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Thursday, 2 July 2009

Tip 156: Tsuru tsuru (ツルツル) art of slurping















I decided to start a series of blogpost probably twice a week, on interesting Japanese phrases that speak of its culture. This would brush up my Japanese as well. Plus, many of these phrases are picked up from my toddler, Haruka. Though, not the next phrase as she has not mastered the art of eating noodles the Japanese way, as she needs us to slice the noodles before feeding her. Slurping slippery smooth noodles is called tsuru tsuru (ツルツル). As you pronounce this, notice your lips in lip-o-suction position. The first sylable sucks the noodle together with more soup based sauce. The second sylable exhales to cool it, yet gaining enough momentum to complete sucking a second time.


















That explains how a Japanese could finish a bowl of noodles in 5 minutes. Some actually argue that the taste of the noodle is to be felt in the throat, not the tongue. By swallowing them whole, the texture and taste of the noodle is complete. This can be performed on ramen or udon with its hot soup, or cold soba or cold somen with its light flavoured dipping sauce. You are actually less likely to burn your mouth when slurping, as opposed to having spoonfuls of hot noodles in your mouth. For cold soba, slurping is part of the ritual to get the full experience of the simple healthy goodness of soba. First, watch the preparation of the soba, smell it, while holding the bowl of dipping sauce, dunk only half the soba noodles and slurp. The flavor of the soba is experienced with all senses.














The key to slurping is to loosen your lips for a short decisive slurp. Though, if you are in a ramen shop with other hungry Japanese, slurp all you want. Most importantly, you enjoy it and it shows from your slurping. Of course, the performance in slurping depends in part on the smoothness of the noodles, yet it takes two to tsuru tsuru. Or one if you have became one with the smoothness of the noodles. :)

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(Photos show more of Blenheim Palace).

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