Instant Noodles at a Glance
While instant noodles were born in Japan, they have now integrated into the diets of many different of countries and have taken root in as instant noodles of their own. Here are you can see how people enjoy instant noodles.
106.4 billion servings of instant noodles were eaten in 2019. By simple arithmetic, as many as 290 million servings are eaten every day. Regardless of the area, age and gender, instant noodles are loved as "global food”.
10 countries out of 15 are from Asia, where more than 80% of instant noodles are consumed. Korea leads per capita consumption by far. The Koreans like instant noodles so much that they are served even at restaurants and stalls there. In Nepal and Vietnam, instant noodles are popular for breakfast and night snacks.
*The Global Demand means the total servings eaten in the world in a year.
*Unit : Million Servings
In addition to the flavors that have integrated into the European diet, many different varieties of instant noodles with Asian flavors are also sold and popular.
- Chicken soup is the most popular flavor. Instant noodles are eaten outdoors, at BBQs, and on sleeper trains when crossing the wide nation, a unique Russian phenomenon. Sometimes noodles in bags are eaten as side dishes without soup, or crushed and enjoyed as soup in cups. Russians also like eating cup noodles with mayonnaise.
- The most common soups are chicken, beef, and shrimp. Popular tastes are tomato-base and spicy soups. As there is no custom to slurp noodles in Germany, noodles are generally cut short and eaten using a spoon and fork.
In North America, instant noodles have taken root as part of the American diet. We expect that instant noodles will spread to South America in the future.
- Americans like chicken the most, although there are many other flavors as well such as beef, shrimp, and vegetables. As Americans do not slurp noodles, noodles are generally cut short and eaten using a spoon and fork. As microwave ovens are widely available, many products that can be cooked in a microwave are sold.
- Brazilians prefer a strong salt flavor and instant noodles without soup but dipping noodles in soup is popular. The most popular flavor is chicken. Other popular flavors include beef, tomato, cheese, and bacon. Brazilians also like a creamy soup and the texture of the noodles is similar to pasta.
- People in Mexico eat noodles with salsa sauce, chili sauce, and limes. Shrimp, beef, chicken and cheese flavors are popular. In Mexico, instant noodles are considered to be a soup and it has a light taste as people generally finish the soup.
The leading market for instant noodles. Each country has its own unique flavors.
- China & Hong Kong
An original Chinese flavor made of a beef based soup and Chinese five-spice powder (spices made of fennel, cinnamon, cloves, citrus unshiu peel, and star anise) is popular. There are rice vermicelli and cellophane noodles in addition to flour noodles. Chinese people prefer large-sized cup noodles called “tub noodles”.
- Hong Kong
While Hong Kongers like seafood taste soups, such as shrimp and fish, there are also various kinds of soups available such as beef, chicken, and pork bone base. People in Hong Kong usually eat instant noodles with toppings at cha chaan tengs (no frills restaurants) for breakfast and as snacks.
- Fried noodles called "Mie Goreng" are the most popular type of noodle with Indonesia consumers. Vegetable, chicken, and shrimp flavors that have chili condiments are popular. As the majority of the population is Muslim, most products are halal.
- Generally Japanese people enjoy pork bone, chicken stock, and fish stock soup flavors with a combination of soy sauce. Many types of noodles from Japan, such as udon, soba, and fried noodles, are available. There are a wide variety of noodles, including those developed in collaboration with local ramen shops and famous restaurants, and low-calorie products for health conscious consumers.
- Tom ChuaCay flavor (a mixture of shrimp and acidic flavors) is the most popular flavor, and Vietnamese people prefer noodles with elasticity. They also add onions, lemons, and peppers to cooked instant noodles. In addition to flour noodles, many products use pho rice noodles, which is unique to Vietnam. Most Vietnamese eat instant noodles for breakfast and supper.
