Generally mystery meat is something to be avoided, unless you’re talking about Cup Noodle brand mystery meat.

It was with great fanfare that Cup Noodle rolled out their commemorative flavor in honor of the instant ramen’s 45th birthday. Dubbed Cup Noodle Big Mystery Meat Festival, it features a heaping helping of the product’s beloved indescribable meat.

Even if you’ve only eaten Cup Noodle once, you have probably taken note of the tiny cubes of meat the origin of which cannot be discerned by the naked eye. And because most people don’t have the spectrometers or DNA analysis equipment (or patience to read the ingredients) to identify them as pork, those little cubes has been lovingly dubbed “mystery meat” (nazo niku).

It was a little surprising for Nissin to embrace this less-than-flattering nickname in their 45th anniversary product. But they did so with bravado and loaded the Mystery Meat Festival with ten times the amount of processed pork cubes than is found in conventional Cup Noodles.

And it was this combination of meat and self-deprecating humor that hit just the right note with consumers who came out in droves to buy a piece of the festival. Released on 12 September, it took only three days before Nissin realized that the demand for Mystery Meat Festival was much larger that the had expected.

On 15 September the company apologized for not producing enough and said that they must suspend shipments of Mystery Meat Festival until late October, when they are sure there will be enough to keep on the shelves.

Of course this will only serve to make Mystery Meat Festival even more of a coveted product. So, if in Japan, you might want to head immediately down to the nearest convenience store to get a taste of the festival for 205 yen (US$2). Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until October.

Source:, Sankei News (Japanese)
Images: Nissin