No, you are not offending anyone or being improper. It’s OK, you have a permission.
BIG slurp! There you go.
It’s winter and cold outside, and it’s perfect timing to tackle a bowl of ramen. Properly. Eating a bowl of ramen is art, y’all. If you are like me (rebellious), this is a perfect food because you get to do something your mother taught you NOT to do. You get to make some noise while eating.
First, you need to know exactly what you want to have. Shoyu (soy sauce), Miso, Shio (salt), Tonkotsu (thick pork broth). Then thick or thin noodle? Heavy stock or lighter stock? Extra pork meat, bean sprouts, corn or bamboo shoots? Know exactly what you want, otherwise wait staff won’t wait forever for you to decide. I actually recommend to practice on what to order outside of the shop for a couple of times.
Then, you go in. Usually ramen shop is relatively small. Most of ramen shops I like in Japan only have counter seats so pick your seat and sit down, quickly. Ramen guy behind the counter or wait staffs are not really talkative since the shop is running 186 miles per an hour. This is why it would be helpful if you know what you want. Anyway, you tell them what you want to eat. Omit “how are you” and “I heard your ramen is delicious!” because they know they make awesome ramen and they cannot waste time being social. Ramen is serious business, everyone.
I also recommend to go to ramen shop alone or with someone whom you don’t need to worry about carrying on a conversation with because ramen must be eaten at the moment it’s served. You need to eat your bowl quickly. If you are from South, you may have a hard time but this is not proper time to eat it daintily. Why? The longer noodles sit, they start to suck up the soup into the noodles because the noodles are made of flour. They are like a sponge and they get all mushy (yikes). Not only that the ramen does not taste as it should after noodles suck up all the soup, also that might upset ramen shop owner. You don’t want that at all. That said, I would not recommend you to go to the ramen shop on your first date. If she or he is delighted to go to your favorite ramen noodle place with minimal conversation, congratulations, you just found your soul mate.
So now, how do you eat it fast with correct manner? Big slurp with noise! Making some noise is a huge part of eating ramen bowl artistically and properly because it has a cooling effect. Who knew, right? We Japanese do. Our slurping training starts in the mother’s womb.
Oh, don’t forget…Hashi (chopsticks) in one hand and renge (ceramic spoon) in the other hand and embrace them both. That will help you immensely to taste a perfect marriage of noodle and carefully and deliciously prepared soup. If you want to look like you are a pro, pick up your bowl and take last drops soup from the bowl at the end. Ramen shop guy would be impressed, I promise.
Think of it as riding a bicycle for the first time, practice, practice and practice.
OK, ready? Slurp! Make some noise. Proudly.