Why You Should Slurp, Not Sip, Your Soup

August  4, 2017

I have a cousin who really doesn’t like when people slurp at the table. Soups, tea, water, anything. I’ve ended many a meal with her leaving the table, red faced and upset, because of the sound of my eating. It turns out that what I thought was a pet peeve of hers is, in fact, a veritable medical condition. People living with misophonia experience extreme feelings of annoyance and disturbance upon hearing eating sounds like smacking, gulping loudly, or gurgling.

Well, cousin Sophie and the misophonia community, I have some potentially unsettling news: a study coming out of England hints that slurping drinks and soups might actually improve their taste.

Drawing inspiration from ramen eaters as well as wine and coffee tasters, for whom slurping is encouraged, food scientists set out to discover if noisy consumption methods could actually affect tasting experience.

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To get to the heart of their scientific inquiry, the research team conducted tests that saw participants testing three variables for optimum taste: sipping vs. slurping; mug vs. bowl; and temperatures A vs. temperature B. Each participant was asked to rate the intensity of the soup’s flavor, how much they enjoyed its taste, and to what extent they felt self conscious while slurping their meal.

The findings show that although the participants tended to feel more self conscious while slurping, it actually strengthened the flavor of the soup! The report notes that the difference in taste between the two consumption methods was “significant.” So noisy noodle eaters must actually be onto something.

I, for one, am going to start slurping as soon as I can. Catch me (or hear me) enjoying some of these slurpable meals.

Would you risk a few stares and slurp your soup in public? Let us know in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Gilles Vallucci
    Gilles Vallucci
  • David Jones
    David Jones
  • Lisa
  • Martin
  • 702551
Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.


Gilles V. November 12, 2020
I was raised in Italy and France and slurping pasta/wine is a must and Italy and France. I became a French Chef I believe because of the slurpering that I was allowed to do as a kid by my grandparents, parents. I couldn't not do otherwise raised in a kitchen we're coffee would be ready ai 4 am and cooking would start at 5 am in the morning at the farm. Slurp slurp slurp it's my motto develop you taste.... Great article...
David J. July 6, 2019
I see. So you acknowledge that your cousin is plagued by a genuine medical condition and is upset by your eating habits, and instead of amending your habits to help alleviate her suffering, you've doubled down and thought only of yourself.
David J. July 6, 2019
You seem to be a bit of a word I wouldn't like to say in polite company. Not a very good person at all; you practically rub her face in it with the article.
Lisa August 6, 2017
Eat slow, savor the sip, as well as the bite, and save your slurping for your own dinnertime. I, as well as my friends, greatly appreciate it.
Martin August 6, 2017
I checked the link, and on "Abstract" it says: "Participants liked the soup significantly more when they sipped rather than when they slurped". So maybe the article should be titled, "Why you should sip, not slurp, your soup".
702551 August 6, 2017
Go back and re-read the abstract carefully.

When served in bowls, the participants thought the soup tasted better slurping rather than sipping.

When served in a mug, the participants preferred sipping, particularly when the soup was very hot.

Given the typical American diner's upbringing and cultural norms, the real headline/finding here is "Americans should serve soup in mugs instead of bowls".

The Asians got it right centuries ago. They serve soups and soup-based dishes in bowls, as well as noodles dipped in a bowl of sauce and they have been slurping for generations.

Of course, 207 participants is not a statistically significant sample size.

Moreover, since we don't have access to the full article, we can only guess who the participants were, but my hunch is that it was from one country in Western Europe or very possibly the United States, thus, not a demographic that represents the world as a whole.

Were all ethnicities well represented? Unlikely. Were all age groups well balanced based on current population? Unlikely. Male-female ratio? Income levels? Education? Unlikely, unlikely, unlikely.

Everything about the 207 sample size makes this a flawed analysis.
Martin August 6, 2017
I wouldn't slurp in public as I was brought up not to. I understand it is annoying and I think it is common curtesy not to slurp, but sometimes when I eat with my kid he slurps and I slurp too, cause it's fun.