By

Eleonora Badellino – elydream.com

They are a perfect match and as well the reason why many people can not wait to come to this country: enjoy delicious noodles in a bowl enriched with a tasty hot broth.

Ramen is comparable to a small universe of flavors enclosed in a ceramic bowl, is just impossible to resist in its temptation. Outside the shops, people are able to wait for hours to get to eat it, and despite its origin is actually Chinese,  can be well considered one of the symbolic dishes of the country.

Foreigners are fascinated by ramen, but first of all, the Japanese are number one fans and they never have enough of it.

Only in Tokyo you can find from 15,000 to 20,000,  of Ramen-Ya ラ ー メ ン 屋 (ramen restaurants), each with its original “secret recipe” that will never be revealed to anyone.

But if we think that Japanese originality has stopped at the creation of this dish, be ready because know its “take-away” version has revolutionized the way of eating not only in Japan, but in the whole world.

Momofuku Ando – The Mind Behind the Instant Ramen

In the mid-1900s, a guy named Go Pek-Hok left his house in Taiwan to go to Japan and study economics at the University of Osaka.

After World War II, obtained citizenship and changed his name to Momofuku Ando, he found himself living in a country that was fighting hunger, with an increasing lack of rice production and unbalanced diets.

Essential then was the help of the Americans who sent to the nation sacks of cereals so that they could produce bread to survive. Many Japanese, however, who didn’t see this bakery product the perfect solution, took advantage of the flour that arrived to start large productions of Noodles.

Was the time of maximum splendor for ramen shops that began to appear at an impressive speed in every corner of the country. Momofuku, who at the time was the owner of a salt company, was therefore taken by a stroke of genius. Why not make this dish loved by everyone, easy, fast and accessible to anyone?

The arrival of the Cup-Noodles

The idea was absolutely brilliant, but making it reality involved a lot of time and several experiments. How can we not lose that flavor, that consistency and those typical taste of ramen in a dehydrated product?

Drying was one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome. He tried initially with the sun, then with the air and even with smoking, but none of these techniques allowed to recreate Noodles with a traditional consistency.

Legend says that the solution arrived observing his wife in the kitchen intent on preparing vegetable tempura.

You know all those bubbles that you can see around potato chips when they are submerged in oil. It’s air that evaporates from the potato due to high temperature,  making the ingredients in a state of dehydration.

Here is the solution!

In 1958 Momofuko launched its first Instant Ramen product flavor with Chikin (chicken): the Noodles, after being “watered” (literally using a sort of watering can) with chicken broth, were enriched with aromas such as glutamate and then fried in palm oil. Three minutes in hot water and they were ready to be eaten comfortably at home.

The success was incredible, and its subsequent decisions even more.

Once launched the product on the market, some competitors started to appear but they were easily overtaken thanks to its new ideas. In particular: creating mono portion and using a glass as a container (that wants to reproduce the bowl of ramen) where the ideas behind the creation of  “Cup Noodles”, a source of salvation for university students all over the world and for those who don’t have time to cook and want to save money!

The fact in Japan we can find a museum dedicated to him should not surprise us. Every day around the world more than 270 million Insta-Noodles are consumed, 80% of which is on the Asian territory first China, followed by Indonesia and Japan).

With seafood, pork, curry, spicy tomato, wasabi, tonkatsu, vegetables … there are more than 100 variations of Instant Noodles produced by the Momofuku company.

So if you are in Osaka area you can not miss the “Cup noodles Museum – Osaka Ikeda”, where, besides knowing the history of this revolutionary meal, you can also customize a Cup-Noodles for you.

Curiosity:

  • Momofuku Ando, born in March 1910; died in January 2007.
  • It is said that every day he ate at least one bowl of his Chikin Insta Ramen.
  • He also created a spatial version so that even the astronauts could eat it in orbit on earth.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.