Billions of servings of ramen are eaten each year, and we can all thank Momofuku Ando for his invention of the instant noodle. To say that this food stuff is popular is an understatement, with the leading manufacturer Nissan located in 11 countries with 29 different plants and tens of thousands of employees.
Ramen originally came from the Chinese “lo mein” noodle, but the Japanese are the ones who made it instant. In Osaka, the Japanese are so proud of their invention, they are home to the world’s only museum dedicated to the history of ramen. In fact, in the year 2000, the Japanese voted the ramen noodle the best invention of the 20th century!
One thing the Japanese and American cultures share in common is the main clientele of the ramen noodle. In Japan, ramen is often called “gakusei ryori,” meaning “student cuisine.” Due to the low cost, American’s usually associate ramen with college students, as well.
As a matter of fact, there’s a ramen company in New Jersey that I’ve been following lately called Sun Noodle. They have started what’s called Ramen Lab, where they host noodle tastings (flights, as it were) in Hawaii, New York area and the LA area. CEO Hidehito Uki has maintained that if good noodles are made, "noodles will be accepted anywhere in the world as long as they're delicious" and he has not been mistaken.
They are currently on hiatus for the ramen tastings, but it’s still worth getting on their list for future events.
To read more about ramen: you can click on the infographic for a full sized version.