Noodles in space
Despite this, the popularity of instant noodles in Japan grew, but when the noodles appeared on the market in a sturdy plastic cup in the early 1970s, the dam went international. So much ease was irresistible to many people. You didn't even have to look for a plate and a spoon (that was included). All that was left was hot water for a quick, affordable and filling meal. Cup noodles were also invented by Momofuku Ando, not only inventor but also the boss of a large noodles company.
For years you heard about cup noodles that they were not very healthy. The noodles consist of wheat flour, palm oil and are flavoured with herbs, salt (also for shelf life), MSG flavor enhancer and sugar. Fortunately, a lot has changed. There are now also wholemeal noodles, noodles with less salt, without oil or with extra protein. You can also add your own fresh vegetables, some meat or an egg.
According to the World Instant Noodles Association (yes, it really exists), every day around 280 million portions of instant noodles are eaten worldwide. Eighty percent of these are eaten in Asian countries. Koreans, Vietnamese and Indonesians love it the most.
Instant noodles are also popular in Thailand. They're handy, fast and very cheap. You can get a portion for as little as 15 cents. They are sold on the street, with meat, vegetables or shrimp as an addition. In the supermarkets you will find rows full of instant noodles. The brand Mama exists since 1972 and is the most popular of all in Thailand. It has become such a concept that the Thai have started to call all instant noodles just Mama.
The fact that Momofuku Ando also kept working on the road is shown by the development of 'space noodles'. In 2005 he made vacuum noodles, which could be made and eaten without boiling water. Momofuku did this especially for the Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, who went into space with the Discovery space shuttle.
On the occasion of the turn of the century, the Fuji Research Institute asked 2000 Japanese people what the best Japanese invention of the 20th century was. It was not the Walkman, Pokemon, sushi or karaoke that got the first place. You guessed it, it was for the instant noodles.
Not surprisingly, Japan now has two CupNoodles Museums in Osaka and Yokohama. You'll learn all about its origins and global growth; in front of the museum in Osaka, you'll see a statue of Momofuku. You can also make instant noodles according to your own recipe.
But if you want something special, you can also just try one of the noodle soups from ONOFF. Organic and vegetarian! A lot has happened since Momofuku invented instant noodles.