Monday September 26, 2011
Cup noodle museum an instant hit
By YOSHIKAZU TSUNO
A cup noodle museum gives visitors a taste of their own flavours.
JAPAN’s Nissin Foods opened a cup noodle museum on Sept 17 charting the history of the speedy snack where visitors even get the chance to create their own tasty version.
“We opened this place ... as a factory that gives children experience and a museum for corporate activities,” says Nissin Foods Holdings president Koki Ando.
Koki, whose late father Momofuku Ando invented instant noodles more than half a century ago, says visitors to the museum in the port city of Yokohama near Tokyo could knead flour, roll out noodles, steam and fry them to make chicken ramen which is then put into bags.
In another area of the museum called “My Cup Noodle Factory”, visitors can design cups, put dried noodles in them and pick toppings and broth for their own versions of cupped meals – with the potential to create more than 5,000 different versions.
The museum exhibits packages of Nissin instant noodles from around the world over the decades and houses restaurants that serve food such as Vietnamese pho noodles and pasta from Italy. There are giant cup noodle containers in the museum for children to play in.
Momofuku Ando, the man credited with inventing instant noodles, took a lower-profile role in the business at the ripe old age of 95 in 2005, the year Nissin supplied vacuum packed instant noodles or “Space Ram” to a Japanese astronaut aboard a US space shuttle.
The businessman, who died of acute heart failure in 2007, was born in 1910 in Taiwan under Japanese occupation.
He entered the food business when Japan was hungry after World War II and invented the world’s first instant noodles – chicken ramen noodles sold in bags – in 1958.
Momofuku launched the cupped version in 1971 with a pre-cooked slab of noodles in a waterproof styrofoam container.
He saw his invention stocked on the shelves of convenience stores around the world. As the products were widely replicated, more than 95 billion servings were consumed around the globe in 2010, according to the Japanese instant noodles manufacturers association.
Momofuku said he was inspired to develop the product when he saw a long line of people waiting to buy soup noodles at a black market stall in post-war Japan.
“Peace prevails when food suffices,” he was quoted as saying. – AFP