Last Updated: March 9, 2022

Ramen Facts (All The Things You Wish You Knew)

Ramen is another Japanese cuisine that has hit the world by storm recently. Ramen restaurants have popped up all over the place and there is nothing warmer and rejuvenating than a delicious broth filled with vegetables, soy sauce, miso, and some tender pork, beef, or chicken plus an egg.

I love ramen so much but there are some interesting facts about ramen and ramen noodles that none of us know without looking. Join me as I take a look at some great facts about Ramen so you know the history of this delicious Japanese dish.

Ramen was once Considered a Luxury Item

ramen noodles - a luxury item

When instant ramen noodles were first introduced to Japan’s grocery stores, they were actually six times the price of fresh ramen noodles, called udon noodles.

Instant ramen noodles were therefore considered a luxury, as why would you buy expensive instant noodles to eat ramen with, instead of the fresh udon noodles, it doesn’t make sense, does it?

Today, however, ramen noodles, instant noodles, are considered one of the most affordable food in the world and they are so affordable that they can be used in food shortages.

Cooking ramen noodles is so simple too, as just by adding boiling water you have a meal that you can eat, so long as you add a stock cube. Plus, eating ramen broth along with noodles, vegetables, and toppings makes a meal that everyone can enjoy and get the nutrients they need.

This is also why eating Ramen is so popular with students and is eaten worldwide at pretty much every college on the planet.

Japanese Believe that Ramen is one of their Greatest Inventions

A survey was taken in Tokyo in 2000 that included 2000 adults and the question was asked what the best Japanese invention was in the 20th century. The number one response was the best Japanese invention of the 20th century Ramen noodles and it beat everything including karaoke, walkmans, Nintendo, Pokemon.

Ramen is a Japanese cultural icon and they believe it’s such a great invention because it is so simple, all you need to do is add water to the ramen noodles, boil it away, and some seasoning, and you have a meal.

Instant noodles were actually invented by Momofuku Ando in 1958 and he literally changed the world by creating food that everyone can afford and kind of love on healthily. So long as one adds some protein, seaweed, other vegetables like green onion, or spinach, and especially if you make your own broths, then you can actually live on ramen.

If you were to live off instant ramen noodles alone it would only cost you around $150 to $200 a day, which is pretty crazy, and China eats more than any other country in the world.

There is a CupNoodles Museum in Japan

Japan loves ramen so much that they have created a Ramen museum, and this ramen museum opened in 1990 and was created by Momofuku Ando, the inventor of ramen noodles.

Inside the Yokohama ramen museum, you will find out everything about the history of instant ramen noodles and learn how one of Japan’s best inventions, ramen noodles were first invented.

Inside the museum, you’ll find a model ramen noodle factory where you can make your own unique ramen mixture, using one of the 5.4600 flavors of cup noodles as options.

You’ll also find a cup noodles-themed amusement park which opened in 1994 and there is a recreation of Tokyo in 1958 inside, the year ramen cup noodles were invented and it’s full of ramen stands that represent the country’s most famous ramen shops.

You’ll also find an old-school bar in the museum as well as snack shops, and souvenir shops, but do not leave this museum without making your own unique concoction of instant noodles as it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance.

China Consumes the Most Instant Ramen in the World

instant ramen noodles

So, you probably didn’t know that there is a World Instant Noodles Association, how crazy is that! It is this association that has confirmed that China consumes more ramen noodles than any other country in the world.
The stats say that 46 billion packs of ramen noodles every year, which is a pretty crazy number. But, this isn’t a surprise considering that it’s thought that ramen actually originated in China and they are Chinese wheat noodles.

There are two theories about how ramen noodles go to Japan. One is that during the 1660s a Chinese man called Zhu Shunsui after becoming a refugee in Japan to escape Manchu rule, was an advisor to Tokugawa Mitsukuni as he was a neo-Confucian scholar.

He brought ramen and served it to Mitsukuni, making him the first Japanese person to eat ramen in Japan. But this is thought of as a legend created by Japan to make a big deal out of ramen.

It’s actually thought that the ramen noodle came to Japan with Chinese immigrants between 1868-1912 in the Meiji period from China. The word “ramen” is actually the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word lamian, a Chinese noodle. Before the 1950s, ramen was called “shina soba,” or “Chinese soba” in Japan.

Ramen was the First Type of Noodle in Space

Momofuku Ando was the first noodle eaten in space and the inventor, Momofuku Ando, actually recreated ramen so that it would be easier to eat in space.

He designed the packet to be a lot better vacuum sealed and he made smaller noodles in the packet too so that it would be easier for astronauts to eat in zero gravity conditions.

Ando probably never dreamed his invention would actually be eaten in space and it happened in 2005 when Japanese astronaut, Soichi Noguchi took the Space Ramen Noodles to space and ate it when he went to space in the Discovery space shuttle.

It’s crazy to think about noodles, where they came from, and where they have reached these days.

Some People Eat Instant Noodles Uncooked

It might surprise you to hear that some people eat ramen instant noodles raw, without cooking them. Instead of adding hot water, one just sprinkles the flavor over the dried noodles and crunches them down.

David Chang, the owner of the Momofuku chain is probably the most famous person who chooses to eat flavored dry raw noodles instead of actually eating soup-based ramen.

There is a clever trick with ramen, which involves raw and cooked versions. Once your bowl of ramen is ready, simply sprinkle some raw noodles on top and it adds some crunchy texture to your bowl of broth and noodles.

Ramen Doesn’t Get its Yellow Color from Eggs

ramen noodles with egg

You might have thought that Ramen gets its yellow color from eggs but that is actually not the case. There are 4 ingredients required to make original ramen noodles which include wheat flour, water, salt, and kansui. Kansui is the part that gives the yellow color to the noodles.

Kansui is also the special ingredient that keeps ramen noodles from falling apart and it is actually alkaline mineral water that has potassium carbonate, sodium carbonate, and phosphoric acid in it. This combination of ingredients gives it the yellow color but it also stops the noodles from absorbing too much water and falling apart into mush.

Ramen is the Best-Selling Item at the Rikers Island Jail

Ramen, being one of the most popular foods in the world, is also the most popular food at the Rikers Island jail in the USA. This is mainly because of how simple it is to make, how affordable it is to buy, and that the inmates love it.

Ramen is actually traded as a currency in the jail, how cigarettes used to be in all the olden day movies.

About the Author Roger Timbrook

Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!

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