A sad, sad day indeed.
Momofuku Ando, inventor of instant ramen and founder and chairman of Nissin Food Products Co. in Osaka, died of a heart attack Friday. He was 96.
Ando, also chairman of the Japan Convenience Foods Industry Association, is widely regarded as having affected the nation's food culture.
On Thursday, Ando made a speech at a ceremony marking the company's first workday of the year. He then went home to rest, as he had a high fever. He was taken to a hospital in Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture, on Friday afternoon, but at that point, he was already in cardiorespiratory arrest.
Born in Taiwan, Ando established a seafood company in 1948. Ten years later, Ando invented the world's first instant ramen product that could be prepared just by adding hot water, in a workshop at his home in Ikeda. At the end of 1958, he changed the company's name to its current moniker. Before long, Nissin's Chicken Ramen had become a great success.
In 1971, the company began selling Cup Noodle. Ando made Cup Noodle a worldwide hit by exporting to the United States, European and other Asian nations.
Ando also established the association and became its director in 1964 to maintain order in the industry, as many other companies had violated Nissin's patents after the success of Chicken Ramen.
In 1981, Ando became chairman of Nissin and in 1989 he also became chairman of the association. In 2005, he took the title of founder and chairman.
I love me some ramen. Endless possiblities, cheap, and most importantly, GOOD! There are countless websites, blogs, and cookbooks dedicated to the humble ramen noodle soup. I will lift a bowl tomorrow in honor of Ando-san. Kampai!