Ramen Etiquete to Keep in Mind | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Ramen Etiquete to Keep in Mind

By Tony Tao Jan 29, 2021

Why has ramen (ラーメン) taken the global stage? Ramen is not only the most popular dish in Japan, but it is also an extraordinarily gourmet, complex dish with delicious flavor. However, you may have been enjoying it wrong all this time. There’s a particular way of doing things, like many things in Japan, and as tourists, it’s always difficult to understand those things unless you learn through a bit of trial, error, and passive-aggressive looks.

Ramen Etiquette You Need to Know

So, what etiquette should you follow when you are enjoying your bowl of ramen in Japan?

Although it may seem like “just a noodle shop,” there is an unspoken code of behavior that every local understands but may not be as intuitive or apparent to us as foreigners.

Several of these “rules” illustrate that the culture is profoundly ingrained in the belief that it’s a privilege to eat a ramen master’s food as a consumer because we cannot produce it ourselves. Therefore appreciation is part of the homage you pay. This is an art to be practiced by most chefs for a lifetime and typically without any thought of seeking fame or fortune.

Everything you need to know about the ingredients in ramen -> Check out this article!

Queuing in Ramen Shops

There will be a line-up outside its door for all renowned ramen shops, and several of these restaurants are located in local communities. Most ramen shops will be prepared with signs indicating how the queue should form, but it is even more essential to remain quiet. 

Ordering Your Ramen with The Machine

For ramen restaurants, this is more or less the standard because shop owners don’t want to manage cash, increasing the workflow. When you reach the ramen shop, you will order and pay at the machine. Either hand over the order ticket to the master/assistant while you’re at the table or put it on the counter. Most of these machines are cash-only, and some only accept bills below 5,000 yen, so make sure you’re ready. 

No Sharing Your Bowl of Ramen

Seats are at a premium, so sharing a ramen bowl is a big no-no. Every person must order a bowl. That said, you should look for a smaller size if you’re not super hungry or speak to the chef and ask for fewer noodles by saying mensukuname (less noodles/small size).

Seasoning Your Ramen

Always taste the broth first!

Before eating your bowl of ramen, it is considered rude to immediately begin adding spices and extra sauces that you can find on the table to the ramen. Often start with a few spoonfuls of soup before adding any other seasoning.

Slurping Ramen?

Slurping, or not slurping, is up to you. It’s not considered rude not to slurp, contrary to common opinion. The experts suggest doing so because it is the perfect way to quickly eat the noodles while cooling them down as you inhale. More on the best practices for eating ramen.

Eat Your Ramen Quick

These are supposed to have a quick turnover, as much as it is an experience dining at a legit ramen joint. There’s no lingering around to chit chat or staying around. When your bowl of ramen is delivered, you turn your beast mode on! When you finish your ramen, you get up and go! The explanation is due to the small spacing and sometimes long outside queues, so you have to keep the business flowing. 

The Leftover Ramen Soup

You will eventually be left with the broth. You can drink all of it or leave it there, depending on whether you like it or not. You don’t have to finish it, and it isn’t bad etiquette.

Thank You, and Exit 

If you’re ready, signal eye contact to the master or staff, and gochisosama deshita (a traditional phrase meaning “thank you for the meal”) is customary to say. Grab your things, head to the door, take the final bow, and on the way out, and make sure the door is closed completely

Ramen Etiquette to Keep in Mind

You can also check out the best way to enjoy sushi here.

The Guidable team hopes that you found this article a helpful piece of information! After all, through all of our activities, we aim for a better life for foreigners in Japan! So, stay tuned and follow us!

Follow @guidablejapan for your daily dose of Japan 🇯🇵