Copyright © Françoise Herrmann
The instant ramen invention and its method of production were disclosed in US3997676, titled Instant-cooking cupped noodles and a method of producing the same. This is the invention, marketed as Cup Noodles packaged in a polystyrene cup, where it takes a small bundle or nest of pre-cooked, flash-dried, noodles, just a couple of minutes to rehydrate with sprinkled seasonings, and flavors, into an instant meal! According to the World Instant Noodle Association, 100 billion units were sold in 2012! (Huffington Post)
If you have ever tasted these noodles, you might have wondered why the instant ramen noodles are “wavy”. In this case, you might refer to US3932089, titled Apparatus for manufacturing waved noodles, also awarded to Momofuku Ando. This patent discloses an invention designed to speed flash drying time of the noodles. Indeed, the waves comprising bulges and recesses apparently increase the ratio of surface to volume of the noodle, thus enabling moisture to evaporate faster during drying.
The Abstract for US3932089, titled Apparatus for manufacturing waved noodles is included below with a figure drawing of the apparatus designed to produce the wavy noodles.
An apparatus for manufacturing waved noodles comprises a pair of oppositely rotating rollers, each roller having a surface formed with a plurality of spaced grooves, the transversely spaced grooves extending circumferentially around the roller, and the peripheral portions of the rollers between at least two adjacent of the grooves constituting lips. At least one of the lips on at least one roller has a face set back from the other roller and defining a linking space between the adjacent grooves. The grooves are radially wider (i.e. of greater cross section) than the linking space, and there is a means for passing a sheet of dough between the rollers whereby the dough is pressed into the grooves and linkage space, thereby forming a waved noodle having at least two generally parallel bulky portions connected by at least one transversely extending linking portion. Abstract US3932089
In Japan, the Nissin Food Company that Momofuku Ando founded operates two museums, dedicated to its founder and his instant ramen inventions: the Cup Noodles Museum in Yokohama, and the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum in Osaka!
CupNoodles Museum (Yokohama, Japan)
http://www.cupnoodles-museum.jp/ (in Japanese)
GoogleDoodle – March 5, 2015 – Momofuku Ando created by Sophie Diao
Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum (Osaka, Japan)
Huffington Post – Instant Noodle sales 2012