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Asian cuisine styles can be broken down into several tiny regional styles that have roots in the peoples and cultures of those regions. The major types can be roughly defined as East Asian with its origins in Imperial China and now encompassing modern Japan and the Korean peninsula; Southeast Asian which encompasses Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Viet Nam, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines; South Asian states that are made up of India, Burma, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan as well as several other countries in this region of the continent; Central Asian and Middle Eastern.

History of Instant Noodles

Instant noodles were first marketed in Japan on August 25, 1958, under the brand name Chikin Ramen (チキンラーメン) by Momofuku Ando, who was born in southwestern Taiwan, formally known as Formosa, when the island was under Japanese colonial rule. Momofuku developed the production methodology of flash frying the noodles after they had been made, creating "instant" noodles. This step dried the noodles and gave them a longer shelf life. Chikin Ramen itself was distinctly different from modern instant noodles in that each block of noodles was pre-seasoned and sold for 35 Yen. Initially, due to its price and novelty, Chikin Ramen was considered a luxury item, as Japanese grocery stores typically sold fresh noodles for one-sixth their price. Despite this, instant noodles eventually gained immense popularity, especially after being promoted by Mitsubishi Corporation.

In 1971, Nissin introduced the Cup Noodles, instant noodles in a waterproof polystyrene cup, to which boiling water could be added to cook the noodles. A further innovation added dried vegetables to the cup, creating a complete instant soup dish.

According to a Japanese poll in the year 2000, "the Japanese believe their best invention of the 20th century was instant noodles." As of 2010, approximately 95 billion servings of instant noodles are eaten worldwide every year. China consumes 42 billion packages of instant noodles per year � 44% of world consumption � Indonesia, 14 billion; Japan, 5.3 billion, Viet Nam 4.8 billion, USA 4 billion. Per capita, South Koreans consume the greatest amount of instant noodles, 69 per capita per year.

Instant noodles are not only popular with college students, they can also be an economic indicator. In 2005, the Mama Noodles Index was launched to reflect the sales of Mama Noodles, the biggest instant noodle manufacturer in Thailand. The index was steady following recovery from the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, but sales increased about 15% on a year-to-year basis in the first seven months of 2005, which was regarded as a sign of an inferior good, one whose consumption increases as incomes fall. The theory was that the increase in sales of instant noodles, which are usually cheap, occurred because people could not afford more expensive foods.