleys and ruffled edges ideal for clinging to rich sauces. This already looks promising! I thought to myself. As I coaxed the oily, dark brown sauce into the threads, the springy noodles bounced around my chopsticks, coating the noodles and giving them a luscious shine. 

The Final Verdict: Are the Trader Joe’s Squiggly Knife Cut Noodles Any Good?

The texture was chewy, al dente, and hit most of the marks of high-quality noodles. The texture alone bore a resemblance to A-SHAs Extra-Wide Knife Cut Style Noodles; A-SHA is also the manufacturer of the popular Momofuku noodles we reviewed. 

Unlike the traditional deep-fried instant noodles, the air-dried version gave a cleaner aftertaste and retained a more unique texture that’s sometimes described as “Q,” a word that may have originated from Taiwanese Hokkien to mean delicate and bouncy. 

But the sauce was a huge miss. It was one-note, sesame oilheavy without other flavors. The soy was mildly hinted as an afterthought; the spices, which included paprika and black pepper, were just little specks swimming in the shallow pool of leftover sauce that didn’t coat the noodles. 

However, the noodles are good enough that you should use them as a base for your own sauce.  

Later that day, we made a second attempt by mixing the noodles with a quick sesame sauce from our Cold Sesame Noodle recipe (cookbook coming this fall!) and it was a hit: The thick, velvety sesame sauce was exactly what my noodles had been waiting for. But if you’re indeed in a pinch, pair your noodles with spicy Lao Gan Ma chili crisp or zippy sriracha, which would also make for a comforting snack. 

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