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  • Writer's pictureTien Chew

5 Foods To Eat When You're Feeling Blue

Updated: Nov 21, 2022

I must admit, this has been a topic that has always fascinated me. What do people eat when they're sad? Everyone has comfort foods, but what do you eat when you're feeling blue, sad, down, melancholic, or even dread? Does a more significant pain require a more powerful culinary panacea?

Ice cream is a classic choice, I'd say. We're visual creatures, and TV shows (primarily American) taught people how to binge on ice cream whenever they feel down. Surely, this must be a remedy, we thought! Well, it is, kinda.

And thus, the idea for such an article arrived in a flash today and quickly grew to a sizeable thought in my mind, leaving me no choice to give in to a creative whim. That and also I must confess that I am getting weary of the coronavirus pandemic and all the bullshit that has happened because of it, so writing this article was an exercise in self-medication as much as it was intended to spark dialogue.

Let me know if you resonate with my personal preferences in this article. Or if you disagree with me, tell me what foods you find comforting when you're feeling down.

P.S. these foods are in no way ranked

P.P.S. you can also eat these when you're feeling happy too


1) Noodles

God, I love noodles. Many things are satisfying in the food kingdom, but few can match noodles' pure enjoyability factor. They come in all shapes and sizes and appear in my favourite three cuisines – Italian, Chinese and Japanese. Yet the commonality noodles share, despite taking various forms and satisfying different dish styles, is its chewy factor. Yes, the act of chewing them in the mouth is pure bliss to me. Don't get me wrong, I love thin noodles just as much as I love thick, chewy noodles, but chewier noodles usually win.

No surprises as to why right?

This personal reverence for noodles has fueled my habit of tucking into a bowl of hot noodle soup whenever I feel down, either emotionally or physically. A hot bowl of your favourite noodles can nourish both body and soul. While it probably will not solve that issue you're facing, it sure as heck can temporarily take your mind off things.

My go-to choices: shoyu chashu ramen, curry mee, Ipoh hor fun


2) Junk Food

Junk food. Specifically potato chips (crisps) and other audibly crunchy snacks of similar nature. What better way to placate the mind than with lashings of salt, sodium, artificial flavourings, and umami dialled all the way to 11 to numb the senses? Especially when fake cheese is so sinfully delicious and strangely alluring.

I got the habit of snacking on junk from my dad. His favourite was a pack of Lay's cheddar and sour cream Ruffles, which in turn became mine as well. There are just some snacks that go beyond the realms of tolerable levels of fake cheese, and I am not fond of this one bit. I also love sea salt and vinegar and good old sour cream.

My fail-safe choices: Ruffles' cheddar and sour cream, Kettle sea salt and vinegar, Twisties BBQ curry


3) Fast Food – Pizzas and Cheeseburgers

Photo: Amirali Mirhashemian

Ahhhh, fast food. When junk snack foods won't do the trick, take it up a notch into the land of pepperoni pizzas and quarter pounders. Because nothing expresses self-loathing more than pigging out to unhealthy and delicious food in front of the TV when you're feeling the blues. You'll feel great two minutes into the meal, fine five minutes after, and wishing you didn't eat the meal 30 minutes later.

But you sure as heck won't have the capacity to think about sad songs when your brain is all hopped on food satisfaction.

My top-tier picks: pepperoni or margherita pizza, quarter pounder large meal with an apple pie for dessert, KFC snack plate with a side of popcorn chicken


4) Japanese Curry

Photo: Samia Liamani

This one is specific. There's nothing quite like spicy Japanese curry to lift the spirits. The mix of heavily spiced gravy, meat, carrot, onion, and potato on white rice is so incredibly nourishing I can have it any time of the day. It warms you up during rainy days, it's always there for you on uncertain days, and it always tastes like home. Ok, maybe the last part really only applies to the Japanese.

Curry can also be made into a broth when combined with dashi for ramen, soba and udon, widening its versatility. I swear a piping hot bowl of curry udon on a cold winter's day will definitely lift things around. Don't forget to have it with pickles to cut through all that richness!

Add a hearty slab of rosu katsu into the mix, and you'll soon be wondering why you ever felt so down in the first place. Pair your meal with a fantastic lager or a pilsner for a stronger cure-all that will see to any matters troubling the heart.

My preference: homemade, curry katsu rice, Hitachi beef curry rice


5) Ice Cream

My current fixer upper

You knew I had to include it on this list, but what is it about ice cream that can help you temporarily lift the spirits? This sweet frozen treat is loved by almost everyone of all ages. Lately, I've found myself partial to this Kit Kat ice cream. The newcomer to the commercial ice cream scene imitates the shape and style of a Magnum classic but adds crushed Kit Kat biscuit wafers to the outer coating to create a delectably sweet treat. With this ice cream, I've found a new way to enjoy Kit Kat, and that's saying much considering it doesn't even rank high on my chocolate tier list.

If you're ever feeling melancholic, ignore the calorie count and let loose, it'll do you some good.

My time-honoured selections: Häagen-Dazs coffee flavour, Baskin Robbins jamoca almond fudge, Magnum classic


What are some of the foods you like to eat when you're feeling blue? Let me know!

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