||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (February 2011)|
Instant noodles in a typical block-like form
|Alternative name(s)||Instant ramen|
|Main ingredient(s)||Dried or precooked noodles, seasoning|
Instant noodles (also known as instant ramen) are dried or precooked noodles and are often sold with packets of flavoring including seasoning oil. Dried noodles are usually eaten after being cooked or soaked in boiling water, while precooked noodles can be reheated or eaten straight from the packet. Instant noodles were invented by Momofuku Ando of Nissin Foods, Japan.
Instant noodles were invented by Taiwan-born inventor Momofuku Ando in Japan. They were first marketed on August 25, 1958, by Ando's company Nissin under the brand name Chikin Ramen (チキンラーメン). Ando developed the production method of flash frying the noodles after they had been made, creating "instant" noodles. This dried the noodles and gave them a longer shelf life. Each block of noodles was pre-seasoned and sold for 35 yen. Initially, due to its price and novelty, Chikin Ramen was considered a luxury item, as Japanese grocery stores typically sold fresh noodles for one-sixth their price. Despite this, instant noodles eventually gained immense popularity, especially after being promoted by Mitsubishi Corporation.
In 1971, Nissin introduced the Cup Noodles, instant noodles in a waterproof polystyrene cup, to which boiling water is added to cook the noodles. A further innovation added dried vegetables to the cup, creating a complete instant soup dish.
According to a Japanese poll in the year 2000, "the Japanese believe that their best invention of the twentieth century was instant noodles." As of 2010[update], approximately 95 billion servings of instant noodles are eaten worldwide every year. China consumes 42 billion packages of instant noodles per year – 44% of world consumption – Indonesia, 14 billion; Japan, 5.3 billion, Vietnam 4.8 billion, USA 4 billion. Per capital, South Koreans consume the greatest amount of instant noodles, 69 per capita per year.
Production of Instant Noodles
The main ingredients in Instant Noodles consist of flour, starch, water, salt (or a salt substitute known as kan sui which is a mixture of sodium carbonate, sodium phosphate and potassium carbonate). Specific types of noodles can be made from a mix of wheat flour and other flour such as buckwheat. There are variations to the ingredients used depending on the country of origin in terms of the salt content and the flour content.
The noodle production first starts with dissolving of the salt, starch, and flavoring in water to form a mixture which is then added to the flour. The dough is then left for a period of time to mature, then for even distribution of the ingredients and hydration of the particles in the dough, it is kneaded. After it is kneaded, the dough gets made into two sheets compounded into one single noodle belt by being put through two rotating rollers. This process is repeated to develop gluten more easily as the sheet is folded and passed through the rollers several times. This will create the stringy and chewy texture found in instant noodles. When the noodle belt is made to the desired thickness by adjusting the gap in the rolls, it is then cut right away. Wavy noodles are made in a slow paced conveyor belt and are hindered by metal weights when coming out of the slitter which gives the noodle its wavy appearance. If the strands are to be molded into other shapes, liquid seasoning could be added as well. Once the noodles are shaped, it is ready to be steamed for 1–5 minutes at 100 degrees Celsius to improve its texture by gelatinizing the starch of the noodles.
Next, noodles can be dried in two ways whether the instant noodles are fried or non-fried. Fried instant noodles are dried by oil frying for 1–2 minutes at a range of 140-160 degrees Celsius, while non-fried noodles are dried with hot air. The frying process decreases the moisture content from 30-50% to 2-5% from steaming to drying. Common oils used for frying in North America consist of canola, cottonseed and palm oil mixtures, while only palm oil or palm olein are used in Asia. Noodles are dried for 30–40 minutes in hot air at a temperature of 70-90 degrees Celsius and a moisture content of 8-12% is made from the hot air drying process. The heat from either drying process will further add to the porous texture of the noodles by gelatinizing the starch even more. Although both drying processes of instant noodles are known, more than 80% are fried as it gives more evenly dried noodles than hot air drying which can cause an undesired texture in finished noodles, and also taking longer time to cook. However, with fried noodles, the oil content is about 15-20% and decreases the shelf life of the noodles due to oxidation whereas in hot air-dried noodles it has only 3% oil content maximum.
