How to eat ramen the correct way: top tips
There’s nothing quite like a steaming bowl of ramen noodles and broth — the ultimate comfort food. The beautiful aroma hooks you first, then the combination of different textures and flavours as you dive in.
It will take you a while to try all the different variations with so many soup bases and toppings to try. And then there’s the different types of ramen noodles: udon, somen, soba or perhaps some kimchi ramen noodles for some added spice.
Did you know that how you eat ramen can influence its delicious taste? Read on to discover how to make the most of this revered dish.
How do you eat ramen?
- A ramen spoon (fun fact: the spoon is called ‘chirirengethe’ in Japanese, meaning the petal of a lotus flower which has fallen, reflecting the shape of the spoon).
Start by putting the chopsticks in your dominant hand and the ramen spoon in the other. If you’re unsure how to use chopsticks, we outlined some steps in our sushi guide for beginners.
Next, align your chopsticks together by sliding them through your hands. Then pinch a small amount of noodles together (not too much, just a mouthful). You can then dip the noodles in and out of the broth to make the most of the flavour. It takes some practice to eat ramen with chopsticks, but you can support the noodles by holding the ramen spoon underneath.
Ramen is best eaten with the noodles, broth and toppings all together to experience the true harmony of flavours. So when you’ve picked up your mouthful of noodles, add some of the toppings too. This is tricky to do using chopsticks, so use the ramen spoon to do this if you need to.
Move your head closer to the bowl, so that you can spoon in the delicious ramen combination without spilling any… and slurp it up!
To follow the traditional way of eating ramen, finish by drinking the remainder of the broth straight from the bowl – once you’ve finished all the noodles. It’s worth drinking every last bit, not just because the broth took time to prepare and is full of delicious flavours, but also because it's so nutritious. The broth will contain calcium, magnesium and phosphorus to strengthen your bones, glucosamine to protect your joints and certain amino acids essential for a healthy skin.
6 tips to help you eat ramen properly
#1 It’s best to eat it fast
As the noodles are in a broth, they will gradually become mushier the longer they sit. Plus, mushy noodles release starch into the broth, changing the flavours. So for the optimal, most delicious noodle texture (al dente!), you need to eat ramen promptly. This is why you’ll often hear hurried slurping; ramen is designed to be eaten quickly. Make sure you put your face close to the bowl so you can spoon in quickly with no mess. Traditional ramen eating might not be the best choice for a romantic date, as there’s little time to talk and your eyes will be focused on the food; after all, the best ramen experience is hanging in the balance here!
#2 Sip the soup
Before you race to eat your ramen at its best, take a slow sip of the broth so you can fully savour the combination of curated flavours.
#3 Lift those noodles high
When you pick up your mouthful of noodles from the bowl with the chopsticks, pull them high into the air. This helps to cool the noodles down so you don’t burn your mouth.
#4 Don’t over-do it with noodles
If you pick too many noodles up with your chopsticks, it’ll quickly get messy and you won’t be able to try the toppings, broth and noodles together. Make sure you pick up a small amount of noodles each time.
#5 Slurping is a good thing
You might have been encouraged not to slurp all your life, so hearing that it’s a good thing seems surprising. In fact, slurping is customary when eating ramen as it aerates the liquid, allowing you to taste more flavours.
#6 Keep your chopsticks in your dominant hand
Keep your chopsticks in your dominant hand for ease. You want to make it as easy as possible because eating ramen with chopsticks takes time to master. To prevent splattering the broth everywhere, use your chopsticks to pick up the bottom of the noodle strands as you slurp up.
In Japan, locals and tourists alike queue outside the best ramen restaurants; this is a flavoursome dish worth waiting for. And as we’ve explained, eating ramen is an experience in itself.
Ramen is also easy to prepare, so if you want to avoid the queues, it’s simple enough to make some tasty ramen at home.