Is slurping ramen rude?

While loud slurping could be deemed impolite in the United States, it is impolite to not slurp in Japan. Oh, and remember to put the noodles in your mouth using chopsticks. Instead of lowering your head to eat from your plate, you are also permitted to bring your tiny bowl of food close to your face.

Is slurping ramen rude?

The majority of Japanese people slurp their noodles as a matter of course, however many foreigners may wonder why individuals would talk so loudly while eating. In addition to explaining why the Japanese slurp their noodles, this article offers some advice on how you can do the same.

Slurping Noodles Etiquette

Western cultures preach that when consuming noodles, broth, or anything else for that matter, one must always eat silently and refrain from ever making slurping noises.

Slurping noodles is widely encouraged as a sign of delight and appreciation in cultures like Chinese and Japanese.

As the saying goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” good noodle-eating manners depend on the nation and culture you are physically eating that bowl of noodle soup in.

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The Case for Slurping Noodles

If everyone in the establishment is slurping, it is usually acceptable and okay to do the same.

Slurping is acceptable and described in many cultures as a technique to improve the flavor and dining experience while praising the chef.

Slurping first helps the noodles cool off from the hot soup. The noodles won’t be enjoyable if you wait for the bowl to cool off since they will be too soggy.

Second, as you inhale the meal while slurping, oxygen is sucked out. By aerating the noodles and broth, more tastes are enhanced and revealed. Also, using your nose to breathe simultaneously makes use of your sense of smell to enhance the taste experience.

Third, slurping is not only acceptable in some cultures but also a sign to the kitchen staff that you are completely appreciating and enjoying the dish. You are expressing your gratitude to the chef.

While slurping—even loudly—is welcomed, take care not to slurp carelessly and accidentally strike your neighbors with soup.

Rude Abroad but Fine in Japan – The Top Reasons Why Japanese People Slurp their Noodles

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About the “Noodle Harassment” Controversy in Japan

A Twitter user who argued that Japanese residents’ loudly slurping noodles is a kind of harassment since it makes foreign visitors uncomfortable caused some debate over “noodle harrassment” in the fall of 2016. Those who think that slurping noodles is OK and people who think that Japanese should be more careful not to embarrass foreigners while eating soon were embroiled in a heated argument on social media and television. Of course, even in Japan, making excessive noise while eating is considered impolite. Noodles are the one food that defies this rule, and many people love slurping and giggling while eating them.

Noodle Slurping Reason #1: To Enjoy the Flavor of the Noodles

Japanese folks typically slurp their noodles for two reasons. The first is that chewing truly makes food taste better.
Slurping the noodles allows one to simultaneously consume the noodles and air in their mouth, which enhances the flavor of the noodles.
Think of a wine tasting, for instance, when the wine is swirled about in the glass to improve its contact with the air and enhance its smell, which is savored by giving it a nose sniff.

Noodles are a little different in that you appreciate the smell while eating them rather than by sniffing them. Therefore it’s crucial that you breathe in when sucking the noodles!

Noodle Slurping Reason #2: To Eat Quickly

Noodles reach their optimum springiness soon after being boiled, after which they progressively lose their bouncy quality. As a result, Japanese people have the practice of consuming their noodles as soon as possible to avoid them softening in the broth. The second reason why people in Japan enjoy slurping their noodles is since it is believed that the practice originated from this desire.

Also, since the invention of soba (buckwheat noodles), which was served as a form of “fast meal” at street stalls, noodles in general have been perceived as a dish that should be consumed quickly.

Modern society still has a lot of tachi-gui (stand and eat) soba and udon (thick noodles) eateries on train platforms, which is a reflection of the notion. Since they are viewed as meals that can be consumed quickly before boarding a train, soba and udon are sold in stores but not other dishes. Japanese people undoubtedly slurp their noodles because they have a long-standing instinct to consume noodle meals rapidly.

Try Slurping Some Noodles for Yourself!

Undoubtedly, many foreign visitors have never attempted to consume noodles by slurping them. Why not give it a try while you’re in Japan since you’ve traveled so far?
Here is a tip on how to slurp noodles properly for those who have never done it before.
To slurp the noodles, let’s first form the right mouth shape. Put your lips together as if you were sipping through a straw, then take a deep breath.