Before packaging with seasoning, the noodles are cooled after drying, and its quality of moisture, color, and shape are checked. Packaging of the noodles include films impermeable to air and water. There are two forms of packaged instant noodles, one in a bag with the provided seasoning in small sachets inside, or in a cup with seasoning on the top of the noodles. There are a variety of flavors to the noodles depending on which ones are added to the seasoning. Such flavors include beef, chicken, pork, shrimp, oriental, etc. In instant noodle cups, soy protein and dehydrated vegetables and meats are often added for further flavor.
The shelf life of instant noodles range from 4–12 months depending on the area it dwells within. Their stability comes from the high sodium content with low moisture, and low water activity. Instant noodles can be served after 1–2 minutes in boiled water or soaked in hot water for 3–4 minutes.
||The examples and perspective in this section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (March 2012)|
Instant noodles are often criticized as unhealthy or junk food. A single serving of instant noodles is high in carbohydrates and fat, but low in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Further, the PFC(Protein/Fat/Carbohydrate) proportion of a typical instant noodle is 9%, 36% and 55% where the ideal PFC balance is said to average 23%, 28% and 55% respectively  (making it lower than normal in protein, and higher than normal in fat). The addition of fresh chopped vegetables and/or healthy lean meat or fish to the finished noodle soup can add some nutritional value.
Another accusation is that if served in an instant broth, instant noodles typically contain high amounts of sodium. The current U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance of sodium for adults and children over 4 years old is 1,500 mg/day. Some people eat the noodles but don’t eat up the soup, which reduces potential sodium intake. Further, instant yakisoba (fried noodles) products contain only half the sodium contained in “noodles in soup.” Typical cup-type instant noodles contain 2700 mg of sodium (per 100 g of edible portions), while cup-type yakisoba (fried noodles) contain 1500 mg of sodium.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||1,895 kJ (453 kcal)|
|- Dietary fiber||2.4 g|
|- saturated||7.6 g|
|- monounsaturated||6.5 g|
|Thiamine (vit. B1)||0.7 mg (61%)|
|Riboflavin (vit. B2)||0.4 mg (33%)|
|Niacin (vit. B3)||5.4 mg (36%)|
|Folate (vit. B9)||147 μg (37%)|
|Iron||4.3 mg (33%)|
|Potassium||120 mg (3%)|
|Sodium||1160 mg (77%)|
|One package is 80 g
Percentages are relative to
US recommendations for adults.
It was suspected that harmful substances could seep into the soup as hot water was added to instant noodles in a polystyrene cup. After a series of studies were conducted, the suspicion was eradicated. For instance, the media confuse styrene monomer, which could be extracted from the expandable polystyrene cup in small quantity but does no harm, with styrene dimer and styrene trimer both of which were designated as environment hormone or endocrine disruptor. Neither styrene dimer nor styrene trimer is extracted from the polystyrene cup, and therefore the charge was found to be groundless.
Another concern regarding the consumption of fried foods, including instant noodles, is the possible presence of oxidation products resulting from poor maintenance of the oil. If the cooking oil is not maintained at the proper temperature or changed as often as necessary, these oxidation products, which are suspected to pose various health risks, can be present in the foods. Proper production standards reduce the risk.
For this reason, such industry organizations as World Instant Noodles Association (WINA), Japan Convenience Food Industry Association, etc. are providing preventive tips for manufacturers which are prone to quality problems.
Instant noodles worldwide
Instant noodles have become a popular food in many parts of the world, undergoing changes in flavor to fit local tastes.
In Argentina instant noodles are gaining popularity and can be found in most major cities in supermarkets. The brand is usually Sapporo Ichiban. The Maruchan brand can also be found at Disco and Coto supermarkets. Due to the recent Chinese immigration wave, specialized Chinese supermarkets offer a wide variety of instant noodle brands.
