Ramen noodles are a type of Japanese noodles that are typically made from wheat-based flour, salt, and kansui (a type of alkaline water) which is added to give the noodles their signature yellow color.
Ramen noodles were invented by Chinese immigrants in Japan who came from the Noodle Alley of northern China. These early ramen makers introduced various toppings such as sliced pork, pickled vegetables, and fish cakes to the dish.
Ramen noodles are the most popular food in Japan. It is so popular that Japanese people eat it three times a week on average. They are best served at warm but people often eat them at room temperature for leftovers.
In Japan, ramen is a food staple and noodle soup is the most popular food group. Ramen dishes are usually sold as a package containing cooked noodles, seasoning packet, soup base packet, vegetables (such as green onions), meat (such as pork), and sometimes egg.
There are many different regional varieties of ramen in Japan, which differ significantly by noodle type and soup flavor. The names for these types of ramen are usually based on the region it is from such as Hakata Ramen from Fukuoka or Sapporo Ramen from Hokkaido.
Ramen is available in a variety of flavors. People usually add vegetables or meat to the dish for flavor, as well as broth or hot water to make it more flavorful. Many Japanese people also enjoy dipping their noodles in soy sauce, which is called “tsuyu ramen.”
The instant ramen was invented in 1958 by Momofuku Ando who is also known as “the father of instant noodles.” His company Nissin Foods started selling it in 1971.
Tasty Facts about Ramen Noodles
1 Compared to other fast foods, Ramen has way less calories and fat content. A McDonald’s Big Mac contains 540 calories, approximately three times more than those in Ramen. A KFC Potato Bowl contains four times more fat content than in Ramen.
2 There is an entire museum dedicated to Cup Noodles in Japan. It’s called the CupNoodles Museum, and visitors can visit and sample the 5,460 flavor combinations on display.
3 The Japanese consider instant noodles – not their awesome tech gadgetry – as their best invention of the 20th century.
4 China has the highest global demand for Ramen, consuming approximately 46 billion packets of Ramen annually. Indonesia and Japan follow with 14 billion and 5.5 billion packets respectively.
5 The noodle length in one Ramen package is 51 meters, equivalent to the length of two basketball courts.
6 Some people, such as Momofuku restaurant’s Chef Chang, gobble Ramen down without cooking it.
7 Ramen is the best selling food commodity in Rikers Island jail in New York. Guards provide inmates hot water to make the dish, and sometimes, the inmates use the seasoning packets to add flavor to their tasteless prison food.
8 Ramen is preserved with Tertiary-butyl hydroquinone, a byproduct used in the petroleum industry, and it has been found to be a cause of metabolic syndromes such as high blood pressure, excess body fat, and high blood sugar. Doctors advise moderation when eating Ramen.
9 Today, at just 13 cents per package of Ramen, you can survive on a mere $142 a year, 44 times less than the $6,300 you would use on food every year in the US. (But we do not recommend that. See the next fact to find out why.)
10 Ramen was once an expensive dish. Ramen’s original price was six times that of fresh noodles when it was introduced in Japanese supermarkets in 1958.
11 Two years before he died, Ramen’s inventor Momofuku Ando made Ramen that could be eaten in Space. It had an obscure name: “Space Ram.” Space Ram was made specifically for Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi’s expedition on the Discovery space shuttle in 2005. What made Space Ram edible in space was its thick broth that prevented thinning out and smaller noodles that could be cooked without boiling water.
Related: Fun facts about funeral potatoes
How Instant Ramen Became An Instant Success | Billion Dollar Breakthrough
In 1958 Momofuku Ando developed a new food with the goal to help end hunger in Japan. You might be surprised to hear that that food was instant ramen. But every day, an estimated 290 million people eat instant noodles. Instant ramen and Cup Noodles have become a staple of supermarkets around the world.
And over 100 billion servings of instant noodles are consumed every year. So, how did a 48-year-old businessman who knew almost nothing about making noodles start a multibillion-dollar industry?
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