Why This Tokyo Ramen Restaurant Is Banning Cellphones

Going out to dinner with a partner or group allows for quiet moments to be filled with friendly chatter while you wait for your food to be served. However, when you head to a restaurant by yourself, it's common to want to reach for your phone to keep the boredom at bay while your food is being prepared. Maybe we decide to read an article or scroll through social media, feeding our small attention spans before we feed our bellies. But hungry guests at Tokyo's Debu-chan who want to check their phones before digging into a steaming bowl of ramen won't be allowed to do so, and for good reason (via CNN Travel). 

Even though there are more than 10,000 ramen shops throughout Tokyo, each one can still get pretty busy during peak hours. Debu-chan's owner, Kota Kai, noticed that some of his customers were still getting distracted on their phones even when their food had been served to them. Kai recalled a customer who was watching videos to pass the time as the ramen cooled. In Japanese ramen shops, it's common courtesy to get in, eat quickly, and leave so the next customer can grab a hot meal too. This was one of the main reasons that Kai prompted the cell phone ban during busy times, as it helped keep the restaurant's flow going smoothly. But there's another reason for this new policy, and it has to do with eating ramen correctly.

Hakata ramen noodles will go bad if they're allowed to cool

It's typical to wait a few minutes for your food to cool before eating it; that way, your tongue, and mouth are spared from potential scorching. If that were to happen, the rest of your meal becomes hard to enjoy or fully taste. This isn't the case with ramen, which needs to be eaten right away so the piping hot broth doesn't have time to cook the noodles until they become soggy. That's why slurping ramen is such a necessity: It effectively aerates the noodles while also sipping some of the tasty broth into your mouth for an even more flavorful experience. The noodles are gone before they have a chance to lose their texture.

Debu-chan specializes in Hakata ramen, one of Japan's most well-known ramen types. The noodles are drenched in savory pork bone broth and are incredibly thin, spanning just one millimeter in width. Kai will individually request that customers on their phones put them away so their meals won't spoil. This way, the customer and restaurant are both happy. Not only will the noodles stay fresh and delicious, but the customer will also finish eating quickly, freeing up that seat for the next ramen lover. Just remember that whenever you go out for ramen, but also as a rule for eating out in general: The dinner table isn't the best place to get stuck in a scroll hole on your phone.