This is the story of “a new type of food for a new era.” It is the story of Momofuku Andou, a man of simple tastes and a driving ambition: to create Japan’s next fast-food sensation and change the way we think about food forever. It is the story of Kazuo Ohnojin, good with his hands and a quick thinker who is willing to try over 800 kinds of shrimp in the quest for the perfect soup garnish (did you know that worldwide there are about 2500 varieties of edible shrimp, but only one variety remains red when freeze-dried?). It is the story of young newlywed Masahiro Sasaki who is so dedicated to his job that he has nightmares about being crushed by giant noodle soup containers. It is a story of engineers and assembly line workers, of publicists, researchers, and suppliers. Most of all it is a story about ingenuity and teamwork in an era when the relationship between food and technology was still new and strange. Freeze drying! Styrofoam containers!
As told by Tadashi Katoh, the story of Cup Noodle is an heroic one. True, no one is saving the world or foiling an evil plot – this story instead finds and celebrates the sublime moments of creativity and triumph possible even in life’s least glamorous moments. To know that Nissin’s Cup Noodles represent not only one man’s life dreams for fast food in Japan but also the ingenuity of a factory of highly trained designers, engineers, and businessmen elevates the salty delicacy to an art form. Next time you peel back the paper lid, pour hot water over freeze-died noodles, and lick a drop of broth off the styrofoam cup’s edge, you’re tasting history.