Cup Noodles is turning 45 years old. You've probably eaten them throughout college, and maybe even into your later 20s…And honestly, they're still pretty tasty.
The creator’s name was Momofuku Ando, and before he created the Cup Noodles, he created chicken Ramen in 1958, spending every day for one year trying to come up with the perfect instant Ramen creation. Cup Noodles, the natural next step, made its debut in 1971, according to the Cup Noodles Museum. That’s right, there’s a museum dedicated to these noodles. It is well-deserved.
Ando went on a fact-finding trip to America in 1971, and found grocery store managers breaking up his Ramen, putting it into a cup, microwaving it with water and enjoying it with a fork. That’s when he realized if he made the Cup Noodles, it would go global. Not everyone eats this pasta fried with veggies and using chop sticks. The cup could help to diversify the noodle.
Obviously, we now know that he was right, since most of us have tried Cup Noodles at some point. According to National Public Radio, the museum that stands today is filled with tributes to the Ramen inventor, along with Ramen-inspired exhibits.
“This is the museum that really honors the creator of instant ramen and Cup Noodles,” museum manager Yuya Ichikawa told NPR. "... He tried many many methods of drying the ramen, but he could never find anything that worked perfectly well. And then one day he was watching his wife make tempura and he realized, this is how it can be done," Ichikawa explained.
And so Ando made noodles instant by lightly frying them in oil for a few seconds, then drying and packaging them.
Visitors are able to make their own noodles in the museum, and even use ingredients from an ingredient bar to create their own noodle recipes.
Other exhibits include the Instant Noodles History Cube, where walls are decorated with all Ramen flavors from day one to now, from top to bottom, and Ando’s actual work shed. If you ever find yourself in Yokohama, Japan, stop by and learn all about Ramen.