If Taiwanese-Japanese Momofuku Ando, who invented ramen instant noodles is alive today, he would have celebrated his 105th birthday. Besides his inspiring restaurants, he earned the adoration of a nation with his instant noodles and desire to cure world hunger. In a 2000 poll, Japanese respondents said instant ramen was the country’s top invention of the 20th century. Momofuku Ando died at 96 in January 2007, but his legacy lives.

Momofuku Ando

Taiwanese-Japanese inventor Momofuku Ando introduced to the world instant ramen.

Momofuku Ando was born as Wu Baifu in Taiwan in 1910, and after World War II he emigrated to Japan and took his new name. There, he pursued different jobs, including sock sales and making salt, while he fiddle with recipes. He started his first business at age 22, found the inspiration to his greatest success while walking through the streets of post-World War II Japan. People were waiting for hours in long lines, just for a comforting bowl of ramen. Realizing hunger was the most pressing issue facing Japan, he felt a desire to help the people of his country.

Momofuku Ando

Google Doodle : Momofuku Ando’s 105th Birthday.

Ando didn’t found Nissin until 1958. By that time, he was in his 40s. The cup of noodles was not an instant success, as Time notes: “[T]he road was not easy… Ando struggled to find the right balance and create noodles that were tasty but did not become mush when boiled. The secret, he learned from his wife, was to spray the noodles with chicken soup and then fry them in tempura oil“.

The product also got its start as a relatively luxurious convenience food, since the first “Chikin Ramen” sold in Japan cost more than fresh noodles did. Regardless of how unselfish instant noodles were, the story remains inspiring. He followed that with the 1971 invention of Cup Noodles, which were inspired by customers who reused coffee cups as ramen bowls. Instant noodles took off, and competitors like Maruchan built off the innovation.

Just imagine, with these four simple steps : “Peel off the lid. Pour boiling water into the cup. Let sit for three minutes. Stir well and serve”, we can easily enjoy eating ramen noodles.

Category: Interesting

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