- Spicy instant noodles that have red hot chili soup is common, and beef and seafood soups are also popular. Koreans prefer thick noodles and a springy texture mixed with starch from potatoes. Non-spicy chicken stock base and white soups called champon have become popular in recent years.
- In the Philippines, a style of fried noodle called “Pancit Canton” is popular, for which the flavors of Calamondin (citrus fruit) and hot chili are popular. Seafood flavor is popular for noodle soup. As Filipinos like to snack, instant noodles in small cups are also popular.
- Not surprisingly, curry (masala) and chicken tikka flavors are popular in India. Roughly 60% of Indians are vegetarians due to religious reasons, and therefore vegetable and tomato-based soups are eaten the most. Usually, Indians eat noodles with only a small amount of soup. As a snack for children, a small amount of noodles in a bag called “Chota Packs” are sold.
- Tom yum, Thai suki, and mince pork flavors are popular in Thailand. Generally, spicy flavors with chili are preferred. A wide variety of products use rice vermicelli and pho.
- Malaysians enjoy curry and tom yum flavors. Fried noodles called mee goreng are widely consumed, and chili and kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) are popular tastes. As Malaysia is made up of multi-ethnic groups that include Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus, pork and beef flavors are not widely available.
- There are two kinds of noodles in Nepal: brown noodles that are already flavored with seasonings and white noodles that have no flavor. As it is customary to eat noodles as a snack without cooking them, the brown noodles are much more popular. Chicken and vegetable based soups are popular with spices such as masala and chili powders.
- The most popular soup is the pork flavored soup. Although there are many flavors that are common to China and Hong Kong, there are also distinctive products with coriander and five-spice powder aromas.
- As Singapore is a multi-ethnic society with the majority of people from Chinese, Malay, and Indian racial backgrounds, chicken and curry flavors that are commonly eaten by these three ethnic groups are popular. Additionally, laksa flavor, a Singaporean specialty, is available. Singaporeans eat instant noodles for supper and as snacks.
Middle East & Africa
An increase in demand is expected in the Middle East and Africa as the population grows in the future. Taste variations are still limited.
- Chicken flavor, familiar to Nigerians, is the most common flavor. Nigerians generally cook the noodles with a small amount of soup and eat them without soup. Children and students like instant noodles and they eat them for breakfast, as snacks, and lunch at school. They prefer lots of noodles.
- Saudi Arabia
- The Saudis love chicken flavored instant noodles, which were introduced to the country by babysitters and maids from Indonesia who used to bring instant noodles to Saudi Arabia and feed them to the local children over generations. Due to strict Islamic law, instant noodles that are halal certified are sold. People usually purchase instant noodles by the box.
- Chicken is the most popular flavor among Kenyans. As there is no custom to eat noodles with hot soup in Africa, people cook noodles with only a small amount of soup and eat them without soup. Kenyans generally cook the noodles in a bag with vegetables and beans.
- Goes with any sort of seasoning and spices. Free from religious constraints.
- A major broth exc. Islamic world. Popular in China, Thailand, and Japan.
- Common broth in China and Korea. Also, familiar in Europe and Americas.
- Popular worldwide. Especially, shrimps blended with local seasonings give original flavors.
- Popular among vegetarians in India,Nepal,Europe and America. Mushroom and tomato flavors are also popular.
*Data from WINA
- Garlic, ginger, lemongrass essential to tom yam, cinamon and star anise specific to Chinese food, etc. They give distinctive flavors.
- Curry (Masala)
- Popular in South Asia. Gives spicy taste and scent as well as original color.
- Chili Pepper
- A sort of spice, popular in Korea, Thailand, and Mexico. Used to add deep heat.
- Soy sauce
- Original in Japan. Its "umami" gives perfect combination with other seasonings.
- Its creamy flavoring is popular in Europe and Americas.
- Bean Paste
- Fermented cereal grains make delectably rich flavor. Many varieties across East Asia.
- Lime and Calamansi are used to freshen up in Mexico and the Philippines respectively.
*Data from WINA