So I’m about to do something a little crazy in Tokyo…

Too. Much. Time.

Every once in a while in this hobby you decide to do something a bit crazy because, well, you can.

Of course, what counts as crazy will vary from hobbyist to hobbyist. For some people, crazy is flying 33,000 miles in a week. For others, it’s buying 1.25 million miles through pudding. For yet others it’s taking wheelbarrows of coins to the bank to generate miles. I could go on and on with  stories of positioning yourself to strange lands to jump on cheap fares, flying in and out of a long haul destination on the same day just to try an airline’s new product (deliberately booking SQ’s oldest business class seat sounds mild by comparison) etc etc, but it’s safe to say that in this hobby, you can never be too crazy.

So when I tell you that I’m bringing back a few hundred cup noodles to finance an expensive meal in Tokyo, you really shouldn’t bat an eyelid…

Exhibit A: Nissin Nakiryu Dandan Cup Noodles

Can Michelin Star food be found in a Styrofoam cup? Well, that’s what Nissin is offering, in partnership with one-Michelin Star ramen restaurant Nakiryu in Tokyo. Since these babies were released at the end of May, they’ve been getting great reviews and hype up the wazoo.

Image result for Nakiryu ramen tokyo
photo credit: Yummy Japan

“But they’re just instant noodles”, I hear you say. Well, yes, but they’re Michelin Starred instant noodles. A reviewer for RocketNews24 had this to say:

It had a mellow chicken flavor that was perfectly complemented by the sesame. There were also intermingling sour and spicy flavors that were distinct yet refined, for a solid blend overall. One of the more memorable parts of Nakiryu’s Dandan was the delectably textured noodles, and much to our reporter’s surprise the cup noodle version managed to somehow recreate that! Just like in the restaurant, the thin noodles trapped in the broth for an even flavor in each bite. It was magnificent.

Image result for nissin nakiryu dandan
photo credit: Rocketnews24

Look, I have no idea how they taste, but the hype is going global and everyone wants to try them. Unfortunately, the noodles are currently only available in Japan, and buying them online incurs ridiculous shipping costs (not to mention they’re all sold out). Fortunately, I’m headed to Tokyo at the end of the month, which creates an interesting opportunity…

Exhibit B: AirFrov

Image result for airfrov

My first option would be to buy back a few cartons of these noodles, list them on Carousell and flog them off. But then I’d have to arrange meet ups with individuals, travel all over and respond to messages like this.

Enter Option B- I wrote about AirFrov a few years back when they were just starting up and since then the community has really grown.

For those of you who haven’t heard about it, AirFrov is a P2P delivery service that lets you monetize the luggage space you’re not using when you travel. People post requests for items they want from overseas, you negotiate an acceptable price, buy the items and drop them off at AirFrov’s headquarters when you return. The requester pays 7% plus S$2 as a service fee; the traveler doesn’t pay anything.

If you enter the code UID53 when you sign up for an AirFrov account, you get S$10 of credit which can be used towards paying AirFrov fees as a requester (I get S$10 too).

This will be my first time using AirFrov, but I’m satisfied there are appropriate user protections in place (you can read more about it here, but TL;DR- once you’ve agreed to buy something on someone’s behalf, the requester deposits money into an escrow account by AirFrov which is released upon delivery. Once you’ve bought the item, the requester can’t back out) so I’m not worried.

Singaporeans go crazy for the latest Japanese food trend, and it’s no surprise that these Nakiryu noodles are one of the most requested items on AirFrov with over 244 requests (each request can be for multiple units) as of right now.

So it’s now just a simple matter of figuring out how many I can carry back. Which leads me to Exhibit C…

Exhibit C: SQ First Class Ticket

To get back to Singapore, I’ve redeemed my miles for a First Class ticket on SQ (I also used the stopover trick to add another trip to Sydney a few months down the road (hopefully with SQ’s new A380 cabin products), saving 40,000 miles in the process).

SQ gives First Class passengers 50kg of luggage allowance. As a Krisflyer Gold member, I get another 20kg.

When the weight concept is used, number of pieces is irrelevant. I have 70kg in total, which I can spread across as many bags as I wish. Each of the noodle cups weighs 140 grams. I doubt I’ll have more than 20kg of personal items, so there’s plenty of weight left over to lug noodles back.

