FOOD&CULTURE - The ramen noodle invasion

Pre-cooked instant noodles have swept out of Asia and are swamping the world.

by Elisabeth Roman Invented in 1958 in Japan by Momofuku Ando, consumption of instant noodles has spread exponentially. Easily stored and prepared, they provide a hot meal by just adding boiling water. Such practicality has made them standard fare today among Asians and English-speaking students worldwide.

In post-war Japan, Ando spent years developing a product he hoped could feed the masses. The ingredients are simple: precooked and dried wheat flour pasta garnished with a powdered seasoning or sauce.

When Ando’s small company Nissin Foods first introduced ‘Chikin Ramen’ (ramen became the generic name for the product), noodles were considered a luxury; they cost six times as much as ‘homemade’ versions.

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