Startups and Ramen Noodles

“Startups run off of ramen noodles.” We all know the saying. I mean yeah, it doesn’t really get thrown around THAT often, but it’s a saying. More of an idiom maybe? Or a belief? Well no, not a belief technically but you know what I mean…the idea is out there.

Anyways, the point is that regardless of our state, ramen has always been there for us as a quick escape from stress-induced starvation. No matter how much we’ve procrastinated or had thrown on our plate or how many consecutive all-nighters we’ve had to pull, ramen has never failed to pull us through. It’s cheap, quick, simple, extremely unhealthy, and surprisingly delicious for a Styrofoam cup of dehydrated noodles, hot water, and sketchy seasoning. Absolutely magical.

By the way, I’m talking about the current “version” of ramen—not the original. You know, something like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Ramen actually started out looking something like this)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You see, “ramen” has actually been around for centuries, originating in Japan as a staple dish containing wheat noodles, broth, and various toppings. Ramen noodles were so infused with Japanese culture that even different cities had their own, unique versions on how to properly prepare the deliciously satisfying noodles. Looking at the provided pictures however, you’ve probably noticed quite a difference in presentation over the years. So what exactly happened? How has ramen changed to become known as the prepackaged, dried noodle soup consumed by sleep-deprived college students—as opposed to the once cultural and elegant part of Japanese cuisine?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first “instant noodles” were made in 1958 by Momofuku Ando. Or this guy, the founder of Nissin Foods and the largest provider of instant noodles to this date:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Momofuku came up with the idea of quickly frying the noodles right after being cooked, thus giving them their unique texture and an extremely long shelf life. Ironically, the product was treated initially as a luxury food in Japan, costing 6 times the amount of traditional, soupy ramen. However, in 1970, sponsorship from Mitsubishi skyrocketed sales and Nissin Foods expanded their operations and sales to America. From there, reliability and efficiency beat out the traditional ramen (not that there were many ramen houses in America in the 70s to begin with) and Americans lived from then on with the assumption that ramen was just a 99 cent meal. And that’s the story.

So, finally tying back with title, ”Startups and Ramen Noodles.” Why has society grouped two and two together? Well, for starters, ramen represents much more than its physical taste and sodium-plagued soup. Every package symbolizes a time of adversity, when a 10-course meal just wasn’t exactly plausible. And thus, it’s become the symbol of hard work, accomplishment, and failure.

You know the saying; “You haven’t truly achieved a feat until at least 7 packs of ramen have been consumed as a direct result of attempts to conquer said feat.” And yes it is a saying.

And with that, the alike team wishes you the best of luck in your future instant-noodle related hardships!

(We’ve had just a few of our own… )

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