Join us as we sample Cup Noodles’ new custom-made and vegetable-themed soup shop.

Sure we all love Cup Noodles, with their geometric meat, wacky ideas, and as an all-around affordably convenient hunger-calming comfort food. But we also all have to admit that they aren’t the healthiest things in the world either.

But now Japan’s premier instant junk meal took a turn for the healthy and opened an all-vegetable designer Cup Noodle shop in the Umeda district of Osaka. Named Momofuku Noodle after the inventor of the instant noodle, Momofuku Ando, this vendor serves up a Cup Noodle with your choice from a wide variety of ingredients.

We sent our reporter Masami down to the bustling downtown area of Osaka to check it out on opening day, 3 October.

You’d be forgiven for mistaking Momofuku Noodle’s storefront for a candy shop, lined with colorful little cubes called yasaikoro. But upon closer inspection, these are actually ten kinds of vegetables all dried and cubed, including tomatoes, beets, avocados, and red peppers.

In addition to four yasaikoro, you can chose one of three soup bases: Spinach & Broccoli, Tomato & Chili, and Carrot & Coconut Ethnic Curry.

Factoring in all the cubes and soups, there are 2,145 conceivable combinations, making it impossible for all but the most hardcore soup eaters to get bored.

If all those possibilities are too overwhelming, there are also recommended pre-made soups available, but Masami wanted to be adventurous for her first visit. She chose the Tomato & Chili soup with beets, potato, spinach, and corn yasaikoro because she thought the yellow would look nice against the red soup.

The staff prepared her cup in front of her, which was a nice little treat. After quickly adding the vegetable cubes they sealed on the lid and it was all ready to go for 540 yen (US$4.70).

▼ A special machine onsite will affix your cup’s top

There wasn’t any hot water available there, so Masami had to rush home to try it.

Preparing a Momofuku Noodle works just like a regular Cup Noodle, by adding hot water for three minutes. However, you should take care that these noodles have a much shorter shelf life than regular Cup Noodles. It might vary depending on the type you buy, but you shouldn’t expect to keep one for over a month.

When it was finished, Masami was surprised at how thick it was. The menu had referred to the soup as a “smoothie” but at the time she though it was just boastful advertising. Turns out, this soup really was worthy of the title, and had an unusually fruity aroma that makes it easy to forget you’re going to eat an instant noodle.

It also came with an additional sauce to complement your choice of ingredients. In Masami’s case it was a packet of balsamic vinegar.

The flat noodles were especially delicious, made with whole wheat and not fried. It was a very hearty soup, and while Masami’s not sure she could go as far as calling it a truly “healthy” Cup Noodle, it was certainly a delectable experience.

Given the price and limited availability as far as locations, it’s more of a once-in-a-while treat for locals. But if you happen to be visiting Osaka and want a memorable dining experience, Momofuku Noodle might just be for you.

Store Information
Momofuku Noodle / モモフクヌードル
Osaka-shi, Kita-ku, Kakuda-cho 8-7 Hankyu Umeda Honten B1
大阪市北区角田町8-7 阪急うめだ本店B1
Hours: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. (9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday)

Photos: SoraNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]