Mystery Of Hidden Space At Cup Noodles Bottom Revealed

Last month, we wondered about the secret space hidden at the bottom of every cup noodles. It turns out it does not house a flavor gremlin or invisible unicorn eggs. Instead, there is a very good science reason for it, which we would have known had we reviewed the exhibition guide to the Instant Ramen museum in Osaka, Japan.

Among many other interesting ramen noodle factoids, the museum has a section of the exhibit devoted to the discovery of the suspended noodles technique:

“A method by which the noodles are tightly packed so as to remain suspended in the middle of the container was invented and called “Middle Suspension.” By using this method, the noodles are less likely to break, and since there is a space at the bottom of the cup, hot water can circulate thoroughly from below, ensuring that the noodles soften evenly.”

Mystery solved!

Explanation of Exhibition (PDF) [Nissin-Noodles] (Thanks to Nick!)

PREVIOUSLY: Secret Void At Bottom Of Every Cup Noodles


Edit Your Comment

  1. joetan says:

    WOW! Very interesting.

  2. MDSasquatch says:

    My life is now complete

  3. rahntwo says:

    Well shuck ma grits! Whooda ever thunk it?

  4. MustardTiger says:

    Oh thank goodness, I can finally sleep again.

  5. smo0 says:

    mmmmm Sodium…

  6. consumerd says:

    very interesting indeed.

  7. Jeff says: "WTF could you have been thinking?" says:

    I know my Monday was not a total waste now.

  8. dolemite says:

    I once took the whole block of ramen out, sanded it down so that it fit perfectly into the bottom of the cup, then heated them. The noodles did not soften evenly. 9 people lost their lives that day.

    • GuJiaXian says:

      You monster!

    • pantheonoutcast says:

      I once refused to poke holes with a fork in the top plastic covering of a Hungry Man dinner. This resulted in my pickup truck breaking down, my wife running off with my neighbor, and my dog dyin’ in the alley behind my trailer.

      • Anathema777 says:

        I smell a country music award in your future…

        • Traveller says:

          After he gets the country award, play the song backwards. The dog comes back to life, the wife comes back, and the truck starts running properly again.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      It’s a good thing you didn’t flip the brick of noodles over. That reverse polarity could have caused our Doom. Doom I say. DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

      • jefeloco says:

        I did that once when I was a kid. I’ll just say that before that day, the Great Salt Lake was known as the Great Inland Sea.

  9. PanCake BuTT says:

    Gmmmm…. MSG, I’m getting sleepy just thinking about it !

  10. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    All I want to know is if the stuff in the cup tastes the same as the stuff in the packets.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      It has veggies in it, so it tastes about the same but it has veggies! :)

      I prefer the cup versions if I absolutely have to go with instant. I prefer packet versions so that I can add things to them.

      • NeverLetMeDown says:

        It has vegetable-flavored brightly colored pieces. I think they’re the result of a screwed-up production run at the Lucky Charms plant, where they forgot to put in the sugar.

        There’s really no connection between whatever those are and actual vegetables.

    • NarcolepticGirl says:

      no. The stuff in the cup seems “lighter”.

    • puppylove says:

      Cup Noodles aren’t as good as packet ramen. Their quality was compromised in order to allow them to hydrate faster and with lower-temperature water.

      Cup Noodles work by pouring hot water (or semi-hot water) into the cup, closing the top, and leave it sitting for 3 minutes.

      Actual ramen needs to be BOILED for at least 5 minutes to get the correct consistency.

      Another problem with Cup Noodles is that some people actually pour water cold water in them and microwave them. This practice is HIGHLY TOXIC, as microwaving styrofoam releases all sorts of nasty ass carcinogens into the broth.

      On one hand, I’m kind of glad there’s no warning label on the cup, because we live in a society full of warning labels on everything because everyone is apparently completely batshit stupid. But on the other hand, I think this is one situation where a warning label would actually be beneficial since SO MANY people make this mistake constantly. And the ramen company doesn’t give a shit about correcting it, because people would probably stop using Cup Noodles completely if they knew they had to boil the water seperately.

