People are not born knowing how to eat ramen. Western eaters especially might be intimidated by the apparent surfeit of utensils—chopsticks and a spoon?

The main thing to keep in mind is that ramen is casual food meant to be eaten quickly and with relish. Once you have that down, put the chopsticks in your right hand and the spoon in your left. This is true even if you’re left-handed, says ricepad, at least if you’re eating around ricepad’s grandmother: “If you tried to pick ‘em up in your left hand, she’d bust your knuckles in a New York Minute!”

Your chopsticks should be used to gracefully shovel noodles into your mouth, and also to handle all the solid goodies, like bamboo and pork. Alternatively, you are allowed to lift some noodles into your spoon and then slurp them off. The spoon’s main use is to transport the piping-hot broth to your mouth. During this process, your face should be no more than a few centimeters from the bowl. “A lot of people look like they’re praying into the bowl,” says asodat. Don’t add condiments until you’ve tasted your soup. And please don’t feel silly about drinking your broth. The luscious, long-cooked pork broth is half the point of ramen, so if it’s good, enjoy it. In most cases, it’s even acceptable to pick up the bowl and tilt that sucker directly into your face.

One last tip from MeAndroo: If you’re worried about splashing while slurping your noodles, then as soon as you’ve got the first bit in your mouth, hold your sticks around the noodles just above the broth level. This keeps them moving upward into your mouth instead of outward, where they would create a splash zone.

Board Links: Ramen: How to eat it? What’s with the spoon?

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