Instant noodles are a common college staple. They’re cheap, inexpensive, and easy to make. However, have you ever thought about the true facts of the ramen noodle? Where did it come from? Who should we thank for creating the classic college staple? All these and more are presented below. Get ready to school your friends in your ramen knowledge.
1. It was once considered a luxury item.
Ramen wasn’t always so cheap. When it was first released, it was actually considered a luxury because it was cheaper to buy fresh Japanese noodles (udon) from the grocery store than it was to purchase instant noodle.
2. You can live off of instant noodles for about $150.
Instant noodles are a college staple because with textbooks, housing, tuition and other various expenses, every penny you can save counts. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make them into a real dinner.
3. Ramen is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word lamein.
Ramen and lamien, sound similar right? The true history of this noodle is unclear. Some say it has a Chinese origin, while others say it was invented in the 20th century by Japan. Either way, the Japanese word for ramen comes from the Chinese word lamien, which means Chinese noodles.
4. China consumes the most instant ramen.
According to the World Instant Noodles Association (yes, a noodles association actually exists). Because of the high global demand, China consumes 46 billion packets of ramen yearly.
5. It is the best selling item in Riker’s Prison in New York.
Riker’s Prison always has CupNoodles in stock. They are given the hot water to make the noodles and it’s a quick and easy meal to make. However sometimes, prisoners just use the seasoning packets to spice up their bland meals.
6. In Japan, there are at least 22 different styles.
The basics of this dish consists of the broth, the saltiness, the noodles, and the toppings. However, each place has it’s own take on what broth to use, how much salt, the type of noodles, and their toppings, creating ramen specialities in different regions. I guess you could say no two ramen places taste the same.
7. There is a CupNoodles Museum in Japan.
There is a Foodseum (aka Food Museum) in Chicago, but Japan has got the museum of instant noodles covered. Learn the history of how the instant noodle came to be and don’t forget to make your own noodle concoction before you leave.
8. Momofuku Andu invented the idea of instant ramen.
It was said that Momofuku Ando got the idea to make an instant noodle product when he saw a line of people waiting in long lines patiently for a bowl of ramen. Thus, he wanted to create a product that was tasty, inexpensive, and easy to prepare. He first introduced the chicken ramen in 1958 and then the Cup Noodle in 1971.
9. It was the first type of noodle in space.
Invented by Momofuku Andu in 2005, the “Space Ram” is a vacuum-packed ramen made with smaller noodles and a thicker broth. This space food was invented for Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi’s trip in the Discovery space shuttle.
10. There’s a movie about ramen starring Brittany Murphy.
Brittany Murphy, best known for her role of Tai in the movie Clueless, stars in a movie all about ramen called The Ramen Girl.
11. Jackie Cruz said she could live off of ramen.
Jackie Cruz, star of the hit TV show Orange is the New Black, told CelebBuzz that if she could eat one thing for the rest of her life, it would either be tacos or ramen.
12. Japan thinks ramen is one of the greatest inventions.
There is so much technology in Japan, yet the instant noodle was named the best invention of the 20th century. In second place, karaoke.
13. Not all of Nissin Top Ramen are vegetarian friendly.
You may think that all Nissin brand noodles are “vegetarian friendly” but actually, only the Oriental flavor and Chili flavor are truly vegetarian. The seasoning packets contain actual meat products. But don’t worry vegetarians, we can help you hack the menu in every restaurant here.
14. Some people eat instant noodles uncooked.
People like David Chang, owner of the Momofuku chain, eats instant ramen uncooked. He would actually eat it as an after school snack, sprinkling the seasoning over the uncooked noodles before taking a bite.
15. The noodle length inside an instant ramen packet is 51 meters.
There are odd measurements out there in the world but when it comes to the length of the instant noodles, it is no mystery. 51 meters is equivalent to 2 basketball courts. What a length!
16. Eat in moderation because it contains Tertiary-butyl hydroquinone.
Everyone says not to eat instant noodles too much but do you know why? Well, it contains tertiary-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), a chemical used commonly to extend the shelf life of food. However, there are many negative side effects which include, but are not limited to, nausea, vomiting, collapsing, and high blood pressure.
17. Don’t talk while eating.
It is considered respectful not to talk while eating ramen. This shows respects to the cooks who took the time to create such a wonderful and delicious masterpiece.
18. Start with the broth.
The broth usually takes hours to make and makes a ramen bowl distinct. There are a variety of different broths from shoyu to miso. Before eating the noodles, take a few sips of the broth first. Be careful, the broth is hot.
19. Eat fast.
Ramen is best eaten while hot. The noodle is still cooking because the broth is very hot. It is best to consume the dish as quickly as possible or you may make a mistake and end up with overcooked noodles.
20. Slurp to cool.
Because the ramen is hot, slurping will actually cool the noodles. Also, it is considered respectful to slurp noodles as it shows that you enjoy the meal.
21. The yellow color is not from an egg yolk.
There are 4 ingredients to making traditional ramen noodles: wheat flour, salt, water, and kansui. Kansui gives it the yellow color. Not egg.