Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Cup Noodle Museum

Everybody knows Cup Noodle (or Cup Noodles outside of Japan), but maybe not everybody knows it was invented in Osaka in 1958. At least I didn’t before I moved here. And there is a real Cup Noodle Museum here in Osaka too, it’s officially called the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, because this guy named Momofuku Ando invented instant ‘chikin’ ramen in 1958. In 1971, his company Nissin introduced the Cup Noodle featuring instant ramen in a waterproof plastic foam container, and these days the Cup Noodle is known and eaten all over the world and even in space! In 2005 Momofuku Ando provided Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi with a specially designed vacuum packed instant noodle to eat during a mission aboard the U.S. space shuttle Discovery. The museum features a movie of the astronaut eating his noodles in space and it’s absolutely fascinating to watch.
There are a lot of interesting things to see at the museum like hundreds of different Cups of Noodle and other instant ramen packages from Japan and other countries, the history of instant ramen, the brand’s mascot a cute cartoon chick name Hiyokochan. But the best part of the museum (without an entrance fee) is the ‘My Cup Noodle Factory’.
You get to make your very own Cup Noodle in that factory! You start with an empty and half-blank cup which you get to draw on with colored markers, then you insert instant ramen in your cup at the Noodle Shooter and choose 4 fillings and a soup taste also to be added to your cup. After that they seal the cup and shrink wrap it for you and give you a special blow-up bag to showcase your beautiful Cup Noodle while walking around Osaka.
Creating your own Cup Noodle inside and outside for only 300 yen, was the reason we came all the way out to this tiny museum in Ikeda. We had to stand in line for a very long time thanks to the Obon crowd, but it was all worth it. We all got to be creative with markers and fillings, my combination was: salt-flavored soup with bacon, beef, shrimp and kimchi. It was a lot of fun even though I don’t actually like instant ramen. So I’m going to have Yasu (who loves instant ramen) help me eat my Cup Noodle , which has to be rather quickly as unfortunately, the Cup Noodle expires after a month.
Another thing in the museum that I loved was the Instant Ramen Tunnel, which is basically a long wall (and part of the ceiling) covered in Cup Noodle and instant ramen packages in chronological order. There were so many different packages, here a just a few:
After all the instant ramen information (even though everything is in Japanese) and creating our own Cup Noodle, it only seemed fit to have ramen for lunch. But they didn’t surprisingly they didn’t sell any ramen (not even instant) in the museum. Of course we could find a hot water source somewhere and eat our own Cup Noodle, but then we wouldn’t get to show our Cup Noodle off at home. So we went to a small ramen restaurant around the corner, which of course had another line of people waiting there, and again we were patient enough to wait.
I don’t really like ramen, instant or fresh, but the tonkotsu I tried here was actually pretty delicious. The guys loved their ramen too, which only seems logical because for some reason I think it’s typical male food. Anyway, our noodle filled morning was a great success, and I can’t wait to go back with Yasu. I recommend this tiny and cheap museum to all noodle-lovers and even non-noodle lovers like me.

1 comment:

Louise said...

Het waren uiteindelijk leuke souveniertjes voor opa en oma... zij vonden het ietwat te pittig maar de smaak was goed. Toch ergens wel jammer dat we toch niet die ons zelf hebben geproefd... maar ach, wie weet komen we nog eens ooit terug toch?
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