The most popular brands of instant noodles in Australia are Indomie, Suimin, & Maggi. Many other brands have entered the market; a large range of popular brands of Korean, Japanese and Indonesian noodles are available in Australian supermarkets. Among cup noodles, the most popular brand is Fantastic Noodles. Among packet noodles, there are four popular choices, Indomie Mi Goreng (fried Indonesian noodles served without broth), Ibumie Har Mee (Malaysian traditional Penang Prawn Noodles) Nissin's Demae Ramen, and Nong Shim's Shin Ramyun served with broth. Instant noodles are often referred to as "two minute noodles" in Australia - a reflection on their preparation time.
Instant noodles are not widely popular in Belgium and are expensive. The most common brand is the Westernized "Aiki Noodles", but sales are low. Authentic Japanese and Thai instant noodles can be found only in Asian specialty stores, and in very limited quantity in some supermarkets.[original research?]
For a long time, the main manufacturer of instant noodles was Nissin Miojo, to the extent that, in Brazil, the most common name for them is "Miojo", although the manufacturers call them "lámen" or "l'amen". Many other companies, such as Maggi and Nestlé, also offer this product. There are many variants, such as "Lámen Cremoso", which has a creamy sauce, and "Lámen Hot", which includes pepper, as well as yakisoba and spaghetti.
Instant noodles were first introduced into Canada as early as 1974, possibly earlier, as Ramen noodles as its Japanese originator. There are many brands available including major brands from companies such as Nissin Foods, Sapporo Ichiban, Mr. Noodles, Nong Shim, and Knorr. In some areas, the noodles are referred to simply by these brand names. These main-brand packages generally only contain one flavoring pouch. Some brands, mostly more expensive Korean, Japanese, Chinese and Thai brands include more flavoring and separate packets for dried vegetables, flavoring contained in oil, and pepper in addition to the soup stock. Korean brands such as Nong Shim are readily available in most large grocery stores, and in some major cities, brands imported from Europe are available.
In larger grocery stores and Asian markets in larger cities, a large variety of brands and international flavors can be found including noodles from places such as Thailand, Indonesia, and India. Instant noodles from Grace, a Caribbean food company is available in some places. Due to the large South Asian population in some major cities, Maggi is also a popular brand. Product formats include regular plastic wrapping and in various foam food containers.
The market is focusing on higher-end products, generally costing more than 1 RMB. The top three brands in this category dominate more than 85% of the market; for the lower end, those costing less than 1 RMB, the leading five brands hold about 60% of the market share.
The dominant brands in the Chinese market are:
- Ting Yi (aka Master Kong or Kang-shi-fu, 康師傅), owned by the Taiwanese Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holding Corporation and managed with a Japanese strategic alliance partner Sanyo Food, the third-largest player in the Japanese market. Master Kong is the largest brand, with a business scope extending to beverages (RTD) and bakeries.
- Uni-President (aka President or Tong-Yi, 統一), a PLC listed in Taiwan. Like Master Kong, it once had its own businesses in beverages and bakeries. However, the company recently formed a JV partnership with Hwa-Long and Nissin to distribute beverages. Uni-President's home market is Taiwan, but the company is now expanding aggressively in mainland China.
- Hwa-Long (華龍, i.e. Chinese Dragon), a local company allied with Nissin. Because of that relationship, Hwa-long has long been regarded as Nissin's agent in the world's largest consumer market. Recently Hwa-long, Nissin, and Uni-President formed a partnership in the beverage business in order to collectively compete against Master Kong.
- Bai-xiang (白象, i.e. White Elephant), a local company spin-off based on a former state-owned enterprise, which still enjoys a strong local customer base. It is a leading brand in terms of volume, and its products fall into the lower price range.
Virtually all supermarkets sell instant noodles of some sort, but they tend to be Westernized and come in foam containers, costing upwards of 5 kroner. Ethnic stores and specialty shops offer the most popular alternative, Yum Yum, whose prices range from 3–4 kroner; "3 for 10" offers are nearly universal. Its popularity has been sufficient to become a generic brand name. Mama, another brand from Thailand, is the second most popular Eastern brand but has a much smaller market share. Wai Wai, a brand from Nepal, is also available. Most Danish supermarket instant noodles contain MSG as a flavor enhancer.
In Ecuador, Maruchan brand ramen had been the only brand sold for a long time. Recently, another two brands were introduced in this market: Rapidito by Oriental and a new competitor called Lonchys by Agrovanic became available in a wide range of flavors, including beef, chicken, shrimp and seafood.
