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TIME 100: AUGUST 23-30, 1999 VOL. 154 NO. 7/8

Instant Success

By HANNAH BEECH

In a century of explosive innovation and elaborate gadgetry, Momofuku Ando made his fortune from a more humble discovery. But the Japanese instant-noodle inventor's skillful mix of flour, oil and a little salt and MSG has redefined the way the world eats.

m o r e
Daisuke Inoue: Karaoke King
His simple invention has helped millions find their voice

Ando's original Chicken Ramen, cooked up in his backyard after months of trial and error, has spawned multiple variations: in India masala is the flavor of choice, Italians like theirs with tomato, and the chili voltage reaches alarming levels in Thailand and South Korea. All told, 43 billion servings of the inexpensive snack are consumed each year worldwide. When Ando's packaged pasta was introduced 41 years ago, it was dismissed as an impractical luxury item. At 10¢ a pack, the dehydrated meal cost six times as much as a fresh, steaming bowl served up in a neighborhood noodle joint. But the novelty of the insta-meal quickly drove sales upward. Dozens of competitors joined Ando's Nissin Food Products Co. in the ramen battle. Today in China alone there are more than 2,000 instant-noodle manufacturers. Indonesia boasts more than 50 domestic brands. And while instant noodles have stayed well under a dollar a pack, a restaurant bowl of ramen in Tokyo now costs $8. Ando, it seems, invented the inflation-proof food. Now if only the 89-year-old can figure out a way to perform the same feat with sushi.





The Most Influential Asians of the Century

Asians of the Century
A cavalcade of towering individuals and a newly awakened populace

Why Adam Smith Would Love Asia
Asia has been the proving ground for global capitalism

Ending Silence
Asian women are celebrating hard-won triumphs

Viewpoint
Embrace the wisdom of democracy and capitalism

t h e  l i s t

Hirohito
Ho Chi Minh
Pol Pot
Issey Miyake
Daisuke Inoue
Rabindranath Tagore
Sun Yat-sen
Mohandas Gandhi
Sukarno
Mao Zedong
Lee Kuan Yew
Deng Xiaoping
Corazon Aquino
Park Chung Hee
Eiji Toyoda
King Rama
Swaminathan
Akira Kurosawa
Dalai Lama
Akio Morita



This edition's table of contents

AsiaNow


   LATEST HEADLINES:

WASHINGTON
U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

MANILA
Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

ALLAHABAD
Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

COLOMBO
Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

TOKYO
Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

BANGKOK
Thai party announces first coalition partner



TIME:

COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state



ASIAWEEK:

COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness


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