This is a tribute to Ando.
Momofuku Ando, founder and chairman of Nissin Foods, who in 1958 “invented” the instant noodle dish now known throughout the world as Ramen.
Ando died on Jan. 5.
His goal in developing the product was to provide cheap food for the masses. Ironically, when it was first introduced it was considered a luxury item because the price was about six times that of other traditional noodle soups available in Japan. As prices dropped, its fame spread and ramen became a booming business.
The success of a man who developed a nearly bankrupt family firm into a global conglomerate which now sells an estimated 85 billion servings annually is not, however, the reason for my tribute.
Rather, I honor a man whose innovation a recent poll rated the greatest Japanese invention of the 20th century for his original intent—that of providing cheap food for the masses.
Now, granted Ramen is loaded with salt, MSG and other bad things. At the same time it has sustained countless numbers of the poor, including artists, writers, scientific researchers and college students who might not otherwise have lived to benefit the world.
So, Ando, we salute you. Arigato. Go-chisosama deshita.