November 25, 2016

A Taste of the Future

By Stuart Turner

I was amazed to discover what the Japanese consider to be their most important invention of the 20th century.

It isn't advances in artificial intelligence or the superfast bullet trains, or even delicious new sushi recipes - it is instant noodles.

Pot Noodle is the most popular brand in the UK but I prefer the original and the best from Japan. They were invented by Momofuko Ando in 1958 and rocketed in popularity during the post-war period when they were a taste of the future.

Ando's first noodles were sold under the brand name of Chikin Ramen and his company Nissin also invented Cup Noodles in 1971 and introduced the idea of adding dried vegetables and flavourings. A diet of instant noodles never did Ando any harm as he died in 2007 aged 96 and only retired as Nissin chairman in 2005.

Nowadays there are hundreds of varieties of instant noodles and, whether you are microwaving or using the kettle, a tasty hot meal is only minutes away.

I decided to try a few different types of instant noodles, from authentic Japanese flavours to those with a western twist. Just add hot water, wait a couple of minutes and you're good to go.

As Ramen noodles are the original, I tried Ramen Noodles in Shoyu Soy Sauce Soup first which come with mixed vegetables and nori seaweed and were delicious.

I also munched my way through some Japanese BBQ noodles with Japanese style mustard mayo sauce which were the perfect mix of sweet and spicy.

When I was really hungry, I didn't even have to wait three minutes for my lunch as Yakisoba Salt and White Pepper noodles are ready in a minute.

After several filling and completely different tasting lunches, I am starting to see why the Japanese are so proud of their number one convenience food.

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