How Instant Ramen Became an Overnight Success

November 21, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


– [Narrator] Some people
associate instant noodles with broke college students, but instant ramen wasn’t created for a bunch of hungry 20 year olds. The man who invented them
was much more ambitious. He set out to solve a
hunger crisis in Japan. After World War II, food
shortages plagued Japanese cities, so the U.S. supplied wheat flour and encouraged the Japanese to make bread. One man named Momofuku Ando didn’t understand why his
people would make bread instead of noodles, something
that was already part of their culture. Ando decided to take
matters into his own hands and create a new ramen made to last. He spent a year trying to figure out how to preserve the noodles. He needed a nonperishable,
tasty, and easy recipe, but it was a challenge to
maintain the robust flavors and unique texture that most
people were accustomed to. It wasn’t until his wife
was making dinner one night and he threw some noodles
in a bowl of hot tempura oil that he realized flash frying the noodles was the answer he had been looking for. This method not only dehydrated them, it left small perforations
that allowed the noodles to recook quickly. And there you have it,
instant ramen noodles became an instant success. Ando’s products gained notoriety when he introduced the
packaged ramen in the 1950s and later Cup Noodles in 1978. His company began selling upwards of 40 billion units every year, and Momofuku Ando became
a culinary icon in Japan. So, the next time you heat
up a cup of instant noodles, remember, you’re slurping down
a little piece of history. (lively instrumental music)