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7 Things You Didn't Know About American Chinese Food (Slideshow)

7 Things You Didn't Know About American Chinese Food (Slideshow)


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American Chinese food is a cuisine all on its own with little relation to traditional fare enjoyed in China

It’s a Mashup of Chinese, Japanese, and Italian Food (Among Others)

Chinese American dishes actually have multiple influences from many world cultures. Crab Rangoon, for example, is actually a French Polynesian-inspired dish from San Francisco. The Chinese Fortune Cookie is really more of a traditional Japanese cracker adapted for American Chinese restaurants, and many of the noodles used today are really Italian-inspired cuisine.

It Uses Vegetables That Aren’t Even Available in China

American Chinese cuisine is packed full of vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, and broccoli… problem is that none of these ingredients are native to China so very few traditional Chinese dishes were made with them. Traditional Chinese food actually uses a lot more green onions, daikon, and a bitter leafy broccoli. American Chinese food also tends to treat vegetables as a garnish, whereas in traditional Chinese cuisine, vegetables and rice (or noodles) are actually the main component of the dish.

The Hipsters Made It Popular

The West Coast bohemian culture really took to American Chinese cuisine in the 1920s, but it wasn’t until after World War II that it started to become really popular. Originally there were two menus available — an American one and a Chinese one, each catering to different preferences, though soon the beatnik palate started to dominate and the American menu was left standing.

The Canned Food Industry Took It Mainstream

A big difference between American Chinese food and the more traditional variety is the proliferation of dishes with sweet syrupy sauces. This is because many of the ingredients used canned fruits like pineapple and cherries, which came drowned in sugary syrups. The sweet and savory combinations proved a hit with the American public and the cheaper canned ingredients kept the prices lower, which seemed like a win-win for everyone.

Today even though some eateries offer healthier versions of these dishes made with natural ingredients, those canned-food flavors still haven’t changed... sweet and sour pork, anyone?

It Has Some "Interesting" Local Variations

American Chinese food has melded and adapted to satisfy a variety of palates across the U.S., from Chow Mein sandwiches in New England and the deliciously artery-clogging deep fried pupu platters, to a St. Paul’s Sandwich further west in Missouri, which is basically an egg foo yung patty with lettuce, a pickle, and mayo between two slices of white bread.

Chinese Takeout Containers Used to Be Oyster Pails

Those little white-carton wire-handled containers that are synonymous with Chinese takeout are actually a uniquely American invention, a Japanese-influenced origami design from Chicago native Frederick Weeks Wilcox. The invention was an update on the wooden-box oyster pail, which was used to transport raw oysters from the harbor to the urban areas where they could be shucked on the spot. When the live oyster trade started to ebb, the wooden pails were used to bring Chinese food home from restaurants for quick and easy dinners.

It Actually Comes From California

American Chinese food had its early beginnings on the West Coast, where it was brought to California by immigrants from the southern Chinese district of Toishan. Through much of the subsequent history Chinese immigration was severely limited so Chinese American food stuck to those early dishes and evolved from them: such favorites include chop suey, egg foo yung, and sweet and sour pork. They were associated mostly with the poor, rural dishes that were not eaten by most Chinese people.

When immigration laws relaxed, the market was flooded with newer dishes from Taiwan and Hong Kong, which added to the concoction of what we now consider American Chinese food.


10 Things About Instant Ramen You'll Be Embarrassed You Never Knew

Everyone loves ramen these days. Classic ramen restaurants populate the country's biggest cities, and people love the instant stuff so much they have turned it into a hamburger bun, a lobster roll and even a burrito. We just can't get enough of the salty and addictive noodles.

And as we all learned in college, instant ramen noodles are there for you, waiting to be cooked and ready to be eaten in just five minutes. Here are 10 things you never knew about your favorite go-to food, even if you eat it every day.

1. The first instant ramen was considered a luxury item in supermarkets.

Although today it's considered a college staple and something you eat if you're broke, instant ramen used to be quite expensive in Japan. Momofuku Ando, the creator of Nissin ramen products, invented "Chicken Ramen," an instant snack that could be eaten easily and anywhere in 1958, when he noticed food was scarce after World War II. But when it arrived on Japanese supermarket shelves, it was seen as a very expensive product since fresh udon noodles sold for one-sixth the cost of "Chicken Ramen."

2. It's the best-selling item at the Rikers Island jail.

The commissary at Rikers Island in New York needs to always make sure it is stocked up on Cup Noodles. It sells for 35 cents and, according to the New York Post, it's the most popular food item sold. Guards provide the people being held at Rikers with hot water to eat the beloved noodles. And sometimes, inmates discard the noodles and use the intense seasoning packets to flavor the bland cafeteria food.

3. Only the "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors of Nissin Top Ramen are vegetarian.

It may be hard to believe that the Nissin seasoning packets in the "Chicken," "Beef" and "Shrimp" flavors actually contain animal products, but they do. The "Chicken" flavor includes chicken fat and/or powder, the "Beef" flavor includes beef fat and/or powder and the "Shrimp" flavor includes shrimp powder. Remember: We're only talking about the Nissin brand, not Maruchan.

4. Some people (like David Chang) like to eat ramen without even cooking it.

Chang, founder of the Momofuku restaurant empire, explains in "Mind of a Chef," the appeal of biting into a chunk of uncooked ramen sprinkled with seasoning as an after-school snack:

"I think I was around eight years old. I'd come home from school and instead of having Hot Pockets and stuff, I had ramen. I didn't know it was bad for you to consume as a kid. I thought it was good for you."

5. Ramen is the Japanese word for Chinese "lo mein."

The Japanese owe it to the Chinese for the trendy food's name. According to "Being Japanese American," by Gil Asakawa, ramen is the Japanese pronunciation of the kanji characters for "lo mein" or "lau mein" in Chinese. However, there are competing theories, and other authors feel the most likely etymology is "lamian." Whichever is the case, it's no surprise that ramen is inspired by lo-mein, another boiled noodle dish invented centuries ago.

6. And China eats instant ramen more than any other country.

China's global demand for instant noodles is the highest, according to the World Instant Noodles Association (yes, that's a real thing). In 2013, China consumed more than 46 billion packets of ramen. Tong-Yi Instant Noodles, a popular Chinese brand, is sold almost everywhere, from Walmart to street stalls.

7. According to one survey, the Japanese consider ramen their best invention.

Aside from all the technology Japan has gifted the world, in 2000 the Fuji Research Institute stated that Japanese people are the proudest of introducing instant noodles to the world. They feel this way because instant noodles truly "represent 'Made in Japan,'" by not only being a national food but a global one.

