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I'm currently in Yunnan, China and one of the cheaper and still very yummy things to eat here is a spicy, oily, rice noodle soup.

I'm used to getting similar dishes such as Laksa at home in Australia with chopsticks and an Asian soup spoon. I'm fully aware ethnic cuisines and eating experiences can get modified to varying degrees when exported.

Here in Yunnan I get a big bowl of noodles with quite a lot of liquid. Normally I would eat the noodles with the chopsticks and sip the soup with the spoon in the other hand. I learned this from watching Asian people eat in Chinatown and in Asian restaurants.

But here I seem to always receive chopsticks and no spoon.

Is it rude to drink the soup from the bowl as though it were a large cup, or do people regard the soup as part of the washing up and not as part of the meal?

I know I can pick it up and drink it if I want, but I want to know if this is either offensive/rude/vulgar/uncouth or just not done for any other reason.

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No It really not rude and offensive in fact I have seen many chinese people doing it in the resturants well You may also see some people taking sip with the bowl not with the spoon. The problem with it is that when chinese people drink, they make noise like SHRRRRRR ! which is not good at all. But now as china's culture is also in evolution process so maybe many people find it annoying and do not do. You can do as far as no SHRRRR ! :-)

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SHRRRRRRRRRRRRRR –  user1712 Nov 4 '13 at 7:57
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I could be wrong here but I thought the loud noises were part of the culture because it showed that you were enjoying the food. Just because it doesn't line up with other cultures doesn't mean it's necessarily wrong ... –  SpaceDog Nov 4 '13 at 10:07
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@SpaceDog: it is the case in Japan: in fact, there, not making noise while sipping the soup would be considered rude! And indeed making noise is a sign you enjoy it very much. But I don't know if this applies to Yunnan area... As always, just watch around and see what locals do –  Olivier Dulac Nov 4 '13 at 10:48
    
I feel too self conscious to watch other diners eat even though staring is socially acceptable in China. I did eat with a Chinese guy from Beijing today and he slurped and requested a spoon which was not offered by default. –  hippietrail Nov 5 '13 at 13:19
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