The primary brand of instant noodles in Egypt is Indomie; they are halal, relatively affordable, being available at most small dry-goods shops for anywhere from L.E. 1.50 to L.E. 2 (US$ 0.16-0.24). While this puts them out of the price range of the poorest Egyptians (who can purchase the raw ingredients to produce more food for the same price), they are fairly popular among the growing Egyptian middle class.
In Ethiopia, the most popular instant noodle brand is Indomie because of its variety of flavors and affordable price. It is referred to as "Lehulum Tesmami", meaning "Suitable For All" in the Amharic language. Its sole agents and distributors are YSO & SONS General Trading PLC.
Noodles are ubiquitous in all urban grocery stores and supermarkets. Packet noodles are the norm, while cup noodles are often pricier and are seldom available outside ethnic food shops. Yum Yum and Mama cost about half a euro, while Koka's higher-end offering, featuring a larger portion of non-fried noodles with no trans fat and no preservatives, costs about one euro a piece.[original research?]
Instant soups have a long tradition in Germany, back to 19th century, with, for example, the inventions of Justus von Liebig, or Maggi products. Instant noodles as discussed here, however, were relatively unknown in Germany until the 1990s, but they have since continually gained in popularity.
There are two types of ramen in Germany: the first, generally called "Instant-Nudeln" (instant noodles), tends to be a mild, Westernized version and comes in flavors such as chicken, vegetable, beef and button mushroom. The second type is called "Ramen" and is quite similar to traditional ramen as it is known in Asia. German "Ramen" was originally considered an ethnic food and was only available in specialty stores. Since the mid-1990s, it has become available at German supermarkets. The most popular brands are Yum Yum, Nissin Cup Noodles and Maggi.
Cantonese people have a long history of cooking yi mein, a noodle invented in the Qing Dynasty. Modern instant noodles were publicly introduced as "Doll Noodles" in the late 1960s by Winner Food Products Ltd, which was bought by Nissin in 1984. That term has since become a synonym for instant noodles without MSG irrespective of brand in Hong Kong and Southern China. Other brands include Shin Ramyun and Demae Itcho.
India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh
The most popular brand in the three countries is Nestlé's Maggi, which is regarded in popular culture as a two-minute noodle. Other popular brands include Top Ramen Smoodles and Cup Noodles manufactured by Indo-Nissin Ltd, Ching's Instant Noodles, AA Nutritions's Yummy, and Wai-Wai, owned by the Chaudhary Group from Nepal and India. Smith & Jones, Ching's secrets, Tai Pai Noodles & NE Time noodles (Maruti quality Foods Products Pvt. Ltd) are also popular new brands of instant noodles in India. Wai Wai is gaining momentum in North Eastern states, Sikkim and west Bengal.
Local flavors such as masala and chicken tikka dominate. The most popular flavor of Top Ramen is known as "Curry Smoodles"; its flavorings mimic a basic curry, including onion, garlic, coriander, and a curry masala. A package sells for 10–12 rupees in India and 16 rupees in Pakistan. In India, there is also great demand for unflavored instant noodles; brands such as Bambino and Ching's dominate the market.
Ching's and Smith and Jones are brand of Capital Foods Ltd., (Masala, Curry, Chicken Masala under Smith and Jones brand and Ching's Flavor are Manchurian, Schezwan, Hot Garlic and Chicken Roast Garlic).
ITC launched its Yippee noodle under Sunfeast Brand.
Because of increasing health consciousness, Nestle introduced an instant noodle based on whole wheat grain flour, called Atta Noodles. Instant rice noodles are also available in various flavors. However, Nestle's original "Maggi" masala flavored noodles continue to be the most successful brand of instant noodles not only in India but in the United States for Indian Americans, as well. Nestle also has a '2-minute cup noodles' type of maggi known as 'cuppamania', which involves pouring hot water into the prepackaged cup and leaving it to soak and cook.
Foodles, a new instant noodle brand was launched in late 2010, focusing on health issues, with the tagline, ' Noodles without the No '. This range has significantly higher nutrition values compared to other popular brands. It comes in both Multigrain and Wheat-only forms. The brand is owned by Horlicks.
