The China Post - - GUIDE POST -

In the gift shop, you can as­sem­ble a cus­tom­ized pack­age of ra­men to take home, choos­ing from dif­fer­ent kinds of vac­uum-packed fresh noodles, soup fla­vor and fla­vored oil, with even a per­son­al­ized la­bel. The shop also sells prepack­aged ra­men, bowls, spoons and other sou­venirs. Nearby are ex­hibits about ra­men in Europe, re­gional ra­men around Ja­pan and his­toric ra­men-mak­ing tools.

Ra­men, to those who are un­fa­mil­iar with this Ja­panese na­tional dish, seems only like a sim­ple bowl of noo­dle soup. But just a short train or sub­way ride from Tokyo to Yoko­hama, which also has a branch of the Cup Noo­dle Mu­seum, will ex­plain the se­ri­ous­ness of ra­men. Where Shin-Yoko­hama Rau­men Mu­seum is a food theme park for adults, Cup Noo­dle Mu­seum is de­signed for kids. The small print on its brochure says that it was for­mally named the Mo­mo­fuku Ando In­stant Ra­men Mu­seum, af­ter the in­ven­tor of in­stant ra­men. Run by an ed­u­ca­tional foun­da­tion that Ando started, the fun here is de­signed to sup­port ex­hibits about cre­ativ­ity and in­ven­tion.

Non-Ja­panese speak­ers get to skip the lessons ex­cept for what's printed in the English brochure. Ex­hibits in­clude a re­pro­duc­tion of the mod­est shack where Ando in­vented in­stant chicken ra­men. There is also a dis­play of the as­ton­ish­ing num­ber of va­ri­eties of in­stant ra­men that the Nissin Food Prod­ucts com­pany has pro­duced since the in­ven­tion of in­stant ra­men; as well as a food court called Noodles Bazaar, said to re­pro­duce an "Asian night mar­ket" and "eight va­ri­eties of noodles that Ando en­coun­tered dur­ing his trav­els in search of ra­men's ori­gins." The food stands in­clude Ital­ian pasta, Viet­namese pho, and dishes from Kaza­khstan, China, Korea, Thai­land, Malaysia and In­done­sia. And there's a play area where kids can ex­pe­ri­ence the Cup Noo­dle man­u­fac­tur­ing process from the point of view of the noo­dle.

The main at­trac­tion here is the make-your-own sec­tion. For a sep­a­rate fee for a timed ticket, kids (or adults) can make their own per­sonal Cup Noo­dle, dec­o­rat­ing the cup, then putting in the noodles and choos­ing the soup and toppings. Watch the lid get sealed and the whole cup shrink-wrapped. Your cre­ation is then en­closed in a cool protective pack­age that you pump air into to cush­ion it on the trip home. There's also the much more in­volved Chicken Ra­men Fac­tory, a 90-minute ses­sion where par­tic­i­pants make the noodles from scratch.











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