8. It would cost you only about $150 a year if you ate ramen for every meal.

It's a fact that instant ramen is cheap. Maybe that's why businesses are considered "ramen-profitable" when they are taking in more money than they are spending. The average package of ramen cost 14 cents, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2005, so it would only cost you a bit north of $150 dollars a year if you decide to live off of it. To put this in perspective: The average American spends $7,852 on food a year.

9. There's a whole museum in Yokohama, Japan dedicated to Cup Noodles.

It's called the CupNoodles Museum, and it's dedicated to the history of the product and the mind of Momofuku Ando. The museum showcases a "My CUPNOODLES Factory," where visitors can make their own ramen concoctions and include cute customized naruto (fish cake) pieces with animals printed on them. The museum website states that there are 5,460 flavor combinations.

10. The first noodles ever consumed in space were instant ramen noodles.

Momofuku Ando wanted to make ramen portable and easy to eat not only on earth, but also in space, and he succeeded in 2005. Two years before he died, Ando created "Space Ram," a vacuum-packed ramen made with smaller noodles (so they can be cooked without using boiled water) and a thicker broth (to prevent dispersal). It was made for Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi's trip in the Discovery space shuttle.

Bonus: Justin Timberlake's hair in the '90s was an unintentional advertisement for instant ramen.

We hope this style comes back soon.

Want to read more from HuffPost Taste? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the picture of the ramen at the museum as being at the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum (which itself was incorrectly located in Osaka). It is, in fact, at the CUPNOODLES Museum in Yokohama. Maruchan's "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors of Top Ramen were also incorrectly described as vegetarian. Only Nissin's flavors are vegetarian. Maruchan's "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors are not. Language has also been amended to address competing theories on the etymology of "ramen," and to provide more exact figures for the average price of a package.


10 Things About Instant Ramen You'll Be Embarrassed You Never Knew

Everyone loves ramen these days. Classic ramen restaurants populate the country's biggest cities, and people love the instant stuff so much they have turned it into a hamburger bun, a lobster roll and even a burrito. We just can't get enough of the salty and addictive noodles.

And as we all learned in college, instant ramen noodles are there for you, waiting to be cooked and ready to be eaten in just five minutes. Here are 10 things you never knew about your favorite go-to food, even if you eat it every day.

1. The first instant ramen was considered a luxury item in supermarkets.

Although today it's considered a college staple and something you eat if you're broke, instant ramen used to be quite expensive in Japan. Momofuku Ando, the creator of Nissin ramen products, invented "Chicken Ramen," an instant snack that could be eaten easily and anywhere in 1958, when he noticed food was scarce after World War II. But when it arrived on Japanese supermarket shelves, it was seen as a very expensive product since fresh udon noodles sold for one-sixth the cost of "Chicken Ramen."

2. It's the best-selling item at the Rikers Island jail.

The commissary at Rikers Island in New York needs to always make sure it is stocked up on Cup Noodles. It sells for 35 cents and, according to the New York Post, it's the most popular food item sold. Guards provide the people being held at Rikers with hot water to eat the beloved noodles. And sometimes, inmates discard the noodles and use the intense seasoning packets to flavor the bland cafeteria food.

3. Only the "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors of Nissin Top Ramen are vegetarian.

It may be hard to believe that the Nissin seasoning packets in the "Chicken," "Beef" and "Shrimp" flavors actually contain animal products, but they do. The "Chicken" flavor includes chicken fat and/or powder, the "Beef" flavor includes beef fat and/or powder and the "Shrimp" flavor includes shrimp powder. Remember: We're only talking about the Nissin brand, not Maruchan.

4. Some people (like David Chang) like to eat ramen without even cooking it.

Chang, founder of the Momofuku restaurant empire, explains in "Mind of a Chef," the appeal of biting into a chunk of uncooked ramen sprinkled with seasoning as an after-school snack:

"I think I was around eight years old. I'd come home from school and instead of having Hot Pockets and stuff, I had ramen. I didn't know it was bad for you to consume as a kid. I thought it was good for you."

5. Ramen is the Japanese word for Chinese "lo mein."

The Japanese owe it to the Chinese for the trendy food's name. According to "Being Japanese American," by Gil Asakawa, ramen is the Japanese pronunciation of the kanji characters for "lo mein" or "lau mein" in Chinese. However, there are competing theories, and other authors feel the most likely etymology is "lamian." Whichever is the case, it's no surprise that ramen is inspired by lo-mein, another boiled noodle dish invented centuries ago.

6. And China eats instant ramen more than any other country.

China's global demand for instant noodles is the highest, according to the World Instant Noodles Association (yes, that's a real thing). In 2013, China consumed more than 46 billion packets of ramen. Tong-Yi Instant Noodles, a popular Chinese brand, is sold almost everywhere, from Walmart to street stalls.

7. According to one survey, the Japanese consider ramen their best invention.

Aside from all the technology Japan has gifted the world, in 2000 the Fuji Research Institute stated that Japanese people are the proudest of introducing instant noodles to the world. They feel this way because instant noodles truly "represent 'Made in Japan,'" by not only being a national food but a global one.

8. It would cost you only about $150 a year if you ate ramen for every meal.

It's a fact that instant ramen is cheap. Maybe that's why businesses are considered "ramen-profitable" when they are taking in more money than they are spending. The average package of ramen cost 14 cents, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2005, so it would only cost you a bit north of $150 dollars a year if you decide to live off of it. To put this in perspective: The average American spends $7,852 on food a year.

9. There's a whole museum in Yokohama, Japan dedicated to Cup Noodles.

It's called the CupNoodles Museum, and it's dedicated to the history of the product and the mind of Momofuku Ando. The museum showcases a "My CUPNOODLES Factory," where visitors can make their own ramen concoctions and include cute customized naruto (fish cake) pieces with animals printed on them. The museum website states that there are 5,460 flavor combinations.

10. The first noodles ever consumed in space were instant ramen noodles.

Momofuku Ando wanted to make ramen portable and easy to eat not only on earth, but also in space, and he succeeded in 2005. Two years before he died, Ando created "Space Ram," a vacuum-packed ramen made with smaller noodles (so they can be cooked without using boiled water) and a thicker broth (to prevent dispersal). It was made for Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi's trip in the Discovery space shuttle.

Bonus: Justin Timberlake's hair in the '90s was an unintentional advertisement for instant ramen.

We hope this style comes back soon.

Want to read more from HuffPost Taste? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the picture of the ramen at the museum as being at the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum (which itself was incorrectly located in Osaka). It is, in fact, at the CUPNOODLES Museum in Yokohama. Maruchan's "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors of Top Ramen were also incorrectly described as vegetarian. Only Nissin's flavors are vegetarian. Maruchan's "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors are not. Language has also been amended to address competing theories on the etymology of "ramen," and to provide more exact figures for the average price of a package.


