I made a trip to Nissin Cup Noodles Museum in Yokohama for the first time last Monday. I have heard about the place but never really thought it would be interesting but little did I expect it to be SO GOOD. It had all the good ingredients (pun intended) of a great tourist spot: hands-on experience, FOOD, souvenirs, cheap and most importantly, something to learn.
The nearest station to the museum is Minato-mirai Station or Basha-michi Station on the Minato-mirai line. And it’s a 5 to 10-minutes walk from the station.
One of the main attractions of the museum is the hands-on Make-Your-Own-Cup-Noodles. But if you are planning to go on a weekend, you HAVE TO make a reservation. I went on a monday morning and at 11am, this was the crowd that welcomed us at the cup-noodles making place.
I was surprised to see many foreign tourists, and visitors of all age. The instructions are given in Japanese and English (and some in Chinese/ Korean) so you just need to take some time to read them before proceeding.
You start off by buying a cup from the vending machine at 300 yen. You then sterilize your hands with alcohol, and queue up to get to the table where you can design your own cup. Drawing is only allowed within the boundaries of the side of the cup, and no stickers are allowed. Markers are provided.
Thereafter, you bring your designed cup to the next station, where the staff shows you how the cup noodles are actually being made! Interestingly, the dried hard noodles are not inserted into the cup. This is not done because, the noodles bundles do not always fall perfectly into the cup when done by machines. Instead, the inverted cups are placed over the bundle of dried noodles before being re-inverted. This allows the perfect placement of the bundle in the cup.
After the noodles are placed into your cup, you go to the next station, where you get to choose your flavor and ingredients! Before that, the staff will curiously ask what you drew on your cup. Apparently my drawing was so poor that she couldn’t tell that I drew a penguin. But anyway…
You get to choose 1 out of 4 available flavors (standard, seafood, chili tomato and curry) AND 4 out of 12 available ingredients (including vegetables, onions, cheese, kimchi, meat pieces, shrimps etc.)
And this is how it will look! After that, you proceed to the next corner where the staff helps you seal your cup noodles. You take your original cup noodles and place it in a plastic bag of which you seal it air-tight.
Other interesting attractions of this museum include the food court where noodles around the world are served, including tom yum noodles from Thailand, pho from Vietnam, as well as noodles from China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Kazakstan, Korea and Italy.
This was the guy who invented instant noodles and cup noodles, Mr Momofuku Ando. His business flopped when he was 40 years old and he had to start from scratch. His hard efforts and creativity paid off when his invention took off and became successful overnight. The most amazing thing was, he also created space ramen in 2005, at the age of 95!! Unfortunately, he passed away one year later.