Site icon Japan Daily

Slurping as an Art Form

Slurping Noodles in Japan

Ramen has got to be one of the best foods in Japan, period. Keeping you warm during a cold winter night, or being the perfect comfort food after yet another drinking session with co-workers, good Ramen has always had a special place in my heart. There’s one thing I’ve always wondered, however: Why do Japanese People, who usually have such good manners, slurp their noodles?

Proper dining etiquette is something that can make or break a great night out at a restaurant. None of us want to sit across from the one person who slurps his/her noodles, or soup so loudly you eat vicariously through that person with every intake. Proper table manners, including not slurping, was drilled into me since I was just a young child.

In Japan, however, all that proper table manner stuff goes right out the window, as you can slurp to your heart’s content here; as long as you’re eating noodles. As a matter of fact, it’s considered rather strange/impolite if you don’t slurp your noodles in Japan. While it may seem rather peculiar at first, the slurping of noodles actually serves three purposes:

While I will not go as far as compare eating Ramen with a wine-tasting, in which you would swish the wine in the glass, and then gurgle the first sip by sucking air through your mouths, I will say there may be something to this theory. The slurping could, indeed, enhance flavors. By sucking in copious amounts of air, you can eat the noodles while they’re still steaming, and thus letting them unfold their full, delicious flavor.

So, whether you slurp to save your mouth from scalding hot noodles, to enhance their flavor, or to save yourself yet another trip to the drycleaners, you’re expected to slurp away with reckless abandon after entering Japan. 

As the old saying goes, when in Rome….

Exit mobile version