In Western and westernized media, characters are shown sucking up ramen noodles bowls then drinking the soup from the bowl at street side shops.

What is actually appropriate when eating at a traditional ramen shop?

  • 3
    @oleksandr a better thing to do for Stack Exchange would be to cite the video in an answer that summarizes what is said in it.
    – Ifusaso
    Feb 17, 2018 at 20:02
  • Ramen eating "etiquette", best joke ever. Feb 17, 2018 at 22:51
  • Fair enough, but it's still the appropriate word lol
    – Ifusaso
    Feb 17, 2018 at 22:54
  • 7
    Or, maybe, I don't have context to know which of the dozens of YouTube videos are reputable sources. Maybe I was hoping for someone with anecdotal evidence or someone actually familiar with the culture in Travel SE.
    – Ifusaso
    Feb 18, 2018 at 0:18

1 Answer 1


Slurping noodles is fine. The theory is that sucking in air reduces the odds of getting burned and/or shows appreciation to the chef.

Drinking from the bowl, however, is a mild faux pas. While this is expected for Japanese soups like miso, which are served from small bowls without a spoon, ramen is considered a Chinese dish and it's served in large bowls that are awkward to drink from, so there's always a spoon on the side. The broth is usually also very salty and fatty, so most people don't eat all of it. All that said, ramen is casual fast food and it's common to see people drink it up directly.

Last but not least, some advice from the Ramen Master in cult classic タンポポ, who drinks his soup straight from the bowl: https://youtu.be/C1sbnXcVeBE

Disclaimer: the movie is a comedy and the scene is tongue in cheek... but it's funny precisely because some Japanese do take their ramen very seriously!

  • 2
    "ramen is considered a Chinese dish and it's served in large bowls that are awkward to drink from, so there's always a spoon on the side" - which, as far as I can extrapolate, might not stop any Chinese person from drinking directly from the bowl nonetheless. Of course, the Japanese assumption of how to deal with Chinese dishes may differ. Feb 17, 2018 at 22:49
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    The practical difference in Japan is that Chinese soups are served with spoons, so you can choose to drink or use the spoon, while Japanese ones are not, so drinking is the only option. What Chinese people do in China is another question. Feb 18, 2018 at 0:59
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    The answer is so good I cannot stand a single imperfection in it: it is Tampopo, not Tanpopo (sorry, not enough reputation to silently correct it) Feb 18, 2018 at 5:22
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    It is "Tanpopo" using Modified Hepburn Romanisation. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hepburn_romanization#Syllabic_n Feb 18, 2018 at 5:40
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    @thenickdude: The "official?" English name (on imdb.com/title/tt0092048 anyway) is Tampopo, so that's probably the more useful name to use in the answer, regardless of Tanpopo also being a valid spelling for the Japanese word. Feb 18, 2018 at 5:45

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