How Cup Noodles Became the Instant Ramen for Americans

When you see a container of Cup Noodles at a convenience store, you might think of dorm rooms and cheap meals, but there was a time when eating them was actually glamorous. Cup Noodles was first marketed in Japan in 1971. The “s” was left off of the word "Noodle" because of a translation mistake. The portable instant ramen eaten with a fork straight from the red, white and gold cups was a Japanese industrial food with an American flair. Ando Momfuku not only invented instant ramen, but in 1948 founded Nissin Foods. He wanted to make noodles that people could easily eat at home, and after several failed attempts, inspiration struck in 1958. While observing his wife frying tempura, he noticed that oil removed the moisture. He then realized that fried and dried noodles could be re-hydrated when boiled. He added seasoning powder and dehydrated toppings that made countless flavor combinations possible and the company was on its way. Over time, the manufacturing process improved and prices dropped, and instant ramen became a go-to food for economically precarious populations.