Explaining basic ramen etiquette! Learn how to enjoy and eat deliciously

Did you know that the etiquette at ramen restaurants is different in Japan and overseas? Ramen is one of Japan’s most popular foods, along with sushi, so many people want to try it at least once when they visit Japan. However, Japanese ramen restaurants have their own manners and rules, and I think some people may be hesitant.

In this article, we will introduce the manners of Japanese ramen restaurants, the types of ramen, and tips on how to enjoy them. Let’s enjoy delicious Japanese ramen.

■Introducing 5 basic manners at a ramen restaurant!

Do you know Japan’s unique ramen etiquette and rules? Here, we will introduce five basic manners that are common to all ramen restaurants.

If you understand the basic etiquette and precautions when using a ramen restaurant, as well as how to eat noodles and drink soup, you can enjoy Japanese ramen restaurants with peace of mind. Please remember these five basic manners and enjoy your time at a Japanese ramen restaurant to the fullest.


Line up straight in line

No matter what time of the day or night, long lines can form at popular ramen shops. When joining a long line, follow the person in front of you and line up straight. Leave the doorway open when the line crosses over to the doorway of another store or building.

Also, smoking, drinking alcohol, eating snacks or fast food while in line is strictly prohibited. If you generate trash, be sure to take it home with you and be considerate of those around you. Please refrain from talking in a loud voice to avoid creating noise.

If you are coming to the store with multiple people, wait until everyone has arrived before lining up, and be careful not to give the impression that you are interrupting others. When using a restaurant that uses meal tickets, you need to find out in advance the timing of your purchases, whether you buy them before you get in line or just before ordering.


You can slurp the noodles making noise.

It is not bad manners to slurp the noodles at a Japanese ramen restaurant. You may be surprised to see people slurping vigorously, but in Japan it is an unspoken rule to slurp loudly. By slurping, you can cool down the noodles, and by sucking them up with your breath, you can feel the flavor even more strongly.

The way to slurp noodles is to lift the noodles to your mouth with chopsticks, purse your lips, and suck them sharply into your mouth. It may be difficult at first, but give it a try. There is a sound when sucking the noodles, but there is no problem if you suck vigorously.

However, be careful not to splash the soup onto people around you.


Eat quickly before the noodles stretch

When eating ramen, be sure to eat quickly before the noodles stretch. If you eat slowly, the noodles will stretch and the deliciousness of the ramen will be halved.

“Noodles stretch” refers to the noodles absorbing moisture so well that there is no difference between the surface and the center, and the noodles become uniform.If you are a slow eater, try going to a restaurant where you can order smaller portions of noodles. It’s a good idea to choose.

Also, if you go to a ramen restaurant with friends, don’t talk to them and concentrate on eating. However, if you don’t like eating hot foods with your cat’s tongue, don’t force yourself to eat and eat at your own pace.


Place your chopsticks when drinking soup

When eating ramen, it is said that it is best to enjoy the soup first. When drinking soup, place your chopsticks on the table and switch to a spoon (a ceramic spoon with a hollowed-out handle) to scoop up the soup.

It is bad manners to drink soup while holding chopsticks. When drinking soup with astragalus, gently touch the side of the astragalus with your mouth while drinking. At that time, drink the soup a little at a time to prevent it from dripping, so that it can be drunk cleanly. Also, by using astragalus, you can suppress the sound of drinking soup.


Don’t stay too long when the store is crowded

When a ramen restaurant is crowded, it is good manners to leave the restaurant as soon as you finish eating your ramen. Especially at ramen restaurants where there are long lines, there are many people waiting in line. This is a ramen shop that you have spent time visiting, so I can understand your desire to enjoy your ramen slowly.

However, please be considerate of those waiting in line and leave the restaurant immediately after eating. When waiting for a friend who entered the store with you, wait outside the store. When doing so, be careful about the volume of your voice so as not to disturb neighboring residents or passersby.

■The key to ramen! Try our special noodles and soup

The deciding factor for ramen is the noodles and soup. There are many different types of noodles, including straight noodles, curly noodles, round noodles, and flat noodles. Enjoy the different textures depending on the noodles.

There are also richly flavored soups made with miso and pork bones, and lighter soups made with soy sauce and salt.

Japanese ramen restaurants combine noodles of various shapes with strong or light flavored soups to create their own unique ramen. Enjoy the charm of Japanese ramen by comparing the flavors of each restaurant’s special ramen.


There are shops where you can choose the hardness of the noodles.

Some ramen shops allow you to choose the firmness of your noodles. It’s a good idea to do some research before visiting a ramen shop. There are 8 types of noodle hardness: soft, soft, normal, kata ramen, balikata, harigane, powdered, and steamed. To help you choose noodles, we will introduce the characteristics of the firmness of noodles.

・Bali-yawa: Soft noodles with no chewiness. Boiling time is about 100 to 150 seconds. Also called “zundare”
・Yawa: Noodles that are boiled and then boiled again. Boiling time is about 70 to 100 seconds. Also called “Yawame”
・Normal: Noodles of normal hardness. Boiling time is about 45-70 seconds
・Kata noodles: Noodles with a little core remaining. Boiling time is about 20-45 seconds
・Balikata: Noodles with more core than Kata noodles. Boiling time is about 15-20 seconds
・Harigane: Noodles with a core remaining and a wheat flavor. Boiling time is about 7-15 seconds
・Powder removed: Noodles that have been soaked in hot water to remove the powder. Boiling time is about 3-7 seconds
・Steaming: Noodles that have been boiled for about 3 seconds or just exposed to steam

The hardness you can choose varies depending on the store. One way is to choose a restaurant based on the firmness of the noodles.


You can choose soup according to your preference

The main flavors of ramen are soy sauce, salt, miso, pork bone, and chicken broth. The taste of soup differs from person to person, so before visiting a ramen restaurant, it’s a good idea to research the restaurant’s menu.

・Soy sauce: A soy sauce-based sauce combined with stock from pork, chicken, seafood, etc. The types of soy sauce and dashi vary depending on the store and region.
・Salt: A mixture of salt and clear dashi. By using a transparent stock, you can create a translucent appearance. Recently, some have added flavor with salt sauce or dashi.
・Miso: Miso and vegetables poured with soup stock and stir-fried at high temperature in a wok.
・Tonkotsu: The soup is generally made by boiling pork bones for a long time until it becomes cloudy. It is especially popular in Kyushu.
・Toripaitan: Chicken boiled for a long time until it becomes cloudy. It looks similar to tonkotsu ramen.
The taste of ramen will change greatly if the taste of the soup changes. Enjoy different types of soups.

■Let’s understand the etiquette and enjoy Japanese ramen!

We introduced the basic etiquette for enjoying Japanese ramen. If you follow the five basic etiquette of ramen restaurants introduced here, you will be able to eliminate any worries you may have when visiting a ramen restaurant and enjoy Japanese ramen with peace of mind.

Ramen has different flavors depending on the firmness of the noodles and the soup. It’s fun to go on a ramen tour and compare the flavors. Please visit a variety of ramen shops to experience the uniqueness of each shop’s ramen, which takes a lot of time and effort, and the charm of the ramen itself.

Q: Are there ramen shops in every prefecture?
A: Ramen shops are located all over the country and in all prefectures. The taste of ramen differs depending on the region, so try comparing ramen to find the one you like.

Q: Are any ramen shops open 24 hours?
A: There are some stores that are open 24 hours a day, but be sure to check their business hours in advance. Please note that business days vary depending on the store.