The Noodle Misrepresentation

Laugh all you want at my futile attempt to do a Big Bang Theory-esque subject title.

The long-standing misunderstanding of the Japanese habit to slurp their noodles loudly for politeness has been cleared. How many times have we heard that the decibel produced in the slurping of noodles in the Japanese culture is proportional to its tastiness. And if one produces no sound, it is considered rude as it would mean that one does not find the noodles tasty.

After a few interviews (more like casual chats) with some Japanese friends, I’ve found that to be bull. I think I’ve heard on TV some years ago that they slurp hot noodles so that it doesn’t scald the lips. I don’t know how true that is ’cause people slurp cold soba too but apparently, it is completely OK to eat your noodles quietly in Japan. When I was talking to a colleague last night, he said it’s more tasty if you slurp the noodles. He then asked me “How would you eat the noodles without producing sound?” I showed him and I immediately noticed the difference in the taste. Sure, technically speaking, the taste of the noodles doesn’t change but it really was tastier when I was slurping the noodles because you get to taste every bit of sauce on the individual strands of thin noodles as opposed to having a huge chunk of noodles in your mouth and then chewing on it.

The conclusion is: Slurping is not a sign of it being tasty. Slurping is an act to make it tasty. And the decibel? It’s got nothing to do with anything, so don’t try a Sharapova on soba.

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