Avoid these faux pas and keep your date hot like ramen broth.
Even in Japan, ramen isn’t considered gourmet cuisine. All the same, it’s hard to beat Japan’s favorite noodle dish for a quick, tasty meal, and with ramen experiencing a surge in popularity among both men and women over the last few years, if you dine out often enough in Japan, odds are at some point you’ll find yourself eating ramen while on a date.
With that in mind, Japanese food company Maruha Nichiro recently released the results from a recent survey in which it asked participants what sort of behavior makes someone of the opposite sex less attractive when eating ramen. Responses were collected from 500 men and 500 women, ranging in age from 20 to 59, and below are the top five responses.
5, Wrapping the noodles around your chopstick (selected by 23.1 percent of respondents)
In general, chopsticks are meant to be used like pincers. When eating extra-long noodles, though, some diners give in to the temptation to wrap them around a chopstick and suck them off the utensil. While that requires less manual dexterity, it’s also considered inelegant, uncultured table manners.
4. Giving a stuffy, critic-like review of the ramen after you eat it (35.8 percent)
While everyone is entitled to their opinion, many survey respondents don’t appreciate it when their date spoils the afterglow of a ramen meal by snobbishly listing its shortcomings. This is one guys might want to be especially aware of, since while only 24.2 percent of the men surveyed said this sort of buzzkilling evaluation would bother them, 47.4 percent of women listed it as a turn-off.
3. Having your hair droop down near the broth while eating (38 percent)
Eating ramen usually involves dipping your face down towards the large, wide bowl the noodles are served in. But as the steam rises up to your face, if you’re not careful your bangs can fall down and plop into the broth. To be on the safe side and spare your dining partner the anxiety, when going in for a bite it’s best to tuck your loose hair behind your ears (as a bonus, some guys really like the way their girlfriends look while doing this).
2. Playing with your smartphone while eating (41.9 percent)
Honestly, this seems like something you shouldn’t do when eating with someone else regardless of what’s on the menu. Perhaps the casual atmosphere of most ramen restaurants makes it that much easier to slip into the habit of whipping out your phone for a little mid-meal entertainment.
1. Splashing broth everywhere as you slurp your noodles (42.2 percent)
As is well-known to the international community of Japanese cuisine fans, slurping your ramen is not only OK, but recommended. Not only does it show that you’re enjoying the meal, because of how long the noodles are and how hot the broth is, slurping is just about the only way to reliably get the noodles into your mouth without scalding your tongue.
That said, moderation is extremely important, because slurping with too much gusto will cause your broth to spray the surrounding area. Considering the compact dimensions of most ramen restaurants in Japan, your date is likely to get splashed in the process, so it’s best to avoid slurping up too long a mass of noodles all at once.
Just remember not to wrap the noodles to keep from slurping them, though, or else you’ll end up back at problem number five on the list.
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