Go easy on the hot sauce
“At the famous shops in Japan or Taiwan, the ramen is super simple. Here people have this Chipotle mentality where they load their bowls up with like 40 add-ons,” says Bruner-Yang. If the restaurant offers extra toppings, feel free to pick one; just remember that every addition is going to alter the balance of flavors, and certain toppings work better in some dishes than others. Hot sauce especially should be used carefully -- if you add an overpowering chili and garlic sauce to a delicate shoyu ramen, you’ve just ruined the bowl. “I always would put cream and sugar in my coffee at this really nice coffee place,” says Jaksich. “And the barista would get so angry and threaten to fuck with our ramen like I'm fucking with his coffee. He’d be like, alright, I'm going to bring a bottle of sriracha to your shop and pour that all over my ramen.”
Slurp it loud and proud
“When I notice somebody slurping the noodles and going to town on it, I know I'm dealing with someone who has experience with ramen,” says Jaksich. It’s not just a cultural thing that Japanese people do, there’s actually good reasons to imitate a bathtub drain. By sucking in air along with the broth and noodles, you’re cooling the food down, aerating it and spreading it around your mouth. That’s going to intensify the flavors, just like when you’re cupping coffee or tasting wine. Plus in Japan slurping is a compliment to the chef, so if you’re not eating your ramen noisily you’re basically being rude.