January 9, 2007lost a food pioneer on January 5. Momofuku Ando, 97, the self-professed "Noodle King," was the man who invented instant ramen -- the low budget dining delicacy of college students everywhere. Long before sushi, there was another and more profound Japanese food invasion in the United States. Since the mid-1970s, instant ramen has been bringing Asian culinary subtlety (OK, so it's not exactly subtle) to young American palates for mere pennies a bowl. Ramen may be an ubiquitous presence in US grocery stores today, but it was only introduced in America in 1972. It took several years and some marketing savvy -- the inexpensive packages of fried and dried, boil and serve noodles didn't catch on until they were sold in the soup aisle in the supermarket -- before ramen caught on as a dorm room staple. Although ramen is a relatively young food in America, it has a long and distinguished history in Asia.