Actually, the restriction isn’t so much weight but volume. The noodles come in hard packaging measuring 12x11x11 cm. So unless I bring along a few cardboard boxes, I might have to do some Tetris-style packing. But that sounds like a problem for future Aaron.

The biggest logistical issue I see is getting these noodles to the Narita airport. I’m not sure how many I will be able to fit into two large expandable bags plus a duffel bag carry on, but if all else fails I’ll just get a trolley to wheel some cartons as well. This may be an issue if I take the airport limo bus because apparently every customer is limited to 2 pieces of luggage (they say on their FB page they’re happy to take excess baggage if there’s space though). Taking an Uber to the airport would totally burn up any money I make on the noodles, so I’m going to have to be smart about this.

Putting it all together

This isn’t going to be a great money-making venture for me insofar as these instant noodles have a rather poor volume/profit ratio. The noodles themselves retail at 200 JPY (~S$2.50) per cup, and the lowest price I’m willing to buy them at is S$5. That means a profit margin, on average, of S$2.50 a cup*. My goal for this exercise is to generate enough money for one nice (non-instant) Michelin Star meal in Tokyo.

*My actual margins will be different once I account for 7% GST. Yes, you do need to pay GST on items bought for AirFrov buyers because they’re not for personal use. On the other hand, some people are willing to pay more than $5 a cup so it does balance out.

As of right now I’ve committed to purchase 111 units (generating about S$344 of profit) which should be a right barrel of fun to get to the airport.

I’m well aware that there are other things I could help bring back from Japan which would have much better volume/profit ratios, but buying just one type of item allows me to limit the amount of time I spend hunting things down. Besides, I love bringing food to people; I’m a giver that way. Also, the thought of building an instant noodle fort in my seat and doing the world’s first in-air taste testing of Michelin Star cup noodles complete with Krug and caviar gives me big boy feelings.

The other issue (which I probably should have mentioned first) is that the popularity of these noodles means they’re all sold out in stores. Fortunately, I know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy, and a few phone calls were made. The catch? For it to be worth his while, I’d have to place a large order. Like 11 cartons large.

“That’s too much to bring home”, said brain.

“Shut it. This will be good for upper body development,” said biceps.

And that was that. That’s how 132 cups (11 cartons of 12 units) now sit in my hotel, awaiting my arrival.

And no, I’ve not forgotten about you, dear readers. Although the people on AirFrov will have to pay theirs the hard way, readers of The Milelion are a special, hunky bunch. So I’ve set aside 10 units for readers, to be given away in 5 sets of 2. No charge.

If you’d like to get your hands on a pair of Nakiryu instant ramen cups, simply sign up for the mailing list on the left of your screen AND leave a comment below and I’ll put you in the draw that will take place at 12pm SGT, Wednesday 30th August.

If you’ve already subscribed to the mailing list, congrats! Nothing for you to do but leave a note below commenting how monumentally stupid this idea is.

So yes. 132 cups of Michelin Star instant ramen. One SQ First Class seat. This’ll be fun.

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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asmc

Excellent idea!

How do they compare to the dandan noodles at the HKG Cathay The Wing lounge dandan noodles? (Best DanDan in the world IMO)

Alvin

You sir, are hilariously crazy and awesome at the same time. Count me in for the draw!!

Asilah

AHAHA you’re mad. Whatever kool aid you’re drinking, I want in.

Samuel

Me me me!! I will be eating those cup noodles while reading your posts, and waiting for the next one to be published! ????

Gideon

Hahaha awesome idea! Am a huge ramen fan so curious how these taste…give us a tasting review once you’ve gotten your hands on them…Bon voyage!

Kelvin

Count me in!!

N-

I would like to try my luck to get one of those! I’m quite keen to try it!

You’re about as crazy as me because that sounds like something I will do as well. 😀

Been following you since really ages ago and it is nice to see this community growing day by day. It is like your baby and hardworking, please feed it well k ^^

Louis Lee

Good luck with the cartons!

Willie

Insoiring! Count me in pls

Marc

Count me In!! ?

Chiobu

Pretty please Aaron! You are a man among men.

