Slurping: When Western Civilization and Ke Qi Collide

Western Civilization prides itself on being… well, civilized. It’s goal is to suppress the base instincts of our animal selves or to keep ourselves from sinning. It all goes back to either evolution or the bible, and either way, we’ve got some dark parts in our souls.

“Kill them. Kill them all!”

Similarly, when we think of Ke Qi, we want to express the best of ourselves to others even though there may be yelling, but it’s all to be the better man. We’re trying to rise against the selfish side of ourselves even though Ke Qi inherently has some selfishness. It poses the question that if you know you’re altruistic, does that technically make you selfish?

The answer is yes. And no. And that answered nothing.

This is the face you trust for your… informAsian.

Western Culture and Eastern Culture handle politeness very differently especially when eating. Western culture believes it’s courteous to wipe your mouth after every bite, to have your silverware located in a specific position (which really means nothing), and for you to wear a monocle.

“Ah yes. Cheerio, old chap!”

Monocles are not designed for Asian faces. We don’t have brows. Regardless, there are a lot of things created by Western culture to prove just how civilized it is. One of the biggest things is to not slurp. Slurping is considered rude, baseless, and overall uncouth. It is what the unmannered society does when eating because they cannot control themselves. Are you an animal? Do you sin by gluttony?

But in many Asian cultures, it’s polite to slurp. Why? You’re unable to control your civilized self, and you’re letting the chef know that you love the delicious cooking. You also let other people know the food is delicious, so they should order the same thing. When you see Asian people slurping while eating their food, they were taught that it’s okay. And this is the civilized thing.

Consider this for a moment. What’s more flattering? Someone telling you your food is delicious with a straight face, or someone destroying their bowl to get every last drop?


And it’s really not just at these occasions. Eating is supposed to be a big social event. The whole families gather, and it’s rambunctious. If people try to talk, they most likely will have to finish their food quickly, hence slurping. And I know you may be thinking “you said that Asians don’t talk much during dinner,” but I also said that “we didn’t talk about our days.” We still talked, it was just about random things.

And when you have a big dinner with family and friends, then it’s just chaos.


That’s why slurping is okay! You’re telling people that the food you eat is awesome, and you want to talk to them. Now, not all Asian countries find slurping okay. China is adapting toward Western Culture and it is impolite to slurp in general; however, slurping noodles is completely okay (honestly, they’re probably just trying to impress Western Civilization, but they all still slurp…). South Koreans, Japanese, and Taiwanese people all slurp. Malaysians and Indians don’t slurp though because they mostly eat with their hands, so slurping is considered rude as well.

It really depends on the location, and to each his own opinion and culture. Just don’t tell your neighboring Asian that slurping is rude because I’m sure they’ll point out that setting silverware in a specific location makes no sense.

Because we really need 4 forks? This is why we have to have the green initiative now.