Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum in Osaka

I've been to Japan quite a lot in the last three years. We like visiting Japan because the food is really good, and if you come towards the latter part of the year, the weather is also really nice and cool. Since we normally either go to Osaka or Tokyo, I look forward to doing something different every time I go.

On our last trip to Osaka, one of the new places we visited was the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum in Ikeda (Osaka), as the inventor of instant Ramen, Mr. Momofuku Ando created instant ramen in a little shed behind his home in Ikeda. There's a much bigger Cup Noodles Museum in Yokohama.

Our Hankyu Tourist Passes really came in handy since the closest train stop to the Museum is the Ikeda station on the Hankyu line which you can take from Umeda. So to maximize our Hankyu pass, we made sure that we did the Instant Ramen museum in the morning, before we headed to Kobe.

When we got out of the station, we just walked in the general direction of where the museum was supposed to be.
We knew we were on the right track when we saw this sign a few blocks
away. You'll also see a lot of people walking towards the station,
with their puffed up bags of Make Your Own Cup Noodles.
The Instant Ramen Museum in Ikeda
Everyone wants a picture with Momofuku Ando,
the father of Instant Ramen.
The monopod really came in handy for this shot.
The photo composition above was even better than
the picture that Ady took.
The Instant Ramen Museum is very popular with school kids,
and tourists. Entrance to the Ikeda branch is FREE,
but entrance to the Yokohama branch is 500Yen.
When you enter, there's a quick history of ramen to your right.
And the Instant Ramen Tunnel on the left.
They show the different noodle innovations launched per year.
Ending with everything that's now on sale.
The biggest highlight of the museum is the Cup Noodles Factory where you can make your own Instant Noodles for 300Yen (around Php135).  They also have a workshop that you can participate in to make Fresh Ramen for 500Yen but you need to sign up for it beforehand.
Line up here for make your own Cup Noodles.
If we knew how long the lines were, we would have come here first.
While waiting, there are a lot of signs and a video on how to make
your own Cup Noodles, but it's all in Japanese.
You can make up to 5,460 different Cup Noodle Variations

When you finally get to the end of the line the process starts.

Step1: Buy Your Cup
Step 1 is Buying the Cup Noodles empty cup from the
vending machine for 300Yen.
You can buy as many cups as you want.
I only bought 1 for Sofia.
Step 2: Clean your Hands
Sanitize your hands at this station.
There's even a place to put your cup.
Then an attendant gives you a plastic cover so that
the inside of your cup remains clean.
Then he briefs you on what to do.
They have this sign in different languages.
When there's space available, they let you in the decorate your cup area.
Step 3: Decorate Your Cup
You can only use the Pilot pens provided, but they're really nice.
The first thing you need to do is write the date.
I think the cup noodles are best eaten 1 month after you make them.
I decorated Sofia's Cup with all her favorite things.
There's another long wait for the Noodles Factory portion.
You can get your picture taken with this extra large mock-up while in line.
Number 2 on Sofia's bilin list - Check. Yes, we need to work on her spelling.
You can understand the long wait because every step of the process is
a photo opportunity, and the Japanese are so polite, they don't rush you.
Cup Noodles Factory
Look at all that Instant Noodles!!!
Step 4: Putting in the Instant Noodles into the Cup
They put your cup on top of the Instant Noodles
Then you need to keep turning the handle around untile the cup noodles
is upright.
Step 4: Customize your Cup Noodles by choosing the broth and the filliing
There are 4 different soup broths to choose from: Cup Noodles, Seafood, Curry and Chili Tomato.
Then you can choose up to 4 toppings.
There are 12 toppings to choose from, one of which is a surprise topping
that changes from time to time.
Everything looks so clean and neat, because they
vacuum the place after every group. OC much.
There are 3 different topping stations so we decided to split up so we'd
finish faster.
Our cups ready to be customized.
For Sofia I chose the classic Cup Noodles broth, Meat, Cute Fish Cake,
Corn and Cheese. They even pose the noodles for you to take a photo.
Sofia's Special Cup Noodles Concoction
Sofia loved the Fish Cakes, but we just called it the cute gummis.
 Step 5: Seal the Cup
When you're done customizing, you move to the end
of assembly line to seal your cup.
They just put it in the machine... and Voila!
Step 6: Shrink Wrapping
Then to make sure it stays fresh, the cup noodles are shrink wrapped.
First, it's wrapped in plastic, then put in the machine,
then out it comes from the chute.
You now have your very own Cup Noodles.
But since the Japanese are very inventive, there's a last step.

Step 7: You put your Cup Noodles in an inflated carrier bag.
You get a bag and a string...
Put the cup noodles inside... and then pump!
Don't put too much air.
This is Sofia's.
It was only after we pumped up our bags did we read that it's not
recommended to do the last step if you're flying.
Look at how many packs this little boy made.
On our way out, we saw the different Instant Noodles Nissin Ramen,
including my favorite Spicy Chicken Yakisoba.

Before leaving, don't forget to visit the "souvenir window". It's literally that small.
You'll see some products on display with numbers - then you go to the
counter to fill up an order sheet, pay and get your merchandise.
I think the advantage of going to the bigger Cup Noodles Museum in Yokohoma is they have a bigger selection of really cute Cup Noodles souvenir items which you can browse here.

Since Sofia didn't like the dinner last night, she ate the Cup Noodles I made for her and she really loved it.

Sofia loves Cup Noodles.
Since she wasn't with me in Japan, she found her
Cup Noodles so cute.
 Just cook it the normal way. Add hot water until the line, then wait 3 minutes.
This is how it came out. oooooh. Look at all the melted cheese!
But since the toppings are on top, you need to mix it for the corn and
 meat cubes to cook well.
Sofia loved the cute gummis.
If you'll notice, the broth when it was newly cooked was this clear.
But since the cheese melt, you get really yummy cheesy broth.
Look at the soup after everything is gone. 

Sofia loved it so much, we're trying to ask my friends who will be there next week to get some for us. Thanks in advance Tians and Twiny! just saying

Getting There
8-25 Masumicho, Ikeda,
Osaka Prefecture 563-0041, Japan
+81 72-752-3484
Note that the museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays

Here's the Map for the general orientation.

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