Ramen was invented in 1958 by Nissin Foods founder Momofuku Ando. Momofuku was in his 40s when he had the brainstorm of feeding the post-war masses with instant noodles. Nissin Foods still brings in 300 billion yen ($2.7 billion U.S.) a year with their original “Top Ramen” noodles. Add all the competing ramen clones made in Japan, Korea, Europe, the U.S., China, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia and you have an estimated annual world market of $10 billion U.S. Pretty good for a product with a wholesale price of twelve and a half cents. Instant ramen wasn’t a big hit right away. In fact when it was first introduced in Japan, it was considered a luxury item, six times more expensive than homemade noodles available in Japanese grocery stores. Momofuku’s ramen arrived on the east coast of the U.S. in 1972 as “Oodles of noodles.” The next year came “Nissin Cup Noodles” in the convenient styrofoam cup, and soon hundreds of knock-offs. “Ramen” is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese characters lomein, witch means “boiled noodles.” Ramen was popularized in Japan by a 17th century samurai named Mito komon. 720 different varieties/flavors of ramen are available. For what it’s worth, the average Japanese eats about 45 packages a year.