To slurp or not to slurp, that is the question?

Have you ever wondered if there is a proper way to slurp that spaghetti? Is it acceptable or is it just straight-up rude?

This is a long standing debate across the globe and is centred around whether or not it is considered rude or acceptable in different cultures and contexts. So we’ve done a bit of digging….

The global divide

In some cultures, such as Japan, it is actually considered polite to slurp your noodles as it is seen as a way of expressing your enjoyment of the dish. However, in other cultures, such as Western cultures, slurping your food can be seen as disrespectful or rude.

In general, British people tend to view slurping spaghetti as impolite or uncouth, particularly in more formal dining settings, where it is considered more polite to eat quietly and with good table manners. In more casual settings, such as family dinners, some Brits may be more relaxed about slurping spaghetti or other types of noodles.

Spain is a slight contrast to other Western cultures where its attitude towards slurping spaghetti is typically more relaxed in comparison and is often seen as a way to show appreciation for the food.

Etiquette as taught by The Blaugrana

Firstly, who are The Blaugrana? “Blaugrana” is one of the nicknames for FC Barcelona to pay tribute to the club’s famous colours. FC Barcelona are based in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain and in Catalan, ‘blau’ means blue and ‘grana’ means deep red or garnet, hence the iconic blue and red stripes the Barça kits have had for over a century.

In such a debate we sought answers from some pro's, and here's what they had to say:

Is there a correct way to eat spaghetti?

The short answer is….no, yet again it depends on your background and what you have been taught growing up. There are many different ways to eat spaghetti, (although if you ask an Italian they will tell you there is only one way!) and people around the world have developed their own styles and customs. Here’s a few common ways to eat spaghetti:

Twirl it on your fork: This is probably the most common way to eat spaghetti. You can twirl a few strands of spaghetti around your fork and then gently lift it to your mouth.

Cut it into smaller pieces: Some people prefer to cut their spaghetti into smaller pieces before eating it. This can make it easier to eat and can also help prevent messy sauce splatters.

Use a fork with a spoon: Some people choose to eat spaghetti using a spoon to help you twirl it onto your fork. You can use the spoon to scoop up some sauce and noodles at the same time.

Eat it with your hands: In some cultures, it is acceptable to eat spaghetti with your hands. You can pick up a few strands at a time and dip them in sauce before taking a bite.

Make a sandwich: Some people like to make spaghetti sandwiches by placing a layer of spaghetti between two slices of bread or have it on toast (although this is definitely not as common!)

Use chopsticks: If you are skilled with chopsticks, you can use them to eat spaghetti. This takes some practice, but it can be a fun and challenging way to enjoy your spaghetti noodles.  

How you eat spaghetti is a matter of personal preference, and there is no right or wrong way to do it.

Slurping can also be seen as fun and nostalgic

Slurping spaghetti can be a fun and playful experience because it is often associated with childhood memories of messy meals and carefree enjoyment of food. As children, we may have enjoyed the sensory experience of slurping spaghetti, feeling the texture of the spaghetti and the sauce in our mouths and making silly sounds while eating.

In countries where slurping my not be ‘the done thing’, slurping spaghetti may bring out the inner child in us because it reminds us of the simple pleasures of childhood, allows us to fully enjoy our food, and provides a playful and carefree experience that can be a welcome break from the often-rigid social expectations surrounding table manners and etiquette, giving us a sense of freedom that can be refreshing.

To wrap this up…

…there is no right or wrong answer! Some people argue that slurping spaghetti is necessary in order to fully enjoy the flavour and texture of the dish, while others find the sound of slurping to be unpleasant and distracting and much like any cultural practice, opinions on this can vary depending on the individual, the cultural context and the specific situation you find yourself.

If you are unsure about whether or not it is acceptable to slurp spaghetti in a particular context, it is always best to err on the side of caution and follow the lead of those around you. Observing the table manners of your dining companions and adapting your behaviour accordingly can help ensure that you do not inadvertently cause offence whilst enjoying your delicious pasta!