10 Things About Instant Ramen You'll Be Embarrassed You Never Knew

Everyone loves ramen these days. Classic ramen restaurants populate the country's biggest cities, and people love the instant stuff so much they have turned it into a hamburger bun, a lobster roll and even a burrito. We just can't get enough of the salty and addictive noodles.

And as we all learned in college, instant ramen noodles are there for you, waiting to be cooked and ready to be eaten in just five minutes. Here are 10 things you never knew about your favorite go-to food, even if you eat it every day.

1. The first instant ramen was considered a luxury item in supermarkets.

Although today it's considered a college staple and something you eat if you're broke, instant ramen used to be quite expensive in Japan. Momofuku Ando, the creator of Nissin ramen products, invented "Chicken Ramen," an instant snack that could be eaten easily and anywhere in 1958, when he noticed food was scarce after World War II. But when it arrived on Japanese supermarket shelves, it was seen as a very expensive product since fresh udon noodles sold for one-sixth the cost of "Chicken Ramen."

2. It's the best-selling item at the Rikers Island jail.

The commissary at Rikers Island in New York needs to always make sure it is stocked up on Cup Noodles. It sells for 35 cents and, according to the New York Post, it's the most popular food item sold. Guards provide the people being held at Rikers with hot water to eat the beloved noodles. And sometimes, inmates discard the noodles and use the intense seasoning packets to flavor the bland cafeteria food.

3. Only the "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors of Nissin Top Ramen are vegetarian.

It may be hard to believe that the Nissin seasoning packets in the "Chicken," "Beef" and "Shrimp" flavors actually contain animal products, but they do. The "Chicken" flavor includes chicken fat and/or powder, the "Beef" flavor includes beef fat and/or powder and the "Shrimp" flavor includes shrimp powder. Remember: We're only talking about the Nissin brand, not Maruchan.

4. Some people (like David Chang) like to eat ramen without even cooking it.

Chang, founder of the Momofuku restaurant empire, explains in "Mind of a Chef," the appeal of biting into a chunk of uncooked ramen sprinkled with seasoning as an after-school snack:

"I think I was around eight years old. I'd come home from school and instead of having Hot Pockets and stuff, I had ramen. I didn't know it was bad for you to consume as a kid. I thought it was good for you."

5. Ramen is the Japanese word for Chinese "lo mein."

The Japanese owe it to the Chinese for the trendy food's name. According to "Being Japanese American," by Gil Asakawa, ramen is the Japanese pronunciation of the kanji characters for "lo mein" or "lau mein" in Chinese. However, there are competing theories, and other authors feel the most likely etymology is "lamian." Whichever is the case, it's no surprise that ramen is inspired by lo-mein, another boiled noodle dish invented centuries ago.

6. And China eats instant ramen more than any other country.

China's global demand for instant noodles is the highest, according to the World Instant Noodles Association (yes, that's a real thing). In 2013, China consumed more than 46 billion packets of ramen. Tong-Yi Instant Noodles, a popular Chinese brand, is sold almost everywhere, from Walmart to street stalls.

7. According to one survey, the Japanese consider ramen their best invention.

Aside from all the technology Japan has gifted the world, in 2000 the Fuji Research Institute stated that Japanese people are the proudest of introducing instant noodles to the world. They feel this way because instant noodles truly "represent 'Made in Japan,'" by not only being a national food but a global one.

8. It would cost you only about $150 a year if you ate ramen for every meal.

It's a fact that instant ramen is cheap. Maybe that's why businesses are considered "ramen-profitable" when they are taking in more money than they are spending. The average package of ramen cost 14 cents, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2005, so it would only cost you a bit north of $150 dollars a year if you decide to live off of it. To put this in perspective: The average American spends $7,852 on food a year.

9. There's a whole museum in Yokohama, Japan dedicated to Cup Noodles.

It's called the CupNoodles Museum, and it's dedicated to the history of the product and the mind of Momofuku Ando. The museum showcases a "My CUPNOODLES Factory," where visitors can make their own ramen concoctions and include cute customized naruto (fish cake) pieces with animals printed on them. The museum website states that there are 5,460 flavor combinations.

10. The first noodles ever consumed in space were instant ramen noodles.

Momofuku Ando wanted to make ramen portable and easy to eat not only on earth, but also in space, and he succeeded in 2005. Two years before he died, Ando created "Space Ram," a vacuum-packed ramen made with smaller noodles (so they can be cooked without using boiled water) and a thicker broth (to prevent dispersal). It was made for Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi's trip in the Discovery space shuttle.

Bonus: Justin Timberlake's hair in the '90s was an unintentional advertisement for instant ramen.

We hope this style comes back soon.

Want to read more from HuffPost Taste? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the picture of the ramen at the museum as being at the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum (which itself was incorrectly located in Osaka). It is, in fact, at the CUPNOODLES Museum in Yokohama. Maruchan's "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors of Top Ramen were also incorrectly described as vegetarian. Only Nissin's flavors are vegetarian. Maruchan's "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors are not. Language has also been amended to address competing theories on the etymology of "ramen," and to provide more exact figures for the average price of a package.


10 Things About Instant Ramen You'll Be Embarrassed You Never Knew

Everyone loves ramen these days. Classic ramen restaurants populate the country's biggest cities, and people love the instant stuff so much they have turned it into a hamburger bun, a lobster roll and even a burrito. We just can't get enough of the salty and addictive noodles.

And as we all learned in college, instant ramen noodles are there for you, waiting to be cooked and ready to be eaten in just five minutes. Here are 10 things you never knew about your favorite go-to food, even if you eat it every day.

1. The first instant ramen was considered a luxury item in supermarkets.

Although today it's considered a college staple and something you eat if you're broke, instant ramen used to be quite expensive in Japan. Momofuku Ando, the creator of Nissin ramen products, invented "Chicken Ramen," an instant snack that could be eaten easily and anywhere in 1958, when he noticed food was scarce after World War II. But when it arrived on Japanese supermarket shelves, it was seen as a very expensive product since fresh udon noodles sold for one-sixth the cost of "Chicken Ramen."

2. It's the best-selling item at the Rikers Island jail.

The commissary at Rikers Island in New York needs to always make sure it is stocked up on Cup Noodles. It sells for 35 cents and, according to the New York Post, it's the most popular food item sold. Guards provide the people being held at Rikers with hot water to eat the beloved noodles. And sometimes, inmates discard the noodles and use the intense seasoning packets to flavor the bland cafeteria food.

3. Only the "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors of Nissin Top Ramen are vegetarian.

It may be hard to believe that the Nissin seasoning packets in the "Chicken," "Beef" and "Shrimp" flavors actually contain animal products, but they do. The "Chicken" flavor includes chicken fat and/or powder, the "Beef" flavor includes beef fat and/or powder and the "Shrimp" flavor includes shrimp powder. Remember: We're only talking about the Nissin brand, not Maruchan.