With production peaking at 14.5 billion packs in 2011, Indonesia is the second largest producer of instant noodle after China which produces 42.5 billion packs a year. An early instant noodle in Indonesia was "Supermi", introduced in the 1970s by Indofood Sukses Makmur, the largest instant noodle producer in the world. It later introduced two additional brands – "Indomie" and "Sarimi".
Currently, Indofood Sukses Makmur has a market share of about 70% of Indonesian instant noodle production. In 1999, the figure was about 90%; their market share declined following the introduction of "Mie Sedaap" by Wings Food in 2003.
Indonesians prefer noodles with a strong flavor. Popular flavors of Indonesian instant noodle include Chicken Curry, Onion and Chicken, Beef Meatball, and Chicken Soto, a traditional Indonesian chicken soup. In the past, Indomie tried to produce 30 different flavors to reflect various traditional dishes of Indonesian cuisine, but the product line was discontinued after disappointing results with only several popular variants remain in production. Strong local preferences contribute to the low volume of sales of Japanese and other foreign instant noodles in Indonesia; hot and spicy Korean noodles appeal most to these tastes and have the largest market share among foreign instant noodles.
Most of the market share is owned by the product Indomie Mi Goreng, A dry instant noodle meant to replicate the traditional Indonesian dish Mi Goreng, or fried noodles. Other variants of popular instant noodles in Indonesia includes Mie Gelas, which is sized so it could be served in a drinking glass, and Pop Mie, which is similar to Cup Noodles.
Japan is the country of origin of instant noodles. Instant noodles remain a "national" light food. The average Japanese person eats 40 packs of instant noodles per year.
After their invention by Taiwanese-Japanese Momofuku Andō in 1958, instant noodles became very common in Japan. In the 1970s, makers expanded their flavors to include such examples as shio (salt ramen), miso, or curry. Beginning in the 1980s, makers also added dried toppings such as shrimp, pork, or eggs. Today, instant noodles are divided into two groups: "traditional" cheap (¥150 to ¥200) noodles with few toppings and expensive (¥200 to ¥500) noodles with many toppings, which are often packed into a pouch. Various kinds of instant noodles are produced, including ramen, udon, soba, yakisoba, and pasta.
Major makers in Japan are:
- Nissin Food Products 日清食品, whose famous brands include Chicken Ramen and Cup Noodles, has a 40.4% market share As of 2005[update].
- Tōyō Suisan 東洋水産, nicknamed Maruchan, whose brands include Akai Kitsune and Midori no Tanuki, has a 19.2% market share.
- Sanyō Foods サンヨー食品, Sapporo Ichiban, has a 11.5% market share.
- Myōjō Foods 明星食品, Charumera, has a 9.9% market share.
- Acecook エースコック, Super Cup, has a 8.3% market share.
Per capita, South Koreans consume the greatest amount of instant noodles, 69 servings per year.
In the 1960s, instant noodle became popular in South Korea, and its quick and easy preparation and cheap price made it quickly popular. In South Korea, instant noodles are more common than non-instant noodles; the word ramyeon (라면), generally means the instant kind. Most South Korean food stalls make instant ramyeon and add toppings for their customers.
Ramyeon is typically spicy. Shin Ramyun (신[辛], literally "spicy") is the best-selling brand in Korea. It has also become popular in China and the United States. The leading manufacturer of ramyeon in Korea is the Nong Shim ([農心], literally "Farmer Heart") company, which exports many of its products overseas.
In 2004, over 600,000 boxes of Shin brand Ramyeon were sent to North Korea as part of the aid relief program when Ryongchŏn train station exploded, injuring many North Korean civilians. However, insider sources state that most of it was sold in North Korean black markets, making its way to Pyongyang, instead of distributed as aid. North Korean visitors to China also frequently purchase South Korean ramyeon from Chinese stores, where Shin Ramyeon is known as "Korean Tangmi Ramyeon".
