FOR years the humble pot noodle was a staple food for hard-up students. But now noodles are becoming posh.

Asian street food is one of the UK’s fastest-growing food crazes — and smart noodle pots are leading the trend, particularly those aimed at the health conscious.

Damien Lee from Bournemouth is about to launch Mr Lee's Noodles, gourmet noodles in a cup with help from renowned Dorset chef Andy Chu.

He told Taste: "Our noodles are 100 per cent natural with real freeze dried ingredients - they are also the lowest in calories, salt sugars and saturated fats."

The story behind the Australian born entrepreneur's search for a healthy noodle started two years ago when he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Hodgkin lymphoma [cancer of the lymphatic system].

"The doctors said I had a choice. I could have treatment if I wanted, but that most people at this stage chose not to, because they want live out the last few days with some quality of life."

But as a single dad of two young boys, there was no way Damien was going to throw in the towel without a fight.

"I said I'm not going anywhere, I've got a lot to live for so tell me what we've got to do. With my girlfriend's help, I also decided to change my lifestyle to equip myself in every way I could, so I started by taking all the rubbish out of my diet."

Fast forward 12 months, and 18 rounds of chemotherapy, Damien who is originally from Sydney (his mother was Australian and his father was from Singapore), was given the all clear.

"I've always had a weak spot for instant noodles, " he explains. "I craved them even while I was ill, but I knew they were full of rubbish so I decided to find a way of creating a healthy noodle and it went from there."

Mr Lee's Noodles will soon be available to buy online, and he has also designed his own vending machine, or noodle kiosk, as he calls it so consumers can have access to healthy food 24/7.

There is also the option of adding protein boosts such as seaweed or watercress so you can Pimp Your Noodle.

The plan is to roll out the kiosks at college campuses and hospitals across the country. He has also had interest from airline companies including Ryanair.

Damien adds: "We want everyone to love the noodle."

Australians consume more than 18 million kilograms of noodles every year.

In Japan, it is considered good form to loudly slurp your noodles as a way of telling your host that you are enjoying the meal.

Noodles symbolise longevity in China.