Why do Japanese people slurp their noodles with gusto? Or, perhaps we should say, why do Americans eat noodles quietly? E Eto, writing from Japan, relates a Japanese television program in which a panel of Japanese folks watched some gaijin eat their noodles in their typical quiet way. The Japanese response? “They don’t eat it deliciously,” or “It doesn’t look delicious the way they eat it.”

“Then the scientific expert was brought in to explain some things,” says E Eto. “First, ‘deliciousness’ is conveyed by the sound of slurping, and further, slurping does in fact make the noodle taste better. In a graphic, the expert showed how wine connoisseurs gurgle wine, sucking air through their mouths to force air into the nasal passage, allowing the flavors to spread.”

“So, the lesson is slurp away. Especially if you want to maximize the deliciousness,” says E Eto.

Discuss: Why the Japanese slurp their noodles

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