Ramen Soup on Rustic Wooden Table with chopsticks resting across the bowl
15 Etiquette Rules You Should Know When Eating
In Japan
By Paula Beaton
1. Chopstick
An important etiquette rule is never to rest your chopsticks across your bowl, as it signals that you are finished eating, which looks rude to the chef if there is food remaining.
If you're pausing between bites or need to place your chopsticks down, use the provided chopstick rest, or make one using the chopstick wrapper.
2. Use Chopsticks For Soup
While you can use a spoon or slurp up the broth right from the bowl, using your chopsticks to eat solid items such as vegetables, meat, beansprouts, or dumplings is customary.
3. Slurping
Is A Must
It may be rude in Western countries, but slurping is practically mandatory to make a good impression in Japan, as it is a sign of appreciation.
As well as reassuring your hosts that your meal is going down well, slurping is thought to enhance the flavor of dishes and has the bonus of cooling down your noodles.
4. Don't Linger Over Ramen
If you're eating at a ramen-ya, the idea is to get in, enjoy your ramen, and get out, as most head to ramen shops for a fast, convenient, and tasty lunch where speed is key.
Using chopsticks is recommended at ramen-ya shops, but ask for a fork if you're struggling.
5. Don't Stab With Chopsticks
Stabbing your food with chopsticks is considered a severe etiquette crime – not just in Japan but across Asia.