Indigenous production of Ramyeon in North Korea began in 2000. The first Ramyeon brand was "kkoburang guksu", which literally means curved noodles in Korean. Later, a joint venture by North Korean and Hong Kong-based companies began producing "jeukseok guksu" (즉석 국수), which literally means "instant noodles". Ramyeon are popular among North Korean elites who live in Pyongyang and Nampo. In contrast to hot and spicy South Korean Ramyeon, North Korean Ramyeon has a much milder and brothier flavor.
Malaysia and Singapore
Maggi has practically become synonymous with instant noodles. Popular flavors include curry, chicken, tom yum, and asam laksa. Both soup-based and dry variants are readily available. Indomie, Nissin, Cintan and Mamee brands of instant noodles are also well loved by both Malaysians and Singaporeans.
Though instant noodles are usually eaten at home, they are also becoming increasingly popular as restaurant or cafe meals, especially in Hong Kong-themed "cha chan teng" cafes and "Mamak" food shops. These meals are usually modified according to the chef's taste and include minimal monosodium glutamate.
In recent years, instant noodles manufacturers have tried to introduce low-MSG seasonings, as well as new processes that do not require frying for the noodles, and have introduced new flavors such as chilli crab and seafood.
The Apollo noodle is very popular in Mauritius. Popular flavors include shrimp, curry, chicken and vegetable.
Instant noodles are very popular in Mexico, where they are often viewed as a snack-grade food. Flavors such as lime and chili are popular, often combined with shrimp. It is available in every grocery store and convenience store through all the country. This kind of soup was introduced in the 1980s by the Maggi Corporation as "Instant Maggi Ramen", marketed in a small plastic bag with artificial flavors, but it did not become popular until cup noodles were introduced in 1990 by Maruchan. Today, many local brands such as "La Moderna" and "Herdez" have developed their own cup noodles, along Nissin, which is also a newcomer. In early 2000's, Maggi introduced four instant noodles flavors, like tomato pasta or chicken with green tomatoes, but they were soon discontinued.
Instant noodles are very famous in Nepal. In the early 1980s, Gandaki Noodles (P.) Ltd. of Pokhara city, introduced Rara, a white instant noodles named after the largest lake of Nepal. It was a fair success among urban population. Then in around 1985, Chaudhary Groups(CG) entered the market with Wai Wai. Wai-Wai noodles, a brown, spicy and precooked noodle, became a big hit among the people. Over the years, its popularity has grown heavily and consist of a major part of the dry foods sold in Nepal and are available in any part of the country. The Quality control office of Nepal withheld Nepal quality marks for wai wai in 2012.
- Wai-Wai noodles, Golmol produced by CG. Wai Wai is popular in India too. CG has established its factories in India.
- Mayos, Ru-Chee, Hurray produced by Himalayan Snax & Noodles Pvt. Ltd. (HSNPL)
- 2pm, Rumpum by Asian Thai Foods Pvt. Ltd. (ATF)
The Netherlands is home to a fairly large Indonesian community, which has generated Indonesian supermarkets known as Toko. Various brands of instant noodles are sold through both these outlets and non-specialty supermarkets, including Saimin, Indomie Mi Goreng, Maggi, Thai varieties such as Mama and Yum Yum, and some more expensive western alternatives, such as Good Noodles by Unox. Both cup and packet varieties are available.
In Nigeria, Indomie is the most popular instant noodles brand. Since its introduction in 1988, Indomie has had a remarkable impact on the Nigerian culinary landscape. Instant noodles are now eaten in most households across the country. By 2008, nine other brands of noodle had appeared on the market. Affirming Indomie's hold on the market, Christopher Ezendu, a distributor at the popular Oke-Arin market on Lagos Island, reported that these other brands are aspiring to be like the market leader.
According to the World Instant Noodle Association, Nigeria was the 13th largest consumer of instant noodles in the world in 2007.
In Norway, every supermarket sells instant noodles of some kind. The top-selling brand is the Yum Yum! brand imported from Thailand, which is sold at the supermarket chain Rema 1000 or in ethnic stores in larger cities. Another popular brand is the Norwegian brand Mr. Lee. Yum Yum is often sold in 5-packs for 7-8 Norwegian kroner. Mr. Lee is typically more expensive, costing 8-11 kroner.
