Japanese are known for being very polite. Maybe people worldwide will agree with that.
However, many foreigners are puzzled by its common custom: slurping noodles when eating in Japan.
In many countries outside Japan, noisy eating means bad table manners. It’s impolite to make loud noises when eating. Thus, why Japanese do inhale and slurp their noodles? Aren’t they generally polite?
At first, Japanese started to slurp one kind of noodles called soba. Soba noodles has been consumed for centuries, apparently in the early Edo period (1603-1868). Evidently, the custom of noodle slurping originated at soba stands. This custom spread, and we all can see it these days. It’s even influencing how Japanese eat ramen, as well as other noodles.
While soba is growing to be more and more popular, noodles experts in Japan found the best way to enjoy it. Soba made primarily of buckwheat, which gives it strong flavour than other Japan noodles. Not only delicious, soba also high in protein and contains important B vitamins.
Cooked soba only has subtle aroma. It can’t be smelled properly through the nose, but it’s best appreciated through the mouth. Thus, when we ‘slurp’ it vigorously, we can fully smell soba’s aroma exploding in our mouth!
Apart from the smell, slurping helps us to cool down the hot noodle. When eating hot noodles there’s a timing issue, we don’t want the noodle to be overcooked. Approximately, we have to finish the noodles in eight minutes, and slurping is the best way to do it.
Moreover, slurping noodles also enhance the flavour of noodles. The only thing we can find out is by doing it. As we eat, we will discover that it’s indeed the best way to eat Japanese noodles. If you happen to eat noodles in a restaurant in Japan, slurping is also a way to thanks the chef.
Don’t know how to slurp? Simply lead the noodles into your mouth by using chopsticks. Yes, it’s harder to do if you’re using fork. Suck the noodles up, and you will taste the noodles like never before!
Should you still find it a little bit disgusting to eat this way, it’s your choice. Some Japanese noodles experts understand that they can’t force everyone to follow their rules, as long as you enjoy the food. Will you slurp the next time you eat Japan noodles?