Part II: Instant Ramen

What would eventually grow into a global industry was brought about by Momofuku Ando's (1910-2007) development of the first instant noodles—pre-cooked, dried ramen noodles sold in a packet—in 1958. He broadcast nonstop instant noodle commercials, introducing the product to Japanese across the nation at a period when television in Japan was just starting to gain popularity. In order to promote his instant noodles in stores, Ando went to the United States in 1966. Local supermarket employees took the ramen noodles out of the bag, split them in half, put them in a paper cup, added hot water, and then fork-ate them.

This incident gave Ando the idea to create new cup-style fast noodles because at the time, not many Americans used chopsticks or owned noodle bowls. Approximately 100 billion servings of quick noodles are now consumed annually worldwide.