I can’t imagine how many times a cup noodles had save me from hunger after the long working hours when there is no open food joint around or when I was a university student who ran out of money and can afford only instant noodles for lunch.
For most Asian nation, a cup noodle is a staple food and will always be part of the grocery list. We are like ants stocking them up for rainy days ahead. Coming from a country where typhoon is a frequent visitor, it has been a comfort food somehow when the power was cut off and a steaming hot chicken noodles soup is the only available for dinner at the moment. To prove my point further, whenever there is a national disaster, it is guaranteed that there will be overflowing supply of donated instant noodles, as if everyone who’s eager to help thought of instant hot bowl as the best way to bring instant solace ala Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Now that I am working in the country where it all originated, its time to meet the man who invented it- Momofuku Ando, by visiting the Nissin Cup Noodles Museum at Yokohama.
How he came to invent instant noodles is like going back to the saying that “necessity is the mother of invention”. With Japan suffering the aftermath of war, there was food shortage and people were encourage to eat bread supplied by United States even though it was not suited for their taste. Ando question this situation and thought of ways on how to feed the hungry nation with something that is familiar and they love. After several trial and errors and a jolt of inspiration on how an ebi tempura was cooked, he came to succeed on inventing the first “Chikin Ramen”. Two years before he passed away at the age of 96, he once again re-introduces instant noodles to the world when a Japanese astronaut took and ate a pouch of noodles called “Space Ram” while on-board space shuttle Discovery.
The Cup Noodles museum is not only a celebration of the inventor’s life and work, or historical time line of the beloved instant noodles but it also allows visitor to get creative and participate. If you want to designed your own cup noodles, from the outer layout to the content, you can head to the My Cup Noodle Factory, If you want to learn and reproduce the first instant noodle, then you can join the workshop. But be informed, that this two are the major attraction of the museum and you have to wait in line patiently or make an advance reservation.
The museum is best visited with kid in tow or should I say, it is originally created to cater for kids and encourage their creativity.
“Peace will come to the world when the people have enough to eat.”– Momofuku Ando.