Asian-style soup noodles from restaurants contain excessive amounts of sodium, the Consumer Council has found after sampling 100 different noodle dishes.

The council and the Centre for Food Safety tested ten varieties of Asian-style soup noodles from various restaurants. 76 of the 100 samples exceeded the daily 2,000 milligram intake recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

wonton noodle soup
Wonton noodle soup. Photo: Wikicommons.

If calculated according to sodium intake per meal, all of the samples would exceed the limit, the council found.

The sample with the highest sodium level was a spicy and numbing noodle that contained three times the recommended daily intake.

The Council warned that the high sodium content in the majority of samples could put consumers’ health at increased risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.

Consumers can reduce their sodium intake by 18 to 68 per cent by skipping the soup and eating only the noodles and toppings, the council said.

The types of noodle soup tested that contained the most sodium were  tom yum noodle soup, with an average of 440 milligrams of sodium per 100 grammes, and spicy numbing rice noodles, with an average of 420 milligrams per serving.

spicy noodle soup
Spicy numbing noodle soup.

Pork bone soup ramen and wonton noodles were next highest, with 380 milligrammes each.

The council urged that the food industry should reduce sodium levels in the interests of consumer health.

The Council also looked at the labels of ten types of packaged noodles, and found that – on average – they contained 1,900 milligrams of sodium, meaning that one bowl was close to the daily recommended intake.

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.