The Real Reason People Slurp Ramen Noodles

Ramen is arguably one of the world's most popular Japanese dishes. It is an affordable meal that finds its origins in China, where hand-pulled noodles were traditionally used (via Bokksu). Food & Wine says ramen is characterized by broth flavor — shoyu (soy sauce), miso, and shio (salt). The soup is topped with customized toppings ranging from braised pork, bamboo shoots, seaweed, fish cake, and boiled or poached egg.

Slurping ramen noodles may seem a bit (ahem) intimidating, but it is actually the traditional Japanese way to eat the scorching hot soup (via Ramen Hero). The technique must be practiced to acquire the dish's full slurping effect and flavor. That bowl of steaming ramen consists of a precise recipe of chosen toppings and compatible noodles to create a meal unlike any other. Here's why eating ramen the right way helps you enjoy the unique flavors of the noodle soup and broth.

Slurping enhances flavor

Slurping ramen noodles may seem like a strange idea, but it is actually an essential step that takes practice to get right (via Ramen Hero). Slurping cools the noodles and enhances the flavor as you suck the steaming air into your mouth. Consider how you aerate wine at a wine tasting — the same concept applies to slurping ramen (via Dallas News). The aromatic steam stimulates a sensory experience that allows all flavors to envelop your tastebuds.

Chef Teiichi Sakurai, the owner of Ten Ramen in Dallas, told Eater, "Eating a bowl of ramen shouldn't take more than 5 minutes." The longer the noodles remain in the soup, the more broth they soap up, resulting in expanded noodles that overfill the bowl. He says there is not a right or wrong way to slurp ramen. Ramen Hero says to eat with your head close to the bowl and without distractions. To fully relish the flavors, the noodle soup is meant to first be enjoyed by a few sips of the broth, followed by ravenous slurping of the noodles. Enjoy!