Does your country have instant ramen or instant noodles from Japan? Have you tried them before? While NISSIN CUP NOODLE is probably one of the more famous brands worldwide, in Japan you'll find many different types of brands of instant ramen or noodles including even soba and udon noodles! In this article, let's take a look into everything instant ramen!
Japan's Instant Ramen
Instant ramen is created through various drying techniques using extremely hot oil or air and is then prepared and eaten by consumers through using boiling water.
Japan's History of Instant Ramen
The story begins in 1958 when Momofuku Ando, the founder of Nissin Food Products Co., Ltd. created the world's first instant "Chicken Ramen". This chicken ramen was a groundbreaking product created by drying the noodles using oil, then sold to consumers who would pour over the flavoring and then boiling water onto the noodles.
This chicken ramen was sold in plastic packaging. After, as you would expect, this instant ramen took Japan by storm, gaining popularity nationwide, with most companies hopping aboard beginning to make their own variations of the food.
Other Well-known Instant Ramen
We're sure some of you have heard of "Sapporo Ichiban". This brand released many variations of instant ramen noodles in 1966 starting with Soy Sauce, Miso, Salt, and many more. In 1962, Toyo Suisan Kaisha, Ltd. also joined the instant ramen trade with their "Hai Ramen". This brand was the creators of "Maru-chan" which was loved nationwide, allowing them to obtain a large share in the market.
Many more companies entered the instant ramen world, and thus many different variations and brands were created, creating a higher demand for a higher quality of instant noodles.
Japan's High Quality
Sapporo Ichiban and MYOJO FOODS CO., LTD.'s "MYOJO RAMEN" were some of the most popular with the people with their soup attachment, while the aforementioned Chicken Ramen came with the soup mixed in with the noodles initially, creating some friction between the brands. To combat this, Nissin Food Products Co., Ltd. released a brand new instant ramen similar to its competitors known as "Demae Itcho". Demae Itcho uses sesame chili oil alongside its soup to create a brand new and higher quality of flavor.
Let's take a look 10 years after these events took place. The market for instant noodles continued to mature with time, with more and more types and brands entering the market. Momofuku Ando decided to take the world by surprise and create an all-new type of instant ramen. This was the birth of "Cup Noodle", instant ramen in a cup. Within the cup are the ingredients and noodles, into which you pour some boiling water and simply wait, it was inevitable that it would become one of the leading categories of instant ramen.
Types of Instant Ramen being Sold in Japan
Instant ramen sold in plastic packaging was the original, and it retained a lot of its popularity even after the introduction of cup noodles.
Even now in Japan, many of the sales for instant ramen come from these types of packaged noodles. You will typically see flavors such as soy sauce, miso, salt, tonkotsu, and more ethnic types such as hot and sour, Szechuan, Champon, and many more. There is also an abundance of variations of udon, curry udon, tempura soba, yakisoba, and many more well-known Japanese dishes.
You're even able to find variations such as half-cooked noodles, chilled noodles, non-fried noodles, fried noodles, and many more to meet your personal tastes.
History of Packaged and Cup Instant Ramen
The instant noodle market has continued to grow and evolve over the years since its founding in 1958. Today, you'll find an extreme variety of flavors and noodle types from the basic soy sauce, so more ethnic options. It's said that 1,500 new types and flavors are created every single year. More recently, there have been many companies that have done collaborations with famous ramen restaurants to recreate the flavor of the types of dishes you would eat in-house. There are even some more interesting flavors such as "Kelp Ramen" which is being sold by Hokkaido's Rishiri Fishery.
The Birth of Cup Noodle in 1971
Due to how easy it was to prepare and eat, cup noodles gained an immense amount of popularity. The market value of the instant ramen industry as of 2019 was over 4,290 hundred million yen, with packaged noodles taking up 750, and cup noodles taking up 3,540 hundred million yen.
It is said that the birth of cup noodles was thanks to a trip in 1966 by Momofuku Ando to Europe. Apparently, during an event where Momofuku Ando was attempting to sell his products to certain supermarkets, someone brought a cup in which to put the samples, pour hot water, and eat them, from which Momofuku Ando got the idea for cup noodles.
Rapid Expansion in Popularity of Nissin Food's Cup Noodle
Cup noodles also had a unique way of marketing. A pedestrian mall had just been established in Ginza at the time, with a convention based around the eating habits of young people. The company aimed to sell these products mainly to people who worked at night and didn't have time to cook food.
Currently, cup noodles are the leader in the instant ramen market, with most companies and convenience stores having their own flavors and collaborations.
How did you find this article? We hope you were able to learn something about these instant ramen noodles which 1000s of people eat daily!