Eating Healthy in a Hotel Room

I posted a photo on Facebook of my lunch – a jar of healthy instant noodle soup. To my surprise, it got some attention from some people asking for my recipe. It seems easier to write it out here because my recipe changes dramatically based on my whims. So this post is going to be divided into two parts. Part one is the recipe exactly as it appeared in this picture. Part two is how I created it so you can create your own recipes.

Instant Noodle Soup – Hotel Edition

Part One: The Recipe

If you want to re-create exactly what you see above, here is what I did. Layer it the same way because it’s layered specifically.

  • 1 tablespoon bouillon (use a good quality one, like Better than Bouillon)
  • 1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili paste
  • 1/2 cup cubed tofu
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced ginger
  • 1 garlic stem finely chopped
  • 1 carrot thinly sliced (I use a mandolin)
  • A handful of sliced fresh basil leaves
  • 1 generous handful of pea shoots
  • 1 generous handful of washed and trimmed enoki mushrooms
  • As many pre-cooked noodles as you can wedge into the jar

Once you get to your destination, just add boiling water and let it sit five minutes. (I asked for a kettle from the front desk.)

YES. It’s that easy. But before you run off and re-create this, you might want to read part two.

Part Two: Important Notes

There’s a few things you will find helpful in creating a mason jar o’soup, especially if you can’t find my weird ingredients. (I like these a lot.)

First: Why do I use tofu? I use tofu very much on purpose. I like tofu because it’s far more stable in your fridge for a few days, and more stable when I have to drive it up and down the province in my trunk. You can use anything you want and I’m sure thinly sliced pork and pre-cooked prawns would be amazing. But I like to limit how much time I spent driving pork around.

Second: You can have any base you want. I liked hoisin sauce this time, but curry powder or whatever seasonings would be equally delicious.

Third: Remember you aren’t cooking this when you add boiling water. You need to thinly slice or spiralize your veggies – and be prepared for them to be crunchy. You could also cook them first. I don’t because I’m not committed to extra steps in my instant food.

Fourth: Your noodles must be precooked. You can buy fresh precooked noodles (I did) or cook soba noodles or some other delicious noodles. Or use precooked rice. Be wild.

Fifth: Most leftovers make good instant soup this way. Chinese food, rotini with pasta sauce, turkey dinner – it’s all the foundation for a jar of instant soup.

Sixth: Why is it layered like this? The easy is that I want the tofu to get as much time as possible sitting in the flavourful goo at the bottom, the veggies to remain as moist as possible for as long as possible, and I want the fragile noodles to sit safely on top. The layers work. There’s a second part as well, which is that I think it looks pleasing like this. I like my food to look pleasing. Even in a hotel, food can be attractive.

Seventh: You don’t need to assemble this at home. Just bring a paring knife and a cutting board along with some jars and hit the grocery store near the hotel. You don’t need to drive a portable kitchen around in the summer. I did it this time because it was convenient. However, I have assembled a lot of food in hotel rooms while I watch reruns of shows I refuse to admit I watch.

I love eating healthy food when I travel. It’s what keeps me feeling energetic in long days. There’s a lot of ways to create easy hotel food. This is one of the easiest and healthiest And it’s not going to be damaged by the wildly varying hotel fridge temperatures.

I’ll add a few more foodie posts to answer the questions I get about how I eat in a hotel. Hopefully this one will get you started!

PS: This also makes a great work lunch.