10 Things You Didn’t Know About Instant Ramen
Instant noodles have a long and interesting history; having been originally created in an effort to bring world hunger to an end, these noodles are enjoyed all over the world today in an incredible variety of ways. There are so many different recipes to turn a simple packet of noodles into a gourmet feast, or you can simply serve them with the addition of the flavour packet and enjoy a steaming bowl of soft noodles. However, there are a few things about instant ramen that you might not have known:
1. Instant ramen was once considered a product of ultimate luxury.
When these noodles first hit the market, World War II had just ended, and there was a massive food shortage. Fresh noodles came at around a sixth of the cost of a packet of chicken ramen and therefore were incredibly expensive when compared to its alternatives.
2. Momofuku Andu was the creator of instant ramen in 1958.
In an effort to end world hunger, the Japanese inventor worked tirelessly to create something that would be the end of the world’s biggest problem. It wasn’t until he accidentally dropped a piece of noodle into a hot wok of oil that he discovered a way to preserve the noodles.
3. Some people (including chefs) even eat the noodles raw.
Now, we’re not saying that it is good for you to eat them raw, but there have been many claims of enjoying the taste of the crispy dried noodles fresh out of the packet sprinkled with seasoning. David Chang, the founder of the Momofuku restaurant empire admits that it was one of his favourite after-school snacks as a child!
4. China is the largest consumer of instant ramen.
Although of Japanese invention, it is China that takes the lead for consuming the largest amount of instant ramen every year. In 2013, over 46 billion packets of these noodles were consumed, and certain brands can be bought almost anywhere – including on street stalls!
5. The Japanese claim that instant ramen is their proudest invention.
Although Japan has invented a plethora of incredible things, particularly in cutting-edge technology, a survey in 2000 found that the Japanese are most proud of introducing ramen noodles to the world on a global scale.
6. If you ate ramen for every meal, it would only cost £150 a year.
Instant Japanese ramen may have once been a highly expensive and luxury item, however, it now has an incredibly low price point. If you decided to eat just ramen and nothing else for breakfast, lunch and dinner you would spend around £150. Compared to the average UK spend on food per year of around £3,000; it would save you a large sum of money!
7. There is a museum in Japan dedicated to cup noodles.
The museum is called CupNoodles museum and is dedicated to sharing the history of instant noodles and the thoughts of inventor Momofuku Ando. Those who attend can not only enjoy the fantastic story of creation and bringing the product to market, but you can make your own ramen recipe from over 5,500 flavour combinations and enjoy a customised fish cake.
8. Ramen noodles have even been to space.
In 2005, Ando’s dream of making ramen portable enough to consume in space came true when “Space Ram” was sent out with Japanese astronaut, Soichi Noguchi, in the Discovery space shuttle. This version of noodles needed no water to cook and had a much thicker broth.
9. If you unravelled a pack of instant noodles, it would be 51 meters long.
Many have tried, and succeeded, to measure the length of a packet of instant noodles, finding that they reach 51 metres! However, this would be a tricky thing for you to prove yourself, as 51 meters is the equivalent of two basketball courts.
10. Instant ramen noodles only have four ingredients.
Traditional ramen noodles are made up of simply salt, water, flour and kansui (an alkaline salt solution). It is the kansui that gives the noodles their yellow colouring.
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