4. Some people (like David Chang) like to eat ramen without even cooking it.

Chang, founder of the Momofuku restaurant empire, explains in "Mind of a Chef," the appeal of biting into a chunk of uncooked ramen sprinkled with seasoning as an after-school snack:

"I think I was around eight years old. I'd come home from school and instead of having Hot Pockets and stuff, I had ramen. I didn't know it was bad for you to consume as a kid. I thought it was good for you."

5. Ramen is the Japanese word for Chinese "lo mein."

The Japanese owe it to the Chinese for the trendy food's name. According to "Being Japanese American," by Gil Asakawa, ramen is the Japanese pronunciation of the kanji characters for "lo mein" or "lau mein" in Chinese. However, there are competing theories, and other authors feel the most likely etymology is "lamian." Whichever is the case, it's no surprise that ramen is inspired by lo-mein, another boiled noodle dish invented centuries ago.

6. And China eats instant ramen more than any other country.

China's global demand for instant noodles is the highest, according to the World Instant Noodles Association (yes, that's a real thing). In 2013, China consumed more than 46 billion packets of ramen. Tong-Yi Instant Noodles, a popular Chinese brand, is sold almost everywhere, from Walmart to street stalls.

7. According to one survey, the Japanese consider ramen their best invention.

Aside from all the technology Japan has gifted the world, in 2000 the Fuji Research Institute stated that Japanese people are the proudest of introducing instant noodles to the world. They feel this way because instant noodles truly "represent 'Made in Japan,'" by not only being a national food but a global one.

8. It would cost you only about $150 a year if you ate ramen for every meal.

It's a fact that instant ramen is cheap. Maybe that's why businesses are considered "ramen-profitable" when they are taking in more money than they are spending. The average package of ramen cost 14 cents, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2005, so it would only cost you a bit north of $150 dollars a year if you decide to live off of it. To put this in perspective: The average American spends $7,852 on food a year.

9. There's a whole museum in Yokohama, Japan dedicated to Cup Noodles.

It's called the CupNoodles Museum, and it's dedicated to the history of the product and the mind of Momofuku Ando. The museum showcases a "My CUPNOODLES Factory," where visitors can make their own ramen concoctions and include cute customized naruto (fish cake) pieces with animals printed on them. The museum website states that there are 5,460 flavor combinations.

10. The first noodles ever consumed in space were instant ramen noodles.

Momofuku Ando wanted to make ramen portable and easy to eat not only on earth, but also in space, and he succeeded in 2005. Two years before he died, Ando created "Space Ram," a vacuum-packed ramen made with smaller noodles (so they can be cooked without using boiled water) and a thicker broth (to prevent dispersal). It was made for Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi's trip in the Discovery space shuttle.

Bonus: Justin Timberlake's hair in the '90s was an unintentional advertisement for instant ramen.

We hope this style comes back soon.

Want to read more from HuffPost Taste? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the picture of the ramen at the museum as being at the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum (which itself was incorrectly located in Osaka). It is, in fact, at the CUPNOODLES Museum in Yokohama. Maruchan's "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors of Top Ramen were also incorrectly described as vegetarian. Only Nissin's flavors are vegetarian. Maruchan's "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors are not. Language has also been amended to address competing theories on the etymology of "ramen," and to provide more exact figures for the average price of a package.


10 Things About Instant Ramen You'll Be Embarrassed You Never Knew

Everyone loves ramen these days. Classic ramen restaurants populate the country's biggest cities, and people love the instant stuff so much they have turned it into a hamburger bun, a lobster roll and even a burrito. We just can't get enough of the salty and addictive noodles.

And as we all learned in college, instant ramen noodles are there for you, waiting to be cooked and ready to be eaten in just five minutes. Here are 10 things you never knew about your favorite go-to food, even if you eat it every day.

1. The first instant ramen was considered a luxury item in supermarkets.

Although today it's considered a college staple and something you eat if you're broke, instant ramen used to be quite expensive in Japan. Momofuku Ando, the creator of Nissin ramen products, invented "Chicken Ramen," an instant snack that could be eaten easily and anywhere in 1958, when he noticed food was scarce after World War II. But when it arrived on Japanese supermarket shelves, it was seen as a very expensive product since fresh udon noodles sold for one-sixth the cost of "Chicken Ramen."

2. It's the best-selling item at the Rikers Island jail.

The commissary at Rikers Island in New York needs to always make sure it is stocked up on Cup Noodles. It sells for 35 cents and, according to the New York Post, it's the most popular food item sold. Guards provide the people being held at Rikers with hot water to eat the beloved noodles. And sometimes, inmates discard the noodles and use the intense seasoning packets to flavor the bland cafeteria food.

3. Only the "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors of Nissin Top Ramen are vegetarian.

It may be hard to believe that the Nissin seasoning packets in the "Chicken," "Beef" and "Shrimp" flavors actually contain animal products, but they do. The "Chicken" flavor includes chicken fat and/or powder, the "Beef" flavor includes beef fat and/or powder and the "Shrimp" flavor includes shrimp powder. Remember: We're only talking about the Nissin brand, not Maruchan.

4. Some people (like David Chang) like to eat ramen without even cooking it.

Chang, founder of the Momofuku restaurant empire, explains in "Mind of a Chef," the appeal of biting into a chunk of uncooked ramen sprinkled with seasoning as an after-school snack:

"I think I was around eight years old. I'd come home from school and instead of having Hot Pockets and stuff, I had ramen. I didn't know it was bad for you to consume as a kid. I thought it was good for you."

5. Ramen is the Japanese word for Chinese "lo mein."

The Japanese owe it to the Chinese for the trendy food's name. According to "Being Japanese American," by Gil Asakawa, ramen is the Japanese pronunciation of the kanji characters for "lo mein" or "lau mein" in Chinese. However, there are competing theories, and other authors feel the most likely etymology is "lamian." Whichever is the case, it's no surprise that ramen is inspired by lo-mein, another boiled noodle dish invented centuries ago.

6. And China eats instant ramen more than any other country.

China's global demand for instant noodles is the highest, according to the World Instant Noodles Association (yes, that's a real thing). In 2013, China consumed more than 46 billion packets of ramen. Tong-Yi Instant Noodles, a popular Chinese brand, is sold almost everywhere, from Walmart to street stalls.

7. According to one survey, the Japanese consider ramen their best invention.

Aside from all the technology Japan has gifted the world, in 2000 the Fuji Research Institute stated that Japanese people are the proudest of introducing instant noodles to the world. They feel this way because instant noodles truly "represent 'Made in Japan,'" by not only being a national food but a global one.

8. It would cost you only about $150 a year if you ate ramen for every meal.

It's a fact that instant ramen is cheap. Maybe that's why businesses are considered "ramen-profitable" when they are taking in more money than they are spending. The average package of ramen cost 14 cents, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2005, so it would only cost you a bit north of $150 dollars a year if you decide to live off of it. To put this in perspective: The average American spends $7,852 on food a year.

9. There's a whole museum in Yokohama, Japan dedicated to Cup Noodles.

It's called the CupNoodles Museum, and it's dedicated to the history of the product and the mind of Momofuku Ando. The museum showcases a "My CUPNOODLES Factory," where visitors can make their own ramen concoctions and include cute customized naruto (fish cake) pieces with animals printed on them. The museum website states that there are 5,460 flavor combinations.

10. The first noodles ever consumed in space were instant ramen noodles.

Momofuku Ando wanted to make ramen portable and easy to eat not only on earth, but also in space, and he succeeded in 2005. Two years before he died, Ando created "Space Ram," a vacuum-packed ramen made with smaller noodles (so they can be cooked without using boiled water) and a thicker broth (to prevent dispersal). It was made for Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi's trip in the Discovery space shuttle.

Bonus: Justin Timberlake's hair in the '90s was an unintentional advertisement for instant ramen.

We hope this style comes back soon.

Want to read more from HuffPost Taste? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the picture of the ramen at the museum as being at the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum (which itself was incorrectly located in Osaka). It is, in fact, at the CUPNOODLES Museum in Yokohama. Maruchan's "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors of Top Ramen were also incorrectly described as vegetarian. Only Nissin's flavors are vegetarian. Maruchan's "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors are not. Language has also been amended to address competing theories on the etymology of "ramen," and to provide more exact figures for the average price of a package.


10 Things About Instant Ramen You'll Be Embarrassed You Never Knew

Everyone loves ramen these days. Classic ramen restaurants populate the country's biggest cities, and people love the instant stuff so much they have turned it into a hamburger bun, a lobster roll and even a burrito. We just can't get enough of the salty and addictive noodles.

And as we all learned in college, instant ramen noodles are there for you, waiting to be cooked and ready to be eaten in just five minutes. Here are 10 things you never knew about your favorite go-to food, even if you eat it every day.

1. The first instant ramen was considered a luxury item in supermarkets.

Although today it's considered a college staple and something you eat if you're broke, instant ramen used to be quite expensive in Japan. Momofuku Ando, the creator of Nissin ramen products, invented "Chicken Ramen," an instant snack that could be eaten easily and anywhere in 1958, when he noticed food was scarce after World War II. But when it arrived on Japanese supermarket shelves, it was seen as a very expensive product since fresh udon noodles sold for one-sixth the cost of "Chicken Ramen."

2. It's the best-selling item at the Rikers Island jail.

The commissary at Rikers Island in New York needs to always make sure it is stocked up on Cup Noodles. It sells for 35 cents and, according to the New York Post, it's the most popular food item sold. Guards provide the people being held at Rikers with hot water to eat the beloved noodles. And sometimes, inmates discard the noodles and use the intense seasoning packets to flavor the bland cafeteria food.

3. Only the "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors of Nissin Top Ramen are vegetarian.

It may be hard to believe that the Nissin seasoning packets in the "Chicken," "Beef" and "Shrimp" flavors actually contain animal products, but they do. The "Chicken" flavor includes chicken fat and/or powder, the "Beef" flavor includes beef fat and/or powder and the "Shrimp" flavor includes shrimp powder. Remember: We're only talking about the Nissin brand, not Maruchan.

4. Some people (like David Chang) like to eat ramen without even cooking it.

Chang, founder of the Momofuku restaurant empire, explains in "Mind of a Chef," the appeal of biting into a chunk of uncooked ramen sprinkled with seasoning as an after-school snack:

"I think I was around eight years old. I'd come home from school and instead of having Hot Pockets and stuff, I had ramen. I didn't know it was bad for you to consume as a kid. I thought it was good for you."

5. Ramen is the Japanese word for Chinese "lo mein."

The Japanese owe it to the Chinese for the trendy food's name. According to "Being Japanese American," by Gil Asakawa, ramen is the Japanese pronunciation of the kanji characters for "lo mein" or "lau mein" in Chinese. However, there are competing theories, and other authors feel the most likely etymology is "lamian." Whichever is the case, it's no surprise that ramen is inspired by lo-mein, another boiled noodle dish invented centuries ago.

6. And China eats instant ramen more than any other country.

China's global demand for instant noodles is the highest, according to the World Instant Noodles Association (yes, that's a real thing). In 2013, China consumed more than 46 billion packets of ramen. Tong-Yi Instant Noodles, a popular Chinese brand, is sold almost everywhere, from Walmart to street stalls.

7. According to one survey, the Japanese consider ramen their best invention.

Aside from all the technology Japan has gifted the world, in 2000 the Fuji Research Institute stated that Japanese people are the proudest of introducing instant noodles to the world. They feel this way because instant noodles truly "represent 'Made in Japan,'" by not only being a national food but a global one.

8. It would cost you only about $150 a year if you ate ramen for every meal.

It's a fact that instant ramen is cheap. Maybe that's why businesses are considered "ramen-profitable" when they are taking in more money than they are spending. The average package of ramen cost 14 cents, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2005, so it would only cost you a bit north of $150 dollars a year if you decide to live off of it. To put this in perspective: The average American spends $7,852 on food a year.

9. There's a whole museum in Yokohama, Japan dedicated to Cup Noodles.

It's called the CupNoodles Museum, and it's dedicated to the history of the product and the mind of Momofuku Ando. The museum showcases a "My CUPNOODLES Factory," where visitors can make their own ramen concoctions and include cute customized naruto (fish cake) pieces with animals printed on them. The museum website states that there are 5,460 flavor combinations.

10. The first noodles ever consumed in space were instant ramen noodles.

Momofuku Ando wanted to make ramen portable and easy to eat not only on earth, but also in space, and he succeeded in 2005. Two years before he died, Ando created "Space Ram," a vacuum-packed ramen made with smaller noodles (so they can be cooked without using boiled water) and a thicker broth (to prevent dispersal). It was made for Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi's trip in the Discovery space shuttle.

Bonus: Justin Timberlake's hair in the '90s was an unintentional advertisement for instant ramen.

We hope this style comes back soon.

Want to read more from HuffPost Taste? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the picture of the ramen at the museum as being at the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum (which itself was incorrectly located in Osaka). It is, in fact, at the CUPNOODLES Museum in Yokohama. Maruchan's "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors of Top Ramen were also incorrectly described as vegetarian. Only Nissin's flavors are vegetarian. Maruchan's "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors are not. Language has also been amended to address competing theories on the etymology of "ramen," and to provide more exact figures for the average price of a package.


10 Things About Instant Ramen You'll Be Embarrassed You Never Knew

Everyone loves ramen these days. Classic ramen restaurants populate the country's biggest cities, and people love the instant stuff so much they have turned it into a hamburger bun, a lobster roll and even a burrito. We just can't get enough of the salty and addictive noodles.

And as we all learned in college, instant ramen noodles are there for you, waiting to be cooked and ready to be eaten in just five minutes. Here are 10 things you never knew about your favorite go-to food, even if you eat it every day.

1. The first instant ramen was considered a luxury item in supermarkets.

Although today it's considered a college staple and something you eat if you're broke, instant ramen used to be quite expensive in Japan. Momofuku Ando, the creator of Nissin ramen products, invented "Chicken Ramen," an instant snack that could be eaten easily and anywhere in 1958, when he noticed food was scarce after World War II. But when it arrived on Japanese supermarket shelves, it was seen as a very expensive product since fresh udon noodles sold for one-sixth the cost of "Chicken Ramen."

2. It's the best-selling item at the Rikers Island jail.

The commissary at Rikers Island in New York needs to always make sure it is stocked up on Cup Noodles. It sells for 35 cents and, according to the New York Post, it's the most popular food item sold. Guards provide the people being held at Rikers with hot water to eat the beloved noodles. And sometimes, inmates discard the noodles and use the intense seasoning packets to flavor the bland cafeteria food.

3. Only the "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors of Nissin Top Ramen are vegetarian.

It may be hard to believe that the Nissin seasoning packets in the "Chicken," "Beef" and "Shrimp" flavors actually contain animal products, but they do. The "Chicken" flavor includes chicken fat and/or powder, the "Beef" flavor includes beef fat and/or powder and the "Shrimp" flavor includes shrimp powder. Remember: We're only talking about the Nissin brand, not Maruchan.

4. Some people (like David Chang) like to eat ramen without even cooking it.

Chang, founder of the Momofuku restaurant empire, explains in "Mind of a Chef," the appeal of biting into a chunk of uncooked ramen sprinkled with seasoning as an after-school snack:

"I think I was around eight years old. I'd come home from school and instead of having Hot Pockets and stuff, I had ramen. I didn't know it was bad for you to consume as a kid. I thought it was good for you."

5. Ramen is the Japanese word for Chinese "lo mein."

The Japanese owe it to the Chinese for the trendy food's name. According to "Being Japanese American," by Gil Asakawa, ramen is the Japanese pronunciation of the kanji characters for "lo mein" or "lau mein" in Chinese. However, there are competing theories, and other authors feel the most likely etymology is "lamian." Whichever is the case, it's no surprise that ramen is inspired by lo-mein, another boiled noodle dish invented centuries ago.

6. And China eats instant ramen more than any other country.

China's global demand for instant noodles is the highest, according to the World Instant Noodles Association (yes, that's a real thing). In 2013, China consumed more than 46 billion packets of ramen. Tong-Yi Instant Noodles, a popular Chinese brand, is sold almost everywhere, from Walmart to street stalls.

7. According to one survey, the Japanese consider ramen their best invention.

Aside from all the technology Japan has gifted the world, in 2000 the Fuji Research Institute stated that Japanese people are the proudest of introducing instant noodles to the world. They feel this way because instant noodles truly "represent 'Made in Japan,'" by not only being a national food but a global one.

8. It would cost you only about $150 a year if you ate ramen for every meal.

It's a fact that instant ramen is cheap. Maybe that's why businesses are considered "ramen-profitable" when they are taking in more money than they are spending. The average package of ramen cost 14 cents, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2005, so it would only cost you a bit north of $150 dollars a year if you decide to live off of it. To put this in perspective: The average American spends $7,852 on food a year.

9. There's a whole museum in Yokohama, Japan dedicated to Cup Noodles.

It's called the CupNoodles Museum, and it's dedicated to the history of the product and the mind of Momofuku Ando. The museum showcases a "My CUPNOODLES Factory," where visitors can make their own ramen concoctions and include cute customized naruto (fish cake) pieces with animals printed on them. The museum website states that there are 5,460 flavor combinations.

10. The first noodles ever consumed in space were instant ramen noodles.

Momofuku Ando wanted to make ramen portable and easy to eat not only on earth, but also in space, and he succeeded in 2005. Two years before he died, Ando created "Space Ram," a vacuum-packed ramen made with smaller noodles (so they can be cooked without using boiled water) and a thicker broth (to prevent dispersal). It was made for Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi's trip in the Discovery space shuttle.

Bonus: Justin Timberlake's hair in the '90s was an unintentional advertisement for instant ramen.

We hope this style comes back soon.

Want to read more from HuffPost Taste? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the picture of the ramen at the museum as being at the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum (which itself was incorrectly located in Osaka). It is, in fact, at the CUPNOODLES Museum in Yokohama. Maruchan's "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors of Top Ramen were also incorrectly described as vegetarian. Only Nissin's flavors are vegetarian. Maruchan's "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors are not. Language has also been amended to address competing theories on the etymology of "ramen," and to provide more exact figures for the average price of a package.


10 Things About Instant Ramen You'll Be Embarrassed You Never Knew

Everyone loves ramen these days. Classic ramen restaurants populate the country's biggest cities, and people love the instant stuff so much they have turned it into a hamburger bun, a lobster roll and even a burrito. We just can't get enough of the salty and addictive noodles.

And as we all learned in college, instant ramen noodles are there for you, waiting to be cooked and ready to be eaten in just five minutes. Here are 10 things you never knew about your favorite go-to food, even if you eat it every day.

1. The first instant ramen was considered a luxury item in supermarkets.

Although today it's considered a college staple and something you eat if you're broke, instant ramen used to be quite expensive in Japan. Momofuku Ando, the creator of Nissin ramen products, invented "Chicken Ramen," an instant snack that could be eaten easily and anywhere in 1958, when he noticed food was scarce after World War II. But when it arrived on Japanese supermarket shelves, it was seen as a very expensive product since fresh udon noodles sold for one-sixth the cost of "Chicken Ramen."

2. It's the best-selling item at the Rikers Island jail.

The commissary at Rikers Island in New York needs to always make sure it is stocked up on Cup Noodles. It sells for 35 cents and, according to the New York Post, it's the most popular food item sold. Guards provide the people being held at Rikers with hot water to eat the beloved noodles. And sometimes, inmates discard the noodles and use the intense seasoning packets to flavor the bland cafeteria food.

3. Only the "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors of Nissin Top Ramen are vegetarian.

It may be hard to believe that the Nissin seasoning packets in the "Chicken," "Beef" and "Shrimp" flavors actually contain animal products, but they do. The "Chicken" flavor includes chicken fat and/or powder, the "Beef" flavor includes beef fat and/or powder and the "Shrimp" flavor includes shrimp powder. Remember: We're only talking about the Nissin brand, not Maruchan.

4. Some people (like David Chang) like to eat ramen without even cooking it.

Chang, founder of the Momofuku restaurant empire, explains in "Mind of a Chef," the appeal of biting into a chunk of uncooked ramen sprinkled with seasoning as an after-school snack:

"I think I was around eight years old. I'd come home from school and instead of having Hot Pockets and stuff, I had ramen. I didn't know it was bad for you to consume as a kid. I thought it was good for you."

5. Ramen is the Japanese word for Chinese "lo mein."

The Japanese owe it to the Chinese for the trendy food's name. According to "Being Japanese American," by Gil Asakawa, ramen is the Japanese pronunciation of the kanji characters for "lo mein" or "lau mein" in Chinese. However, there are competing theories, and other authors feel the most likely etymology is "lamian." Whichever is the case, it's no surprise that ramen is inspired by lo-mein, another boiled noodle dish invented centuries ago.

6. And China eats instant ramen more than any other country.

China's global demand for instant noodles is the highest, according to the World Instant Noodles Association (yes, that's a real thing). In 2013, China consumed more than 46 billion packets of ramen. Tong-Yi Instant Noodles, a popular Chinese brand, is sold almost everywhere, from Walmart to street stalls.

7. According to one survey, the Japanese consider ramen their best invention.

Aside from all the technology Japan has gifted the world, in 2000 the Fuji Research Institute stated that Japanese people are the proudest of introducing instant noodles to the world. They feel this way because instant noodles truly "represent 'Made in Japan,'" by not only being a national food but a global one.

8. It would cost you only about $150 a year if you ate ramen for every meal.

It's a fact that instant ramen is cheap. Maybe that's why businesses are considered "ramen-profitable" when they are taking in more money than they are spending. The average package of ramen cost 14 cents, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2005, so it would only cost you a bit north of $150 dollars a year if you decide to live off of it. To put this in perspective: The average American spends $7,852 on food a year.

9. There's a whole museum in Yokohama, Japan dedicated to Cup Noodles.

It's called the CupNoodles Museum, and it's dedicated to the history of the product and the mind of Momofuku Ando. The museum showcases a "My CUPNOODLES Factory," where visitors can make their own ramen concoctions and include cute customized naruto (fish cake) pieces with animals printed on them. The museum website states that there are 5,460 flavor combinations.

10. The first noodles ever consumed in space were instant ramen noodles.

Momofuku Ando wanted to make ramen portable and easy to eat not only on earth, but also in space, and he succeeded in 2005. Two years before he died, Ando created "Space Ram," a vacuum-packed ramen made with smaller noodles (so they can be cooked without using boiled water) and a thicker broth (to prevent dispersal). It was made for Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi's trip in the Discovery space shuttle.

Bonus: Justin Timberlake's hair in the '90s was an unintentional advertisement for instant ramen.

We hope this style comes back soon.

Want to read more from HuffPost Taste? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the picture of the ramen at the museum as being at the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum (which itself was incorrectly located in Osaka). It is, in fact, at the CUPNOODLES Museum in Yokohama. Maruchan's "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors of Top Ramen were also incorrectly described as vegetarian. Only Nissin's flavors are vegetarian. Maruchan's "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors are not. Language has also been amended to address competing theories on the etymology of "ramen," and to provide more exact figures for the average price of a package.


10 Things About Instant Ramen You'll Be Embarrassed You Never Knew

Everyone loves ramen these days. Classic ramen restaurants populate the country's biggest cities, and people love the instant stuff so much they have turned it into a hamburger bun, a lobster roll and even a burrito. We just can't get enough of the salty and addictive noodles.

And as we all learned in college, instant ramen noodles are there for you, waiting to be cooked and ready to be eaten in just five minutes. Here are 10 things you never knew about your favorite go-to food, even if you eat it every day.

1. The first instant ramen was considered a luxury item in supermarkets.

Although today it's considered a college staple and something you eat if you're broke, instant ramen used to be quite expensive in Japan. Momofuku Ando, the creator of Nissin ramen products, invented "Chicken Ramen," an instant snack that could be eaten easily and anywhere in 1958, when he noticed food was scarce after World War II. But when it arrived on Japanese supermarket shelves, it was seen as a very expensive product since fresh udon noodles sold for one-sixth the cost of "Chicken Ramen."

2. It's the best-selling item at the Rikers Island jail.

The commissary at Rikers Island in New York needs to always make sure it is stocked up on Cup Noodles. It sells for 35 cents and, according to the New York Post, it's the most popular food item sold. Guards provide the people being held at Rikers with hot water to eat the beloved noodles. And sometimes, inmates discard the noodles and use the intense seasoning packets to flavor the bland cafeteria food.

3. Only the "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors of Nissin Top Ramen are vegetarian.

It may be hard to believe that the Nissin seasoning packets in the "Chicken," "Beef" and "Shrimp" flavors actually contain animal products, but they do. The "Chicken" flavor includes chicken fat and/or powder, the "Beef" flavor includes beef fat and/or powder and the "Shrimp" flavor includes shrimp powder. Remember: We're only talking about the Nissin brand, not Maruchan.

4. Some people (like David Chang) like to eat ramen without even cooking it.

Chang, founder of the Momofuku restaurant empire, explains in "Mind of a Chef," the appeal of biting into a chunk of uncooked ramen sprinkled with seasoning as an after-school snack:

"I think I was around eight years old. I'd come home from school and instead of having Hot Pockets and stuff, I had ramen. I didn't know it was bad for you to consume as a kid. I thought it was good for you."

5. Ramen is the Japanese word for Chinese "lo mein."

The Japanese owe it to the Chinese for the trendy food's name. According to "Being Japanese American," by Gil Asakawa, ramen is the Japanese pronunciation of the kanji characters for "lo mein" or "lau mein" in Chinese. However, there are competing theories, and other authors feel the most likely etymology is "lamian." Whichever is the case, it's no surprise that ramen is inspired by lo-mein, another boiled noodle dish invented centuries ago.

6. And China eats instant ramen more than any other country.

China's global demand for instant noodles is the highest, according to the World Instant Noodles Association (yes, that's a real thing). In 2013, China consumed more than 46 billion packets of ramen. Tong-Yi Instant Noodles, a popular Chinese brand, is sold almost everywhere, from Walmart to street stalls.

7. According to one survey, the Japanese consider ramen their best invention.

Aside from all the technology Japan has gifted the world, in 2000 the Fuji Research Institute stated that Japanese people are the proudest of introducing instant noodles to the world. They feel this way because instant noodles truly "represent 'Made in Japan,'" by not only being a national food but a global one.

8. It would cost you only about $150 a year if you ate ramen for every meal.

It's a fact that instant ramen is cheap. Maybe that's why businesses are considered "ramen-profitable" when they are taking in more money than they are spending. The average package of ramen cost 14 cents, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2005, so it would only cost you a bit north of $150 dollars a year if you decide to live off of it. To put this in perspective: The average American spends $7,852 on food a year.

9. There's a whole museum in Yokohama, Japan dedicated to Cup Noodles.

It's called the CupNoodles Museum, and it's dedicated to the history of the product and the mind of Momofuku Ando. The museum showcases a "My CUPNOODLES Factory," where visitors can make their own ramen concoctions and include cute customized naruto (fish cake) pieces with animals printed on them. The museum website states that there are 5,460 flavor combinations.

10. The first noodles ever consumed in space were instant ramen noodles.

Momofuku Ando wanted to make ramen portable and easy to eat not only on earth, but also in space, and he succeeded in 2005. Two years before he died, Ando created "Space Ram," a vacuum-packed ramen made with smaller noodles (so they can be cooked without using boiled water) and a thicker broth (to prevent dispersal). It was made for Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi's trip in the Discovery space shuttle.

Bonus: Justin Timberlake's hair in the '90s was an unintentional advertisement for instant ramen.

We hope this style comes back soon.

Want to read more from HuffPost Taste? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the picture of the ramen at the museum as being at the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum (which itself was incorrectly located in Osaka). It is, in fact, at the CUPNOODLES Museum in Yokohama. Maruchan's "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors of Top Ramen were also incorrectly described as vegetarian. Only Nissin's flavors are vegetarian. Maruchan's "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors are not. Language has also been amended to address competing theories on the etymology of "ramen," and to provide more exact figures for the average price of a package.


10 Things About Instant Ramen You'll Be Embarrassed You Never Knew

Everyone loves ramen these days. Classic ramen restaurants populate the country's biggest cities, and people love the instant stuff so much they have turned it into a hamburger bun, a lobster roll and even a burrito. We just can't get enough of the salty and addictive noodles.

And as we all learned in college, instant ramen noodles are there for you, waiting to be cooked and ready to be eaten in just five minutes. Here are 10 things you never knew about your favorite go-to food, even if you eat it every day.

1. The first instant ramen was considered a luxury item in supermarkets.

Although today it's considered a college staple and something you eat if you're broke, instant ramen used to be quite expensive in Japan. Momofuku Ando, the creator of Nissin ramen products, invented "Chicken Ramen," an instant snack that could be eaten easily and anywhere in 1958, when he noticed food was scarce after World War II. But when it arrived on Japanese supermarket shelves, it was seen as a very expensive product since fresh udon noodles sold for one-sixth the cost of "Chicken Ramen."

2. It's the best-selling item at the Rikers Island jail.

The commissary at Rikers Island in New York needs to always make sure it is stocked up on Cup Noodles. It sells for 35 cents and, according to the New York Post, it's the most popular food item sold. Guards provide the people being held at Rikers with hot water to eat the beloved noodles. And sometimes, inmates discard the noodles and use the intense seasoning packets to flavor the bland cafeteria food.

3. Only the "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors of Nissin Top Ramen are vegetarian.

It may be hard to believe that the Nissin seasoning packets in the "Chicken," "Beef" and "Shrimp" flavors actually contain animal products, but they do. The "Chicken" flavor includes chicken fat and/or powder, the "Beef" flavor includes beef fat and/or powder and the "Shrimp" flavor includes shrimp powder. Remember: We're only talking about the Nissin brand, not Maruchan.

4. Some people (like David Chang) like to eat ramen without even cooking it.

Chang, founder of the Momofuku restaurant empire, explains in "Mind of a Chef," the appeal of biting into a chunk of uncooked ramen sprinkled with seasoning as an after-school snack:

"I think I was around eight years old. I'd come home from school and instead of having Hot Pockets and stuff, I had ramen. I didn't know it was bad for you to consume as a kid. I thought it was good for you."

5. Ramen is the Japanese word for Chinese "lo mein."

The Japanese owe it to the Chinese for the trendy food's name. According to "Being Japanese American," by Gil Asakawa, ramen is the Japanese pronunciation of the kanji characters for "lo mein" or "lau mein" in Chinese. However, there are competing theories, and other authors feel the most likely etymology is "lamian." Whichever is the case, it's no surprise that ramen is inspired by lo-mein, another boiled noodle dish invented centuries ago.

6. And China eats instant ramen more than any other country.

China's global demand for instant noodles is the highest, according to the World Instant Noodles Association (yes, that's a real thing). In 2013, China consumed more than 46 billion packets of ramen. Tong-Yi Instant Noodles, a popular Chinese brand, is sold almost everywhere, from Walmart to street stalls.

7. According to one survey, the Japanese consider ramen their best invention.

Aside from all the technology Japan has gifted the world, in 2000 the Fuji Research Institute stated that Japanese people are the proudest of introducing instant noodles to the world. They feel this way because instant noodles truly "represent 'Made in Japan,'" by not only being a national food but a global one.

8. It would cost you only about $150 a year if you ate ramen for every meal.

It's a fact that instant ramen is cheap. Maybe that's why businesses are considered "ramen-profitable" when they are taking in more money than they are spending. The average package of ramen cost 14 cents, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2005, so it would only cost you a bit north of $150 dollars a year if you decide to live off of it. To put this in perspective: The average American spends $7,852 on food a year.

9. There's a whole museum in Yokohama, Japan dedicated to Cup Noodles.

It's called the CupNoodles Museum, and it's dedicated to the history of the product and the mind of Momofuku Ando. The museum showcases a "My CUPNOODLES Factory," where visitors can make their own ramen concoctions and include cute customized naruto (fish cake) pieces with animals printed on them. The museum website states that there are 5,460 flavor combinations.

10. The first noodles ever consumed in space were instant ramen noodles.

Momofuku Ando wanted to make ramen portable and easy to eat not only on earth, but also in space, and he succeeded in 2005. Two years before he died, Ando created "Space Ram," a vacuum-packed ramen made with smaller noodles (so they can be cooked without using boiled water) and a thicker broth (to prevent dispersal). It was made for Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi's trip in the Discovery space shuttle.

Bonus: Justin Timberlake's hair in the '90s was an unintentional advertisement for instant ramen.

We hope this style comes back soon.

Want to read more from HuffPost Taste? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the picture of the ramen at the museum as being at the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum (which itself was incorrectly located in Osaka). It is, in fact, at the CUPNOODLES Museum in Yokohama. Maruchan's "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors of Top Ramen were also incorrectly described as vegetarian. Only Nissin's flavors are vegetarian. Maruchan's "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors are not. Language has also been amended to address competing theories on the etymology of "ramen," and to provide more exact figures for the average price of a package.


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