Jon

Another hilarious article! Count me in for the draw too!

benzene

I once brought 12 bottles of Chun Cui He from Taiwan in my check in luggage, so I totally feel you now. It’s an admirable thing you’re doing – fulfilling the wishes of the Nissan-hungry masses in SG. Haha…

RL

Already on your mailing list! Gimme some cup noodles ???

Geneus

Please count me in on the draw!!! Can’t wait to see your crazy idea materialize!

QL

Hope to be lucky enough to win one set of the cup noodles especially directly flew in from Jipun land!

Linda

There’s gonna be pictures of the instant noodles fort in first class, right? ^_^

Luq

Sheer insanity! But it might just work.
(in the words of Doc Brown)

Niniek

A little bit of craziness is spice up your life… hahaha

Anonymous

Baka! ??? but so cool ?

Laura

This. Is. Genius. Please count me in!

Dyna

Waaa. Good idea. Will the same when I next go Japan

Flo

You can always get your luggage delivered to the airport for a fee. Most hotels in Japan can arrange it.

SR

Crazy idea haha, but I like it!

Jian xiong

Neat trick! And the instant noodle looks so good. I wan one 😀

Gin

cool and good luck on this plan!

Wong

How are you going to carry 11 cartons man

Eddie

Aaron, do you have any spare units still for sale at AirFrov ? I can’t seem to tell which ad is yours.

Hui

I’m curious on how you’re gonna lug all those to the airport.
Count me in for the draw 🙂

Janice

Not sure if you have figured it out, but similar to Flo’s comment, you can prob send the cup noodles via Takyubin or smth to the airport for a fee (quite affordable, cheaper than Uber) and collect it on the day of departure. Very handy service! I’m sure the hotel concierge can help with that. And pls count me in for the draw too please! Good luck with this!

RF

LOL this idea is so ridiculous that it’s brilliant! No, I don’t wanna eat the cup noodles. But then, my wife is a big fan of them. And you know what they say – happy wife, happy life! Gimme some noodles pls!

P.S. Japan is very big on luggage deliveries. Just go to your hotel concierge and ask 🙂

Ryan

Michelin or not, these noodles are taking SQ Suites. That potentially up the value of each cup exponentially. Gotta try those suite treat. Cheers!

Kai

Wow, that’s hell a lot of MSGs! Hoho

Robert

I was in Tokyo last month! Wish I knew about this earlier….count me in for the draw, please!

jon

You’ve just given me something to hunt for while on my Tokyo stopover : ) thank you!

Lionel

This is the most overly elaborate entrepreneurial idea I’ve seen. Looking forward to photos of your michelin meal, hopefully it lives up to the effort you put in to pay for it.

Kai

Haha! Great PR move but I wonder what will the SG customs react when they see 12 cartons of DanDan noodles….

CS

You are so awesome!

Tickled

You had me at Nak.

Peter

Awesome! Count me in, please!

jason

Count me in!

Chung-Pei

Awesome. I can’t imagine this is doable by a pair of hands. Way too much boxes to handle!

Chung-Pei

I can’t imagine this is doable by a pair of hands. Way too much boxes to handle!

DSG

Just don’t try to take any with you to Sydney…and count me in for the ramen lotto!

XL

Have you checked out if customs will flag you out or something? fingers crossed!

Joshua Liaw

Awesome idea. Good luck!

Jonathan Lim

Hi Aaron,

Count me in for the draw. Thanks!

Kristabel

Woah.. the kind of things you do for miles is amazing! Much to learn from you!

Eddie

Why did u use the PRVI Amex card ? The fx charges are 3.25% vs the UOB Visa Signature, which is lower and gives 4mpd.

Eddie

Add me to the draw !

Joel

Awesome.

David

Don’t say no to noodles

Zach

Nomnomnom
My friend and I have had 11 pieces of luggage lugged onto the airport limousine to Narita and they didn’t bat an eyelid.
But granted it was pretty empty.
Hope to get some of these noodles!!

Zach

We took the airport limousine to Narita.
Had a bit of problem at check in as my friend was on a LAX-NRT-SIN itinerary which was working on a piece basis.
So in the end I had to have 8 pieces of luggage tagged to me and we still exceeded the luggage allowance but I guess flying Suites helped 😉

Alex

Crazily good idea. Count me in!

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