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Do you enjoy ramen as much as I do that you slurp the noodles and gulp the broth directly from the bowl? Keep that at home when no one can see the savage way you consume your favorite ramen.
But when outside and about, in a public place where other people can see you, do you eat ramen with a fork or spoon? Is it considered appropriate when traditionally it is eaten using chopsticks?
Let’s find out!
How the Japanese eat ramen
The Japanese have a set way of doing things. They believe in simplicity, grace, and respect in everything they do. This is seen in the way they dress, talk, do their daily activities, sit, and even the way they eat.
When eating ramen, the Japanese use chopsticks to get the noodles, and use a spoon or ladle for the soup. Some do away with the spoon and sip the broth directly from the bowl.
Using a fork when eating ramen in a traditional Japanese restaurant might be considered rude. This might imply you have no respect for the chef who spent years perfecting his craft, or that you do not appreciate the Japanese tradition.
Fork or Spoon – which one to use?
But of course, if you are in a casual setting or at home and not that comfortable using chopsticks, you can use a spoon or a fork to eat ramen.
If you are lucky, you may even find Japanese restaurants that offer the use of forks for foreigners visiting Japan.
The use of either utensil has its distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Fork is a versatile utensil you can use for many things. So what can you do with your fork when eating ramen?
You can use a fork to fish out noodles or meat pieces from your bowl when eating ramen. It is especially easier to eat ramen with a fork since you can twirl the noodles and fetch them from the bowl without it slipping off.
You can also use it to hold the meat from moving around when cutting them into smaller pieces for easy chewing.
The only disadvantage to using a fork when eating ramen is that you cannot get the broth, which contains all the flavor in your ramen.
Moreover, most traditional Japanese restaurants do not serve ramen with forks, so you do not really have a choice but to use chopsticks.
On the other hand, if you are in Tokyo or other popular destination cities in Japan, you may find casual and traditional restaurants that serve ramen with varying utensils. These places are usually more forgiving to travelers using a fork when eating a bowl of ramen.
Though most consider a spoon as a small bowl with a handle, you can do so much with a spoon.
It can hold the ramen broth, noodles, and other ingredients, including the egg, meats, and veggies, which can you better enjoy the flavorful ramen and eat it with gusto.
What’s more, when you eat ramen in a traditional Japanese restaurant, spoons are served along with chopsticks. If you are not handy with chopsticks, you can always use the spoon to eat your ramen without causing a stir.
However, because of its shape, expect it to be harder to keep the noodles from slipping off your spoon.
Eating ramen with a spoon or fork
If we are not going to take tradition into consideration when eating ramen, using a spoon or fork when enjoying this dish all boils down to personal preference.
When eating in a casual restaurant or at home where no one will get offended when you use a spoon or a fork, might as well go all in and enjoy your ramen the best way you can.
If you feel more comfortable using a spoon when eating ramen as it allows you to enjoy the ramen noodles, broth, and all the ingredients all at once, then by all means, do so.
On the other hand, if you prefer using a fork to twirl the noodles around and sip the broth directly from the bowl, making it easier for you to eat the noodle separately from the broth, then go ahead and enjoy it in the most casual way possible.