How Long Should You Allow Your Ramen To Cool Off Before Eating?

We've all watched a friend take a bite of visibly steaming ramen with eager, reckless abandon. Some like it hot, right? Maybe you are that friend.

But, admittedly, that's not the best move for every noodle fan. Enduring a burnt tongue all day is a familiar drag, but nobody wants to dig into cold broth, either. So, where's the sweet spot in between?

Renowned restaurateur Ivan Orkin owns and operates Ivan Ramen in Manhattan, but he's been a ramen master since the early 2000s. For those of us still in training, Orkin lays out The Rules of Eating Ramen so we can enjoy it like pros. 

The main rule, according to Orkin, is to eat it while it's hot. "If you're a real New Yorker," he says, "you know that you don't wait for the pizza to cool down. You eat it while it's hot and you risk burning your mouth. Ramen is absolutely the same."

An MDPI study found that the average human mouth has a temperature threshold of approximately 153 degrees Fahrenheit, but the culinary experts at Hakubaku recommend that ramen hit a rolling boil (212 degrees Fahrenheit) right before it hits the table. 

Luckily, there is an ages-old technique for avoiding a scalded mouth while still enjoying your steaming-hot ramen — and it's something you've probably been conditioning yourself not to do.

Slurping is the way to go

The best method for eating hot ramen while not getting burnt: Slurp it up! Umami Insider explains the genius of the slurp technique. "While in the U.S., slurping can be a sign of bad manners. In Japan, it's completely acceptable. ... If you want the true Japanese experience, use your chopsticks to gather as many noodles as you can and feel free to slurp them quickly into your mouth." 

Per Smithsonian Magazine, slurping makes eating hot ramen easier because it helps cool down the broth. At the same time, introducing air into the liquid this way helps release more flavor.

Ramen Tatsuya notes that the key component of an enjoyable ramen experience is not to let the bowl cool down. In fact, they suggest that the sensory elements of ramen are the entire point of the bowl. They encourage consumers to sip the broth and allow the steam to hit their faces before even taking that first bite.

While the key is to dig in while the ramen is still piping hot, it's also important to finish the bowl before it cools down. The noodles are still cooking in the steaming broth when they hit the table; waiting too long for them to cool runs the risk of soggy, overcooked noodles. Patience doesn't always pay off.

So, whether you're dining at one of the best ramen restaurants in America or crafting the perfect instant ramen at home, keep slurping in mind. Your tastebuds will thank you.