By Justin McCurry in Tokyo
The instant noodle is an easy target for food snobs. What could be attractive, they ask, about spindles of artificially flavoured flour and water that have been steeped in saturated fat before being boiled and served in a polystyrene cup?
In Japan, the question would be met with incredulity. Here, instant noodles have risen from humble beginnings in Osaka to become an industry worth $4.4bn (£2.24bn) a year. To the Japanese, the "cup noodle" isn't just a quick and easy snack - it is a cultural icon.