Important Etiquette for Eating Ramen

Etiquette for Eating Ramen
Photo by Anton Nazaretian on

Searching for some useful tips about eating Ramen, the right way? Well, you’ve reached the right place. Given the versatility and deliciousness of ramen noodles, it’s no wonder that it has become a fast-food sensation across the globe. While a traditional Japanese dish, Ramen has expanded its reach far outside of Asia. Ramen restaurants have opened in places like San Francisco, London, and New York.

Ramen is comfort food that is meant to be eaten on the run, like modern fast food. Originating in China, ramen was brought over to Japan in the 19th century by tradesmen. You can have your ramen in several formats, including pork, miso, salt, or soy; the choice is up to you. 

Many Japanese food dishes get their humble bases from a traditional bowl of ramen that combines soup and delicious noodles. While eating ramen has become a cultural tradition, it includes many unspoken rules. For those in the West that have likely only eaten Ramen noodles out of a package, it’s good to know the traditional ways to enjoy authentic Ramen. Let’s take a closer look at the etiquette for enjoying your favorite ramen dish.

Queuing at Ramen Restaurants

Most ramen restaurants are designed to be small, with only a few tables for eating. In most cases, there will be a queue formed outside with people patiently waiting. In Japanese fashion, queuing should be done in a polite and orderly fashion without much noise pollution that will disturb those eating their ramen. Ramen is designed to be fast food, so keeping up with the line to make your order is essential and respectful to other customers.

Ordering Your Ramen

You should have enough time in the queue to know what you want to order when it becomes your turn with the master. The master is the main order taker. Your actual order will most likely be entered into a computer kiosk, where you can also pay for your meal. Your kiosk ticket is then handed over to the master, who will then bring you your order when it is ready. It is only appropriate to sit once you have received your food so that you are not taking up a needed seat from those that are ready to eat.

Eating Ramen

When you eat ramen, you should use the traditional tools; a spoon and your chopsticks. The basic chopstick etiquette applies:

  • Never place your chopsticks upright in your bowl
  • Only use one hand to use your chopsticks
  • Don’t wave your chopsticks around in the air
  • Do not pass food to other diners using your chopsticks
  • When you are finished eating, place your chopsticks across the top of your bowl or in a holder

Using Your Ramen Spoon

  • Use your spoon in the opposite hand to your chopsticks
  • Use your spoon to help you to twirl your noodles onto your sticks

Sample the Broth

Before you attack your ramen noodles, it is expected that you take a quick sample of your broth. It is acceptable to take a small sip right from your bowl to sample your broth before you start eating the noodles.

Eggs, Meat, and Vegetables

An added egg is a common side dish for your ramen noodles. When you have an egg you should eat it separately, in the same bowl but apart from your broth and noodles. You can use your noodle spoon to help you scoop up your egg.

 If you have meat in your ramen, you should eat it separately using your chopsticks. This can be done in between bites of your noodles. Vegetables are also a common side for ramen. You can incorporate the small bits of vegetables with your noodle wraps and broth.

Eating Ramen
Ramen. Photo by Stephen Bedase on


Slurping your food may be considered rude in western culture, but it’s all part of enjoying the experience when you are eating Japanese ramen. Slurping is not only something that you can do with ramen, and it’s essential in expressing your delight in your noodles. The slurping also helps to cool your noodles down before you burn your mouth. After you have completed your noodles with your chopsticks, you can pick up your bowl and slurp down the rest of your soup. The slurping action will help to bring the full taste of the broth and the noodles out of the dish for you to enjoy.

Eat Fast

Ramen noodles are less of a meal and more of a snack that is often eaten in a hurry. When you order ramen, it’s culturally accepted that you will eat quickly and allow the next person to sit down at a table. Ramen noodles and broth are designed to be eaten quickly as they lose some of their benefits and are left too long to cool. When you take too long to eat your ramen, the noodles can get over blanched with the broth and lose their consistency making them rubbery or mushy. 

While eating traditional Japanese ramen is a classic favorite, it is becoming a popular fast food option in many places across the globe. If you want to get the most out of your ramen experience, follow these rules of etiquette and get slurping.