It is customary for Japanese to say Itadakimasu, literally meaning, "Gratefully Received", but in a mealtime setting, it's compared to "Let's eat," "Bon appétit," or "Thanks for the food."
It is important to learn how to do it right. Usually everyone will say the phrase together, but it is also normal for each person to say it individually as they begin eating.
Performing Itadakimasu before a meal is simple and has only four steps:
Put the palm of your hands together.
Pick up your chopsticks and start eating.
ITADAKIMASU! Let’s Dig In
1. Arm yourself with a pair of chopsticks in your strong hand and a spoon on the other hand.
2. Take in the aroma of your ramen before you start eating. Be sure to breathe in the wafting smells before you eat, as it'll help compliment the overall flavor.
3. Taste the broth. Just get a spoonful and drink it down so you know what you’re working with. Although, it is fine to sip from the edge of the bowl, you may not want to get scald by the broth as it is served hot.
4. Lift the noodles high into the air, this acts to separate the caught noodles from the masses of noodles waiting in line to be enjoyed and will cool them slightly before you shove them into your mouth. Remember, not to twist your noodles in the bowl, it should happen out of the broth. Dip the noodles in the broth and use a spoon to soak up the broth and bring them both into your mouth.
5. Slurp. Slurping noodles in Japan is not rude, in fact, it is a sign of a good appetite and eating with pleasure. It’s a necessity, and is fully acceptable. The ramen is served piping hot so this acts to aerate the noodles and cool them down, so they don’t set your gullet on fire. This allows you to taste the noodles and the broth at the same time. It’s also great fun.
The thumb of rules for slurping:
Slurp Loud, you must suck in that air ferociously when slurping ramen, if you are not making the noise you are not doing it the right way.
Slurp Fast, A bowl of ramen should be consumed in less than 5 minutes. Ramen is considered a fast food and can be eaten on the move.
Slurp repeatedly, continue until the noodles, pork, eggs etc are gone.
6. Pick your bowl up in both hands, and drink from the bowl.
Now you have eaten like a boss, don’t forget to put down the bowl and say: “Gochisousama!" (Thanks for the meal). Once you finished the last drop.
The Do's and Don'ts of eating ramen.
You should slurp up the veggies together with the noodles and broth, while you eat the eggs and meat on its own.
Also remember to eat the nori before it turns soggy.
Unless you are a regular customer, do not add any of the toppings and sauces provided at the counter until you’ve eaten some of the bowl as it is served. It’s a slap in the face to the chef to immediately alter the creation without first trying it as it was intended.
Once you've sampled at least some, feel free to season as you like. Although, it is advised not to add any sauce.
So come down to Ichikokudo Hokkaido Ramen and enjoy ramen the authentic way the Japanese do.