  11. Nick1693 says:

    I paraphrase Tina Fey as Liz Lemon when I speak about the instant ramen noodle museum and say “I want to go to there.”

  12. RedHatMatt says:

    In other news, there exists an Instant Ramen museum!

  13. JoeTaxpayer says:

    I read articles like this with great interest, and then it dawns on me, “I need a life.”

    • JennQPublic says:

      I read articles like this with great interest, too. But it never occurred to me before that it was a symptom of a problem. :-/

  14. Tomas says:

    As a retired engineer I can appreciate the attention to detail shown by this. Excellent work!

  15. The Marionette says:

    Not only was this known before, but someone mentioned before why it was like that. Guess it’s a slow day huh?

  16. Big Mama Pain says:

    We solved this mystery in the comments of the original post.

  17. edicius is an acquired taste says:

    Hmm. Now I’m hungry for some Cup Noodles. Damn that tasty sodium!

  18. Ixnayer says:

    finally I can get a good nights sleep.

  19. Razor512 says:

    Translated from marketing to English:

    The space on the bottom is designed decrease the risk of broken noodles, even though if something able to break them through the packaging, the packaging would also break open, causing the product to spoil. But more importantly, it increases our bottom line with most of out customers being none the wiser.

  20. EBE says:

    Thanks Consumerist!! I can sleep at night now!

  21. Salty Johnson says:

    Is that a museum of instant ramen, or an instant museum of ramen?

  22. dg says:

    Yeah, because broken ramen noodles is a downer… Marketing bullshit at it’s finest…

    Personally I don’t eat those sodium-laden things any longer. But I did when I was in college – 10/$1.00 couldn’t be beat. But honestly – they came in a plastic cube and we broke it up and jammed it into a hot pot that we smuggled into the dorm… We honestly gave no thought to whether or not a noodle got broken…

    And years later when they came out with the cups, we cared even less… We were just happy because the noodles were in a disposable cup, which kept the hotpot clean, and meant we didn’t have to smuggle it down the hall to clean it in the bathroom…

    Remember kids: Scams cast as innovations, and put into museums fool consumers…

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      Actually, I care quite a bit about my noodles not being broken. So I actually really like this.

      So take your cynicism elsewhere, sir! ;-)

  23. LastError says:

    The reason there’s a museum dedicated to instant ramen is simple: before the invention of instant ramen, making ramen was a difficult and very time consuming task. This made the dish kind of a special delicacy.

    After instant ramen was invented, suddenly anyone who could boil some water could make pretty decent quality ramen for not much money. Not as good as homemade but close and a LOT easier to make and available to anyone.

    A good analogy to American life: in the old days, if you wanted bread, you had to get the wheat and grind it into flour and knead dough and so on and bake it yourself and hope it didn’t burn. It was real pain.

    Nowadays, you probably go to the store and drop a couple dollars tops on a prebaked presliced loaf and thing nothing of it.

    America has lost sight of how far this is from the way things used to be. Japan is not as far away from the way things used to be. They remember. And instant ramen made such a huge difference to Japan, they made a museum to honor it.

    It’s part of their culture.

    Me, being an American, enjoy eating ramen dry with ketchup and hot sauce on it. My Japanese friends would be very upset if they knew. :)

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      I bet most younger Japanese today don’t remember this. In fact, I’d wager that most of them are just as bad as we are. Last time I lived there (in the aughts), they were about as far removed from “real” food as we are today. Kind of sad, really.

  24. fuceefacee says:

    This was a “mystery”…why?

    Time to pull out the old email carpet bomb on the manufactures of ramen noodles.

  25. grucifer says:

    Thank goodness, now I won’t be losing anymore sleep!

  26. Robofish says:

    SCIENCE! ( It blinds me )

  27. pot_roast says:

    It’s not a bug, it’s a feature!

  28. tgrwillki says:

    If you like the Ramen museum in Japan, You’ll LOVE the Gyoza (Pork dumplings) Museum

  29. chimpski says:

    Told you so