Guilty indulgence or not, there’s no denying that cup noodles are delicious. Picking up a pack or five is easy today. But it wasn’t always this way. The cup noodles we love so much were once expensive for the average consumer. Ramen noodles were novelty items! Hard to believe, right? Cup noodles have come a long way since then. Let’s take a closer look at its fascinating journey.
The Original One
The origin of Cup Noodles goes back to a period of unimaginable crisis and pain. Following WWII and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, widespread hunger plagued the world. Momofuku Ando, a Japanese-Taiwanese inventor, believed peace would come to the world only when people had enough to eat again.
It Started as an Accident
For these reasons, Ando experimented with various recipes to solve this global crisis. Ramen noodles were a natural choice, given how easy it was to prepare and feed many mouths at once. He spent years attempting to perfect how to preserve ramen noodles. Ando accidentally stumbled upon the recipe when he dropped noodles into tempura oil in a pan. Inspired by the frying process, he perfected a way to make noodles cook instantly and preserve shelf life beyond the possible durations. And thus, the first instant ramen noodles were born.
This Wasn’t All
In 1958, Ando marketed the noodles under his company, Nissin. However, not everyone could afford it at the time. Instant noodles were six times more expensive than fresh ramen. The price tag didn’t deter its popularity, however. Promotion efforts increased the demand in stores across continents. Nissin became a profitable multinational corporation. But another revolution was in the making. Nissin wanted to take the concept further with “cup noodles” – instant noodles that people could cook within the cup. All one needed was boiling water.
Add on the Greens
The idea came to Ando when he was on a business trip in the States. Inspiration arrived from watching Styrofoam cups filled with coffee. He realized the idea could translate beautifully to noodles in a cup. As processes became more sophisticated, Nissin added dried vegetables to make the meal more well-rounded. The concept was revolutionary for the time.
They Go Viral
Cup noodles today are staples everywhere. Instant noodles feed hungry dorm students and busy professionals or save parents the hassle of cooking elaborate dinners daily. Cup noodles may not have solved world hunger as once intended. But they continue feeding most people in the world regardless. Due to its mass success, everyone today can enjoy instant noodles at affordable costs.