Slurping Goggles

Matthew in slurping goggles

Last night I went to a PR event at Seattle’s new Boom Noodle, and received possibly the best SWAG ever: slurping goggles. (Quick primer: Freelancers don’t get Christmas parties, company trips, or vests emblazoned with a company’s insignia. But sometimes press events entail SWAG – Stuff We All Get – which, from my perspective, can land a PR firm solidly in the “fun people” camp, if done well. A single steel martini glass? Not so much. Slurping goggles? Prized.)

Yes, the folks at Boom are launching an attack on America’s fear of slurping, starting by encouraging ramen eaters to guard their faces against the occasional wayward splash that loud (=ethnically correct) noodling can inevitably invite.

Upside: A new style for the masses. I felt geeky (but what’s new?), but my friend Matthew looked quite cunning, even when casually sipping his shiso mojito. And the woman next to me, a fashionable editor who could make a paper bag skirt look hip, looked downright trend-setting.

Downside: Everything else gets messy. To put my slurping goggles on before diving into my steaming bowl of rich salmon udon soup, I took my regular glasses off. Herego, I didn’t get soup in my eye, but splashed broth all over my regular glasses, as well as my camera case. Maybe I’m meant to eat ramen in a bubble.

Slurping goggles are available everywhere under the misleading moniker “onion goggles,” which I’d always wanted to buy anyway, but could never justify.

Now I’m so ready to make udon at home.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Slurping Goggles

  1. Tea

    That photo is classic!

    It took me six months of living in Japan to get over my fear of slurping. For six long months my Japanese friends would look at my silent noodle eating with sadness. “I’m sorry, your noodles must not taste very good with no slurping,” they would tell me. Goggles would have made the transition so much easier!

  2. I think a lot of Westerners get this idea a little backwards. The slurping, done right, is actually what prevents splashing, not what causes it. That’s because you’re slurping not the noodles themselves but the liquid clinging to them. Slurping up the noodles would require you to close your lips around them, which inevitably causes them to start flapping around wildly as they get shorter and shorter, spattering everything in sight. Instead, the noisy suction is meant to draw the liquid off your clump of noodles while–and here’s the important bit–you shovel the noodles themselves into your mouth with your chopsticks. So it’s not about mustering up sufficient sucking horsepower to inhale bulky noodles (which could be dangerous!), but rather tidily (if noisily) slurping away the liquid clinging to them, so it doesn’t splash all over your prom dress.

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