In Peru, Maruchan brand ramen had been the only brand sold for a long time. Recently, Aji-no-men ramen became available in a wide range of flavors, including beef, chicken, chicken with greens, hen, spicy hen, creole-style hen, shrimp, and oriental-style.
There are many local and imported brands of instant noodles in the country, which are locally known as "instant mami", after the Philippine version of chicken noodle soup. Brands in the Philippines include Lucky Me, Payless, Nissin, QuickChow, and Ho-Mi. They are sold in packets, sealed paper cups, or sealed foam food containers. Because of their fast preparation and affordability, instant noodles are popular as a quick snack or for breakfast.
People sometimes add an egg directly into the pot while cooking instant noodles. Another popular variation is the instant pancit canton, stir-fried noodles resembling the local pancit. These noodles are boiled and drained, then a flavoring powder, soy sauce, oil and bits of carrot and celery are added.
Instant noodles began appearing on Polish store shelves during the early 1990s. Despite being called "Chinese soup", the first brands on the market were produced in Vietnam and had a somewhat spicy, garlic-flavored taste. The noodle packages contained pouches of flavored soup base, spicy oil, dried vegetables or even minuscule shrimps.
The product gained particular popularity among students due to its affordability and convenience. "Kaczka łagodna" (Mild duck), "Kurczakowa łagodna" (Mild chicken) and "Krewetkowa ostra" (Spicy shrimp) were the most common flavors. Today, the local Kim Lan and worldwide Knorr brands offer varieties ranging from cheese-and-herb flavored noodles to local Polish specialties like barszcz czerwony or żurek.
Ngoc Tu Tao, who emigrated to Poland from Vietnam and established the Tan-Viet Group in 1990, is credited with introducing instant noodles to Poland. His VIFON brand holds a 35% share of the Polish instant soup market, selling over 100 million packages a year. Ngoc Tu Tao has appeared in Wprost magazine's annual ranking of the 100 most wealthy Polish citizens.
Inexpensive supermarket private-label brands and regular midmarket products do not differ much in taste, while their prices can range from PLN 0.49 to PLN 2.00. Noodles packaged in foam bowls are slightly more expensive, priced from PLN 3.00 to PLN 5.50.
Russia's most popular instant ramen are the local brand Rollton and the Korean brand Dosirac (Korean for "lunch box"). Instant noodles have been popular in Russia's Far East region since the late 1980s and made their way west in the early 1990s. In Russia, like most noodle products, they are still considered a lesser-quality option to turn to in lean economic times. They are popular among college students and homeless as a regular meal.
The most popular brand is Indomie, with a 96% market share. Indomie is the generic name for instant noodles in the region; the brand is produced by Pinehill Arabia Food at plants at Jeddah and Dammam.
Instant noodles have become commonplace in South Africa since the 1990s, when they were first introduced to the general consumer market. While various brands are available, the most common is Maggi 2 Minute Noodles. South Africans prefer milder flavors, and the most common flavors are chicken, beef, cheese and prawn. Because of their low cost, instant noodles are popular in South Africa's poorer communities. They are also popular among students and office workers as a quick snack.
Instant noodles have been widely available in Swedish supermarkets for more than 10 years and are very popular, especially among students. The most common brands include Nissin's Demae Ramen, Samyang, Euroshopper, Eldorado and ICA. Other brands include Mr. Cup cup noodles and Little Cook. Cup noodles are usually sold for 10 SEK per package, while packet noodles are usually sold at 4 for 15, 5 for 20 or 6 for 30.
Instant Noodles are very popular in Syria, the main brand is Indomie which is manufactured locally under licence of the trademark holders, and it costs about 15 Syrian Pounds (0.20$) per package, there are also other brands available at some import supermarkets, but these brands aren't popular because of their high price compared to the locally manufactured Indomie.
Instant noodle inventor Momofuku Andō (安藤百福) was born in Taiwan. According to statistics from the International Ramen Manufacturers Association, Taiwan is the world's 12th largest instant noodle market, with an annual NT$10 billion (US$300 million) in sales. This translates into an annual total of 900 million packs, or 40 per person. Uni-President (aka President or Tong-Yi, 統一) takes the largest market share of instant noodles in the country, and is a major player in the global instant noodle market.
