Is slurping a compliment to the chef? Is it rude not to slurp in Japan? Does slurping noodles loudly indicate the food is delicious in Japan?
This answer has been asked endlessly on the internet…So I asked a handful of Japanese people.
As you may know, Doot Experiences connects Japanese locals to travellers for social dining experiences at hidden food spots loved by locals .
As the Doot team members, we meet most of our local hosts, since being friendly and sociable is the most important part of being a host. We like to meet these interesting and sociable people ourselves before linking them up with travellers.
Nonetheless, what I’m trying to say is that I’ve met up with a lot of Japanese people in restaurants. I’ve asked hosts this question a ton of times.
“I don’t even think about it or notice that I’m doing it. It’s just how we eat.” It made perfect sense to me.
Go into a ramen restaurant with a bad rating on Google or TripAdvisor or whatever. One that’s generally considered bad. Guess what? Everyone will be slurping loudly, whether they think it’s crap or not.
Eat instant ramen with them, and they’ll slurp that too. Even when they think no one is listening. It’s not a public statement or a passive way of telling the chef they’re enjoying the meal.
How do Japanese people really indicate that the food is delicious? They say it. Loudly. They’ll say “Oishiiiii” or “UMAI!”. Frequently. That’s how they let you know if it’s good.
If a Japanese person is quizzing you on whether the food you’re eating is good or not, it’s more likely because you haven’t said “oishi” or “umai” a few times, rather than your lack of slurping.