Japanese Etiquette for Eating Noodles
Written by Suzan Adem
Japanese culture has a rich and long traditional history, with a proper etiquette for almost every occasion. Not surprisingly, eating noodles has some specific rules and etiquette which come in hand if you're planing a trip to Japan.
1. Never raise your food above your mouth
There is no need to have a staring contest with your dish, just take the time to enjoy it. Your mouth is the highest point your chopsticks should ever reach.
2. Don’t rest your chopsticks on your bowl!
You may have seen this many times, BUT using your bowl as a resting place for your chopsticks rest is a breach of etiquette. You should place your chopsticks on the rest.
3. Slurping is a sign of appreciation
Some good news, while slurping can be a sign of bad manners in other countries, in Japan it’s completely acceptable and encouraged. In Japanese culture slurping your noodles shows how MUCH you are enjoying your meal. The slurping process also cools down the noodles and enhances flavors, so don’t feel uncomfortable and just slurp it!
4. Eat your soup with chopsticks
Use chopsticks to eat the solid food items from the broth. When you’re finished, bring the bowl to your mouth and drink the broth the same way you’d drink a cup of tea.
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5. Eat quick
Everything in busy cities like Tokyo seems so quick, especially in noodle shops. Here there's no lingering or time for chit chat. These small spaces sometimes only a few counter seats and there's often a large queue outside. Once your bowl is delivered, you chow down in order to keep business moving.
6. Finish what you order!
In some countries, it’s a nice idea to leave food on your plate so you don’t look gluttonous. But it's poor form in Japanese culture. This is especially true if you opt for chef’s choice meal, called omakase. Giving the chef the opportunity to make what they please for you is an honor, and so not finishing items is considered very rude and wasteful. This is a good reason to order only what you think you can eat.
7. Return all your dishes to how they were at the start of the meal once you're done
This is common courtesy in most cultures but is especially important in Japan. This process includes replacing the lids on dishes and putting your chopsticks back on the chopstick rest or in the paper holder they came in
The etiquette for Japanese dining goes far beyond “no elbows on the table.” So if you don’t want to be rude in Japan, you should definitely try to follow these few easy rules.
What other dinning etiquette do you know that are a must in Japan?
About the author: Hello, my name is Suzan, 20 years old student in Sofia University, Bulgaria. My major is Japan, so as can you guess I’m now studying about their rich and beautiful culture and language as well. That is why I find great pleasure doing these articles as it gives me the opportunity to expand my knowledge and it’s easy doing something you love.