Momofuku Ando

Someone had to feed Asia's economic miracle. All those construction workers with 10 minutes between shifts and those salarymen hunched over their desks at midnight needed something cheap, something filling and, most of all, something fast. In 1958, Momofuku Ando, an unassuming entrepreneur living in Osaka, created the instant noodle — and a continent has been feasting on his invention ever since.

Ando's instant noodles debuted in a Japan still reeling from World War II. Chikin Ramen, as the deep-fried pasta was first called, was viewed as a luxurious novelty item, akin to astronaut ice cream or pre-swirled...

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