Exploring The Origins Of The Instant Noodles | CoolJapan

You’re craving a snack, something warm and filling but easy to prepare. The first thing you think of? Instant noodles.

Known for their accessibility, affordability, and almost universal palatability, instant noodles are beloved across the globe. But do you know how the fondness for it came about?

The history of instant noodles

Interestingly enough, the history of instant noodles is quite recent. Invented in 1958 by Momofuku Ando, the world’s first instant noodle was a Chicken Ramen. Momofuku spent a year perfecting his invention in a humble shed located at his Osaka residence. He wanted to make ramen a lot faster so he made noodles that can be cooked with just hot water.

The history of instant noodles

When was the last time you had instant noodles? (Photo from: Photo-AC)

By 1971, he was struck with inspiration to make his creation even more global. Momofuku established the brand Nissin and introduced the product CUPNOODLES.

In 2005, Momofuku was able to create Space Ram (also known as Space Ramen), a type of instant noodles that can be prepared and consumed safely in outer space. Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi was the first person to try it out. Soichi eventually brought it with him to the International Space Station in 2009.

The global appeal of instant noodles

Momofuku’s desire to make instant noodles a massive success in different parts of the world has been fulfilled. Over the years, different countries, mostly in Asia, have produced their versions of instant noodles.

The global appeal of instant noodles

Instant noodles come in many forms, usually coming in cup, container, or packet variants. (Photo from: Photo-AC)

According to recent statistics, the instant noodle global market has an estimated value of USD24.3 billion (approximately SGD32.5 billion) and is expected to grow up to USD33 billion (around SGD44.2 billion) by 2030.

Scrolling through the food side of TikTok or Instagram Reels, you’ll see the relevance of this food item, with thousands of quick recipes starring instant noodles shared on the platforms.

Easy ways to elevate instant noodles at home

1. Add eggs and sesame oil

Prepare your instant noodles based on the instructions on the packaging. While your noodles are cooking in the hot water, add an egg and let it cook for a couple of seconds before adding in the soup mix. If you want the egg to be fluffier like it’s scrambled, let it cook longer before mixing it with your instant noodles. Once done, remove everything from the heat and add a teaspoon of sesame oil to give the broth a nutty and toasty flavour. After that, your instant noodles are ready to be served.

Instant Noodle Recipes

Instant noodles are snacks that can be elevated further without the need for too much fuss. (Photo from: Photo-AC)

2. For spicy noodles, pour in milk and/or cheese

Spicy instant noodles are one of the most popular variants of the snack. But if you’re heat tolerance is low, you can swap your cooking water with some milk to tone down the spice level. Once your noodles are almost ready to be served, top it with some cheese to give your instant noodles a hint of creaminess and saltiness.

Easy Instant Noodle Recipes To Try At Home

How do you enjoy your instant noodles best? (Photo from: Photo-AC)

3. Add some nutritional value with leftover protein and veggies

Instant noodles are a versatile snack that can be tweaked in many ways — and yes, even just the addition of simple ingredients like leftover proteins and vegetables we have in our pantry. Not only do these add new layers of flavour to your instant noodles, but they also make the meal more balanced.

So how do you make it work? Easy. Just toss in whatever additional ingredients you have in the pot or cup as your noodles are cooking.

Moving on to more traditional ramen, here’s everything you need to know about Japan’s asa ramen culture.