Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

Where would college students be without the low-cost, high-sodium food product that are instant noodles? So many nights, broke as hell yet hungry……but wait! There’s Ramen noodles in the pantry, or, if you feel like splurging, a whole Cup O’ Noodles! As evidence that MSG, trans-fat, refined flour, and salt galore can’t be all bad (er……), Momofuku Ando kicked the bucket at the ripe old age of 96.

Born in Taiwan, Ando founded his company in 1948 from a humble family operation. Faced with food shortages in post-World War II Japan, Ando thought a quality, convenient noodle product would help feed the masses.

In 1958, his “Chicken Ramen” — the first instant noodle — was introduced after many trials. Following its success, the company added other products, such as the “Cup Noodle” in 1971.

“The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum” opened in 1999 in Ikeda City in western Japan commemorating his inventions.

Ando gave a speech at the company’s New Year ceremony and enjoyed Chicken Ramen for lunch with Nissin employees on Thursday before falling ill, Japan’s largest daily Yomiuri reported.

The Japanese have the right idea here. They have a museum to Ramen noodles while we have a museum to creationism. Meh. Sadly, the great unanswered question as to why ‘Ramen’ noodles are called ‘Ramen’ is left a mystery. I was kinda hoping it was a guy named Raymond or something. Do any of you know?

Speaking of Cup O’ Noodles, for anyone that missed perhaps the best SNL skit of 2006, here it is. Yes, It features Ramen prominently.

And to Mr. Ando? “Soup, there it is.”


  1. #1 Hsien Lei
    January 7, 2007

    Ramen comes from the Chinese words literally translated as “hand-pulled noodles” which is exactly how some Chinese noodles are made!

  2. #2 Shelley
    January 7, 2007

    Awesome! Mystery solved!

  3. #3 Hsien Lei
    January 7, 2007

    Well, not quite because as it turns out (I checked Wikipedia), there’s some debate as to which Chinese version of noodles made it to Japan that led to them calling it “ramen.” you know how the Japanese language is – totally mixed up! 😉

    BTW, thank for the heads-up. I posted about Cup Noodles at A Hearty Life.

  4. #4 Michele
    January 7, 2007

    I am not sure but I think ‘ramen’ is the Japanese version of Chinese ‘lo mein.’ The Japanese have a habit of copying things from other cultures and giving them a Japanese version of the original name.

  5. #5 blipey, FCD
    January 8, 2007

    Right on with the Ramen Museum vs. Creationism Museum. Can’t think of any instance where creationism saved my life or nurished anything. With The Ramen Noodle Recipe Book for College Students in hand, however, much nurishment was had. Thank God thatcame to an end, though.

  6. #6 Mike
    January 8, 2007

    If you’re ever in Sapporo, check out Ramen Alley. Loads of little Ramen bars serving freshly made Miso Ramen soup (and beer) for an incredibly low price (mind you, I’m from the UK so even Japan doesn’t seem that expensive outside Tokyo). I’d heard it was a bit of a tourist trap, but given the number of Japanese in them, it looked like at worst it’s Japanese fast food.

  7. #7 AG
    January 9, 2007

    Ramen=Ra men=la man=stretching noodle.

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