Major makers in Taiwan are:
- Uni-President (aka President or Tong-Yi, 統一) is the first instant noodle maker in Taiwan. Its first and most famous product is Rouzaomian (肉燥麵). Uni-president has the greatest market share in Taiwan and is also one of the largest instant noodle makers in Mainland China.
- VEDAN (味丹; Pinyin: Wei Dan)
- Wei Lih (維力) is famous for its Zhajiangmian (炸醬麵).
- Ting Yi (aka Master Kong or Kang-shi-fu, 康師傅) is also the biggest instant noodle maker in Mainland China.
- Ve Wong (味王; Pinyin: Wei Wang)
The most popular instant noodle in Thailand is "Mama" or dindin cup noodles; Tom Yum Shrimp is the favorite flavor. Other local players in the market include the Wai Wai and Yum Yum brands. Due to their ubiquity, instant noodles were chosen as a vehicle for dietary fortification by a joint effort of the Federation of Thai Industries, instant noodle producers, and the Ministry of Public Health about 10 years ago. The vitamins and minerals added are iron, iodine and vitamin A. Unlike Japanese or Malaysian instant noodles, Thai noodles are seasoned with chicken stock before frying, giving them extra flavor, and they are sometimes consumed directly as a snack without further cooking. Instant noodles have spread all over Thailand, and now include real dehydrated meat such as pork and beef.
Instant noodles have been quite popular in Ukraine in the past 10 years because they are cheap and save time. Mivina, a former food producer for cosmonauts located in Kharkiv, is the most popular producer of instant noodles in the country. Mivina noodles can be cooked as soup or eaten dry; dry instant noodles are as popular in Ukraine as potato chips and croutons. Mivina is rivaled by the Russian Rollton, which also produces instant noodles for quick soups.
A common form of instant noodles in Britain is Pot Noodle, a cup noodle founded by Golden Wonder in the late 1970s. These use artificial flavorings (there is no chicken in Chicken Pot Noodles, for example) and are sold by virtually every major supermarket chain, general groceries shops, and convenience stores. Boiling water is added to the noodles to cook them.
Packet noodles such as Batchelors' Super Noodles are also popular and are synonymous with student life; most supermarket chains offer value noodles for as little as 11 pence . Several of the larger supermarkets also offer eastern brands such as Nissin, Koka noodles and Shin Ramyun, which once could only be found in Asian groceries. Noodles such as Maggi can also be found in many groceries, but are less widespread.
In the United States, instant noodles were first available by Nissin Foods in 1971 and were marketed as "Oodles of Noodles." In 1972, Nissin Foods introduced "Nissin Cup Noodles" in a foam food cup, which led to an upsurge in popularity. Soon after, many other competing companies were offering similar instant noodle products.
Today, in the U.S., the instant noodle product is commonly known as ramen, after the Japanese dish on which it is based, and it comes in a variety of mostly meat-based flavors. The three major brands are Nissin Top Ramen, Maruchan Ramen, and Sapporo Ichiban. A wide range of popular brands imported from other countries are available at many Asian grocery stores and some supermarkets. Ramen noodles are extremely popular among students and other people of low income, due to their ease of preparation and unusually low cost. While price varies throughout the U.S., generally several packages can be purchased for $1 or less.
Instant noodles are popular in Vietnam, where they are often eaten as a breakfast food. Both wheat and rice noodles are common. Acecook Vietnam JSC and VIFON are leading producers of instant noodles. Popular Vietnamese instant noodle soups include Oriental, Bánh đa cua, Bún bò Huế flavored, Phở and Hủ tiếu Nam Vang, a Phnom Penh-style noodle.
Unlike most other brands of ramen noodles, Top Ramen's "Oriental" and "Chili" flavors are vegetarian, as the seasonings do not contain animal fat. All of the UK's Pot Noodle varieties are suitable for vegetarians, other than those from the 'Pot Noodle GTI' range, which are centered around the fact they contain meat.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Instant noodles|
- Instant Ramen Home Page (by the Japan Convenience Foods Industry Association)
- World Instant Noodles Association