We always had a box full of Nissin instant noodles at home as an emergency lazy snack. I used to love them because it was something other than rice, which we already ate every day. And since I couldn’t cook back then (I also loved fish sticks, but I managed to burn those somehow), instant ramen was one of my go-to warm snacks.
Last summer in Hong Kong I had instant ramen for breakfast far too often, and I’m still impressed by the way it’s a beloved staple over there. I don’t eat ramen noodles that often at home anymore, but paired with a juicy piece of chicken the way they can only do it in Hong Kong, instant ramen is pure love.
And I still love Cup Noodles. When I was stuck in a village in Hong Kong during a typhoon in 2015, I was quite happy to sit on the couch eating Cup Noodles and watching weird tv game shows.
Tonight I ate uncooked instant ramen as a crunchy snack, which I realise sounds like I’m one step away from homelessness. It’s really quite tasty though and I’m pretty sure a lot of Asians have done this at some point. I only realised this is an odd thing to do when I got an “ewww” from a friend when I told her what I was eating. But trust me. It’s good! Not healthy, but good. I looked it up just in case, and Nissin says it’s safe to eat. Phew!
Anyway, I thought I’d look up some things about instant ramen and it turns out we owe our college survival food to mister Momofuku Ando, who invented instant ramen in post-war Japan and my beloved Nissin Cup Noodles in 1971.
More things you didn’t know about instant ramen
- The first instant ramen, Momofuku Ando’s Chikin Ramen, used to be a luxury food that was six times as expensive as the traditional noodles available at the time.
- A common method of of precooking and drying instant ramen is by frying, which is how Momofuku made the first instant ramen.
- Instant ramen (or soup, as they call it) has become a valuable commodity in US prisons. “I’ve seen fights over ramen,” one inmate said. “People get killed over soup.” There’s even a prison ramen cookbook.
- There’s a Cup Noodles Museum in Yokohama, Japan. Must. Go!
Here’s at least one other person in the world eating uncooked ramen like a savage. Do you do this too?