If (noodle) Heaven is a place on Earth, we’re pretty certain it’d be at the CupNoodles Museum in Yokohama, Japan. Since opening its doors in 2011, the museum has become a veritable mecca for lovers of the instant noodles.
CupNoodles, for those left scratching their heads, are the simple snack that have saved many a hungry belly when the pantry’s pickings are looking slim. Taiwanese-Japanese inventor Momofuku Ando concocted the meal in 1958; essentially a pre-cooked brick of noodles that needs no more than three minutes in hot water to become your dinner.
It’s been a staple snack for Americans and Japanese alike ever since, and Ando has gone down in history as “the Father of Instant Ramen.” The real origins, museum goers learn, is a little more sentimental than one would think…
Step inside the “origins of CupNoodle” exhibit of the museum, and you’ll find a humble shed– an exact replica of the work-space Ando used to invent his noodles. “Ando gathered the necessary tools and ingredients himself,” explains a museum representative, “and brought them to his shed on the back of his bicycle.”
He almost felt a responsibility to create them “after coming upon a long line of people on a cold night shortly after World War II” in Japan, explained The Japan Times in 2007, “They were waiting to buy freshly made ramen at a black market food stall.”
Eventually, he was able to turn out the most affordable ramen in the country at roughly one-third of the price of noodles in your average Japanese restaurant — which this museum most certainly isn’t…
There’s a kind of ramen cooking academy, and a build-your-own CupNoodles dining experience. The museum is basically an interactive archive, with every incarnation of the soup’s packaging proudly displayed wherever you look.
It also gives most Apple stores a run for their money.
“The huge facility offers the virtual experience of being a noodle in a huge factory,” stated the spokesperson. If that’s the case, these noodles live a pretty charmed life. There’s everything from a CupNoodles Drama Theatre to an Official Tasting Room, and children get to frolic in the interactive CupNoodle Park.
It’s a feast for the eyes, and (perhaps most importantly) for the stomach. We’re not even certain what’s going on here, but it’s pretty amazing:
Ando came a long way from his Chicken Ramen and CupNoodles roots in his lifetime. In 2005, he launched his most ambitious project yet, “Space Ramen.”
His innovative use of technology made it possible for astronauts to nibble on noodles in weightless environments. He passed away just two years later, and the museum remains a testament to “his creative thinking,” says the representative, which was, quite literally, out of this world.
Learn more about visiting the museum on their website.