Instant ramen noodles saw their invention in 1958. While they were invented in Japan, they were actually given a name that is Chinese in origin. The name is loosely defined as noodles that are in soup broth.
Consumption of ramen noodles is very popular worldwide, given the combination of rich flavors and easy preparation. However, as these were introduced to many different cultures, they each added their own influences and ingredients, so using ramen noodles as a base is something subject to constant creativity.
It did not take long for someone to think of the idea of providing ramen noodles in a cup, for the convenience of the consumer. This made ramen noodles something portable, and people started enjoying them at work, in school, or even while traveling.
While the world has obviously taken a liking to ramen noodles, there was also demand for more flavors and better recipes. To that end, Japan alone has nearly forty thousand restaurants focusing on ramen noodles, many with their own distinct recipes and flavors.
Ramen noodles spread from Japan in three primary waves. The first was in the 1960s when it arrived on the shores of the Korean peninsula and China, followed by Southeast Asia, and then Australia and New Zealand. In the Seventies, it reached Latin America, the United States, and Western Europe. Ramen noodles did not enter the Russian and Eastern European markets until the 1990s.
Ramen noodles these days are often thought of as an integral part of the college student subculture of the United States. Part of the appeal is how cheap many ramen noodle packages are, often available in bulk deals at low price points. The ability to store them in a dorm room without refrigeration is a plus, as only hot water is needed to prepare them.