Once you’ve done that, try practicing simultaneously breathing air and water. Try sucking in some water after forming the proper lip purse. You are doing it right if it produces the appropriate slurping sound!

Lastly, try chewing on some actual noodles. Do not push yourself too hard when eating soba, even if it is thought to be more aesthetically pleasing to slurp the entire bowl of noodles without biting into them midway through.
Don’t worry if you give slurping noodles a try and discover that you don’t enjoy it. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to slurp noodles, but you should give it a shot at least once!

Enjoy Noodles However You Want

The majority of Japanese people slurp their noodles since it is seen to be the most delicious way to eat them, notwithstanding the “noodle harassment” debate noted at the opening of this article. Nonetheless, some people still choose not to slurp their noodles. It is entirely up to each individual how they chose to eat their noodles, and there is nothing wrong with doing so. Foreigners must comprehend the explanations given in this article on why Japanese people slurp their noodles in order for that freedom of choice to persist.


Although eating ramen doesn’t require any particular etiquette, as was already established, there are a few suggestions you should keep in mind. Although not adhering to rules would not necessarily be shameful, doing so will improve your ramen-eating experience.

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Asian little Chinese girl eating ramen noodles at a Japanese restaurant

Tie up long hair

For instance, people who eat while wearing long hair run the danger of having it contact the soup. It’s unhygienic to dip your hair into the soup. It’s a good idea to have a hair tie ready so you can tie your hair up to prevent this.

Prevent soup from splashing

It’s not enjoyable to get soup on your freshly-cleaned white shirt when you attempt to slurp noodles if you’re not used to doing it. If the harm is limited to oneself, it’s not too awful, but there is a chance that you will spill soup on those around. Try taking fewer bites or placing the noodles on a spoon before slurping if you’re not used to slurping ramen.

Don’t use tabletop seasonings without tasting the served soup first

Pepper and other seasonings are frequently on the table when you sit down at a ramen restaurant table. But, before adding any more tastes, we advise that you try the ramen soup as is first. Be aware of this before adding anything to the ramen since at many ramen places, the ramen is given with the seasoning that the chef deems to be the tastiest.

Related questions

Is slurping noodles rude in China?

In China and Japan, loudly slurping your noodles is seen as a way to express your gratitude to the cook for your one-bowl dinner. But not so much in South Korea and Singapore. There, you could get disapproving looks, similar to those you might see while talking too loudly in a quiet train car.

Is it rude to bite your noodles in Japan?

In any study of Japanese table etiquette, one of the first things you’ll learn is that it’s usual and even acceptable to slurp your noodles out loud while you eat them. Whether it’s ramen, soba, or udon, it doesn’t matter. Noodles prepared in the Japanese way are designed to be slurped, with the sound indicating that you are savoring the dish.

In what culture is it OK to slurp?

What happens if you find yourself in Japan with an abundance of noodles? Slurp time is arrived. Soup and noodles are typically consumed noisily. Slurping your food is also a way to show the cook how much you appreciate him or her.

What is seen as disrespectful in Japan?

In Japan, pointing at objects or people is considered impolite. The Japanese wave their hands softly in front of what they want to convey rather than using a finger to point. People will touch their nose with their fingertip instead of pointing at themselves when addressing themselves.


In conclusion, slurping ramen is a contentious issue that can evoke strong opinions in both directions. While some may think of it as uncultured and rude, many ramen enthusiasts would argue that slurping is an integral part of the experience. The act of slurping imparts more flavor to the palate, cools the hot broth down, and communicates enjoyment to the chef. Every culture has their own norms when it comes to etiquette, so considering local customs can be important. But in general, those who choose to partake – whether they are visiting Japan or enjoying at-home ramen – should feel comfortable embracing all aspects of the meal, including audible consumption.

Ultimately, it is up to the person consuming ramen to decide whether or not they enjoy slurping their noodles. However, that same person should also take into consideration the opinions of others around them when deciding this. Time-honored traditions of various cultures are steeped in much societal meaning, and slurping can be perceived differently from place to place. Overall, respect and courtesy should remain at the forefront of any shared space. For those seeking reliable information about these cultural topics, feel free to contact us at Angelo’s Burgers and we would be thrilled to aid on your journey! Through understanding other’s customs and traditions we can learn much more about our world as a collective! Together let’s take a closer look at this global phenomenon and hopefully gain perspective on different types of people along the way.

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