Query: Slurping noodles in oriental restaurants

Dear EtiKate
I loved your soup etiquette post!
You mentioned that slurping is a no-no when enjoying your soup. But supposedly in other cultures (Japan, and possibly other East-Asian countries), slurping is encouraged. It expresses one’s satisfaction with the soup. Is that true?
Also, should one do the same when in a Eat-Asian restaurant here, or should I obey the “Western” rules?

Ruth via Ask Dear EtiKate

Dear EtiKate
Following on from your soup article, how does one eat noodles? To slurp or not to slurp?

Resist slurping the irresistible.

Resist slurping the irresistible ramen.

Dear Ruth and Readers

In many Far Eastern cultures, it is not only permissible to slurp, it is encouraged as it is seen as a compliment to the cook.

If you find yourself in the Orient, do slurp soup and noodles if the locals are doing so. When dining at noodle houses in the rest of the world, I would advise eating as noiselessly as possible. Other diners may not know the cross-cultural reason for slurping, and might view it awfully coarse.

As you have pointed out, etiquette varies between cultures. This is what makes it fun and interesting. I suppose this is the very case of ‘When in Rome…’


EtiKate will answer your etiquette related questions. Submit your problems, dilemmas or queries in the Dear EtiKate section.


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