Instant ramen is, for many people, one of the best Japanese inventions created! It has revolutionized the food industry and has now taken over convenience stores in Japan and all over the world. It comes in numerous different varieties, flavors, and sizes, and is perhaps one of the easiest foods to have on the go.
It is no exaggeration to say that there is probably no one who hasn’t tried instant ramen at least once. It’s a cheap, tasty, and convenient food and a regular snack or meal for people in Japan. Here are 6 interesting and crazy facts about this popular food that may surprise or impress you!
Did you know that instant ramen is a popular food among college students across the world as it is very cheap? It is so cheap and filling that many people living on a budget love it. Let’s put this into perspective, shall we? It is estimated that you would not be shell out more than about 150 USD per year if you solely lived off instant ramen every day!
In the US, a packet of instant ramen can be bought for as cheap as 15 cents! An average person, either in Japan, the US, or Europe, spends a huge amount of money every year solely on food consumption. Some of them end up with no savings at all from their wages as a result of excessive spending.
Imagine the possibilities for saving money on food when you have a huge student debt to repay? In Japan, you can find so many different varieties of instant ramen, from cup noodles to large sized packets and with a huge number of flavors, that you can easily save money whilst also trying different varieties!
In the U.S, instant ramen is so cheap to buy that it is very often served in jails. In the famous Riker’s Island Jail in New York, ramen is famous because the inmates love to consume it and it is in high demand there.
Compared to the bland food served in jails, instant ramen actually comes with seasoning sachets and non-vegetarian flavors, making it quite popular!
Have you ever questioned what astronauts eat when they are in space? They have less time on their hands to cook and certainly don’t have the luxury of eating high-end food for dinner. There is also a distinct lack of utensils and kitchen facilities.
Nissin, the main company that patented instant ramen, has come up with a new vacuum sealed mini ramen specifically designed for astronauts on the famous Discovery shuttle, particularly the Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi.
Known as ‘Space Ram’, it has caught the attention of many people around the world and could become a popular option for not only astronauts but also people from other professions such as in mining jobs.
It is predicted that the world’s population could hit 10 billion by the end of the century. This could result in a disproportionate distribution of resources and an increase in poverty. Estimates suggest that this will most probably cause a worldwide food crisis in the future which could affect billions.
Products like instant ramen are seen as an attempt to solve this present and future food problem. During disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes, instant ramen noodles are most likely to be included in the aid that is usually sent by the governments and charities to the affected areas. It is cheap to produce and easy to distribute.
Indeed, The Japanese nation went into a state of despair after the destruction of World War Two, encouraging innovators such as Momofuku Ando, who later went on to found the company Nissin Foods, come up with quick and cheap cooking solutions such as instant ramen.
Did you know that instant ramen, which is a popular household item now, was once very hard to find as it was seen by many as quite unattractive? When Mr. Ando released instant noodles in Japan, nobody bought them and it initially resulted in huge losses for Nissin.
It is not until the idea of cup noodles took shape after a few years that the popularity of these instant products increased and Ando became an icon of food innovation! There is even a museum dedicated to cup noodles in Yokohama, the Cup Noodle Museum. You can visit to learn about the history of this product and the effort that went into realizing these ideas! Find out more on their website.
The enduring popularity and affordability of instant ramen has also attracted a lot of hate in the form of claims that it is not healthy and causes intestinal ulcers and other health issues! In order to give a firm response to the scathing attacks, Mr. Ando himself left his luxurious lifestyle and started living off his own products, hoping to prove that the allegations were baseless.
Even today, these kinds of claims can be found on the internet, which often encourages people to take action. For example, some rumors include that instant noodles contain lead or wax. This has led to a temporary ban in countries such as India, thus affecting the food industry that is employing thousands of people and has long been focusing on healthier and cheaper food options.
In recent years, Nissin has been coming up with many ideas such as low-sodium, high-protein, oil-free, no-additives noodles, and many more instant ramen types to earn the trust of the people.
How many of these facts amaze you and how many more have you heard of? Have you tried instant ramen and what do you think about it?