Did you know that instant noodles were originally invented by a Taiwanese person? The humble instant noodle was created by Momofuko Ando of Nissin Foods. Mr. Ando was born in 1910, hailing from Puzi, a small town situated in Chiayi County, in the southern part of Taiwan. He was a businessman and founder of Nissin Food Products, as well as the creator of the Top Ramen and Cup Noodles brands of instant noodles.
Instant noodles are often perceived as a cheap, unhealthy staple most commonly found in the diet of university students; however, Taiwan has a totally different take on the instant noodle thing. Craving hot pot? Upgrade from rice to instant noodles! Making an offering to your ancestors? Instant noodles to the rescue! Late night munchies? How about some instant noodles? In fact, every year Taiwanese a lot of instant noodles - just how many? Over 800 million packs, according to some sources.
Why are instant noodles viewed in such a different light in Taiwan, compared to their western counterparts? While no one can say for certain, it likely has to do with the wide array of instant noodle types and flavors available in the Taiwan market.
Taiwanese instant noodles attempt to conveniently recreate the delicate flavors of some of Taiwan’s hottest dishes. Take beef noodle, for example. There are a variety of companies producing beef noodle-flavored instant noodles. Some even contain sachets of beef! Other varieties of noodles include those by Taiwan’s government-run company, Taiwan, Tobacco and Liquor (TTL). Some of these offerings, such as their spring chicken instant noodles, include packets of rice wine to help make the noodles taste authentic.
Instant noodles with sesame paste are also quite common in Taiwan, mimicking the popular sesame noodles found in local restaurants up and down the island. Restaurants also occasionally substitute regular noodles for instant ones, when developing some of their food menu items.
As can be seen, instant noodles are a class of their own in Taiwan. Instead of being viewed as a cheap meal for thrifty eaters, the culture has made instant noodles a beloved part in the life of most, with unique flavors to suit the needs of everyone.
For those interested in trying out Taiwanese instant noodles, the team at Ni Hao Snacks has the following offerings:
Our Naughty Noodles Sampler contains an assortment of five (5) different packs of Taiwanese noodles, whereas our Noodles Assortment box includes eleven (11) different packs of noodles, nine from Taiwan and two from Indonesia.