How Much is Inside a Pack of Ramen Noodles?

What is the total length of noodles in a brick of uncooked Top Ramen or Sapporo Ichiban?

How much is inside Ramen noodles? 

Top Ramen is the king of noodles. With a reputation built on eight-for-a-dollar, ten-for-a-dollar, and even 12-for-a-dollar packaged soup, These affordable three-minute meals have supplied life-giving nutrients to innumerable college students.

However, having graduated from the University and forged a respected status in my community, I usually opt for a somewhat classier brand of instant noodle: Sapporo Ichiban

I refer to it as "the gentleman's noodle".

Like all instant ramen, the Sapporo Ichiban package is actually a food kit, containing both a tough block of tangled wheat noodles and a foil envelope containing 8 grams of salt and leek chips.

These futuristic blocks of nutrition were developed by JAXA (the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency) in 1974. 

Ramen production started slowly, at only a few dozen blocks per month.

Despite their premium price, the portability and convenience was inescapable.  They caught on immediately with Japanese executives, jet-set businessmen, politicians and anyone else who needed to eat "at the speed of space".

Increased production and overseas competition allowed the price to fall, eventually allowing middle class families and urban professionals to embrace noodlemania. 

In 1981, the familiar ramen block was joined by a flavor envelope, bolstered by the "Spice it UP!" and "Em Es Gee!" Marketing campaigns. No one seemed to mind that ramen simplicity had become a little less simple.

Everyone associated the little foil envelopes with good times. 

The dimensions of the Ramen block are easy to measure: 4" long, 4½" wide and 1" thick. But how long are the noodles within, or  is the block really one long noodle, carefully folded in the best traditions of foodigami?

On Saturday afternoon, we decided to find out.

Mark and I boiled some water and dropped in a block of ramen.

In two minutes, the ramen had softened.  

We knew then we were very close to unlocking their secrets.

A close examination revealed that there were many separate noodles, dozens of them!

Mark tried eating directly from the aluminum platter, just like those first JAXAnaughts.

The next step was to stretch out the noodles and measure them.

We moved the noodles outside and began laying them out in a nearby parking lot.

Before we got very far, Tom, Amy, Steve and Elise stopped by to help.

It was a slow, tedious job, but with everyone pitching in, it went by really quick.

It was fun working in a group with the whole gang, just like performing surgery at the hospital!

In fifteen minutes, nearly all the noodles were stretched out.

Finally we were finished, and it was time to measure the noodles. There were 156!

The longest were about 25½" long, with an average length of 13".

The final numbers were tallied and calculated: 2,049.5 inches of noodle, more than 170 feet!

The next time you are in the mood for a long lunch, cook yourself some instant Ramen, the longest lunch!

Ramen history | Can you believe those ramen noodles claim to have three servings per container? | HMI Ramen episode suggested by Jeff Abell