BBC on The Eternal Life of the Instant Noodle. “Basic instant noodles are the cheapest thing on sale in most prison stores, where three packs cost about a dollar. They’ve replaced cigarettes as the most traded item inside American prisons. They’re so important, inmates use them as money … In the birthplace of instant noodles, Japan, they’ve been voted – repeatedly – Japan’s most successful invention, ahead of high-speed trains, laptops and karaoke. But perhaps the story behind instant ramen is more important to Japan than actually buying and eating the product.” (I think that really depends on how close it is to lunch…)