The etiquette rules on how to serve and eat ramen. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest and avoid any embarrassment.

What ramen etiquette is

Ramen etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat ramen. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect your hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow the etiquette to serve ramen to your guests appropriately.

As a guest, respect the etiquette rules to properly eat ramen at the dining table and avoid offending your hosts or embarrassing yourself.

how to serve and eat ramen

What you should know about ramen

Ramen is a Japanese noodle soup dish that consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat or fish-based broth. It is typically topped with various ingredients, such as sliced pork, seaweed, green onions, and boiled eggs.

Ramen noodles are typically long and thin, with a pale yellow color. The broth can range in color from clear to opaque, depending on the ingredients used. The texture of the noodles can vary from firm to soft, depending on how they are cooked. The broth is typically savory, with a rich umami flavor.

Etiquette rules to serve and eat ramen

1) How to store ramen

You should store ramen noodles at room temperature in a dry place, away from direct sunlight. When storing ramen in the fridge or freezer, place them in an airtight container. Dry ramen noodles can last for up to a year in the pantry, several months in the fridge, and several years in the freezer.

Store cooked ramen noodles in an airtight container in the fridge and consume them within a day or two.

2) How to clean ramen

There is no need to clean ramen noodles. If the noodles have been stored for a long time, there is a risk of them being contaminated with bacteria or mold.

Signs that ramen noodles have gone bad include discoloration, an off smell, or the presence of mold.

3) How to prepare & cook ramen

You should always cook ramen noodles before eating them. You can prepare them by boiling them in water for a few minutes until they are tender. Utensils commonly used for cooking ramen include a pot, colander, and tongs. The most common ways to prepare ramen include adding the noodles to a broth, stir-frying them with vegetables and meat, or serving them cold with a dipping sauce.

Some of the most popular ramen dishes include Shoyu ramen (soy sauce-based broth), Miso ramen (miso-based broth), Tonkotsu ramen (pork bone-based broth), and Tsukemen (cold noodles served with a dipping sauce).

Ramen is not a typical ingredient in salads or sandwiches. Ramen noodles can be made vegan by using a vegetable-based broth and omitting meat toppings. However, they are not suitable for a keto or paleo diet due to their high carb content.

4) How to serve & present ramen

Ramen is appropriate for both formal and informal meals. It is typically eaten as a main course. It is not common to serve it as a side dish, appetizer, or dessert. Ramen is not common at breakfast or brunch. However, in some Asian countries, ramen can be a common breakfast food.

Ramen should be served hot, in a deep bowl that allows room for the broth and toppings. Chopsticks and a spoon are the most common utensils used for eating ramen. The bowl can be presented on a tray or placemat, and it is polite to offer a napkin to guests.

5) Food and wine to pair ramen with

Ramen often comes with toppings such as sliced pork, green onions, nori seaweed, and boiled eggs. You can season the broth with soy sauce, miso, or other condiments to taste.

Ramen pairs well with vegetables such as spinach, bean sprouts, and bamboo shoots. Fruits do not typically pair with ramen. It is best to avoid pairing ramen with strongly flavored vegetables such as Brussels sprouts or broccoli.

Cheese and dairy are not typical ingredients in ramen dishes.

Ramen can pair well with various types of meat such as pork, beef, chicken, and even seafood like shrimp or crab. Popular meat pairings for ramen include char siu (roasted pork), chashu (braised pork), and chicken karaage. As for fish, ramen can pair with seafood broth or toppings like shrimp, squid, or scallops. It is best to avoid overly strong-flavored meats or fish that may overpower the flavors of the ramen broth.

It is common to enjoy ramen with beer. Ramen can also pair well with various types of wine, such as a light-bodied red like Pinot Noir or Beaujolais, or a crisp white like Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling. It is best to avoid heavily oaked or tannic wines, which may clash with the flavors of the ramen broth. Sake is also a popular beverage to pair with ramen.

6) How to eat ramen

The most common utensils for eating ramen are chopsticks and a soup spoon. It is not polite to eat ramen with your fingers. You should eat the whole ramen, including the noodles and toppings, and there are no parts that you need to discard.

Ramen etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the most common ramen etiquette mistakes:

  • 8/10. Slurping too loudly.
  • 8/10. Blowing on the soup.
  • 6/10. Leaving any leftover soup in your bowl.
  • 5/10. Using your hands to hold the bowl while eating.

Additional information for properly serving ramen

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and correctly plan a menu.

The number of calories in ramen can vary depending on the type of broth and toppings used. A single serving of ramen can contain anywhere from 300-700 calories, with an average of around 400-500 calories per serving. A single package of instant ramen typically contains around 380-450 calories.

How to buy the best ramen

A crucial factor in ramen etiquette is serving your guests the best product possible.

Season and availability 

Ramen is available all year round. You can find it in many grocery stores, Asian markets, and online retailers. The best season to buy ramen may depend on the type of ramen and its ingredients.

Choose the best

You can find ramen in various forms, including fresh, frozen, dried, and instant. Instant ramen is the most common and widely available form of ramen in commerce.

The most popular varieties of ramen in commerce include shoyu (soy sauce-based), miso (soybean paste-based), tonkotsu (pork bone-based), and shio (salt-based) ramen. The most prized varieties of ramen often depend on personal preference and regional differences.

When buying ramen, it is important to look for high-quality ingredients and a well-balanced flavor profile. Look for ramen with fresh noodles, a flavorful broth, and high-quality toppings. Ramen that is made with natural ingredients and no preservatives is often considered to be of good quality.

Alternatives to ramen

Alternatives to ramen include other types of noodles such as udon or soba, rice dishes like bibimbap or fried rice, or soups like pho or tom yum.


  • Instant noodle consumption is associated with cardiometabolic risk factors among college students in Seoul: