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The Japanese Ramen Spoon: Facts You Probably Didn't Know

It is called chirirenge (散蓮華) in Japanese.

Most commonly, it is referred to as “renge" for short.

Do you know what “chirirenge” means?

It means a petal of a lotus flower that has fallen off.

Chiri (散) means "to fall off".

Ren (蓮) means “lotus".

Ge (華) means “flower".

The shape of the spoon looks like a piece of lotus flower. Don’t you think?
That is why we call it chirirenge.

Do you know how to use it? Or...

What the difference between a regular western spoons and a renge is?

Keep reading and you will find out.



The usage between a renge and a regular western spoon is almost the same.

But they have quite different shapes.

The bottom of a renge is deep and flat.

The handle has a little nook, and it is curved and thick.

Some renge specially designed for ramen has a small dent.

So you can hook your renge onto the rim of your ramen bowl without it slipping into the depths of your soup.

For specifically miso ramen, there are some holes in the bottom of the renge which allows you to easily pick up corn pieces. 

Have you ever tried eating fried rice with a renge? 
Did you face any difficulties?

I have.

This renge for ramen is too big to put into your mouth.

Actually, it is better to use a regular western spoon or a smaller renge for fried rice if the restaurant has them.

How to Hold:

Do you hold your renge like you hold a regular spoon?

That is actually wrong.

For a regular spoon, you hold it like how you are holding a pen.



When you hold a renge, you fit your index finger on the ditch or the inner handle...

...And hold the renge with your thumb and middle finger.

Did you know that?

Probably you have never really given much thought to the inner crevice of the handle.

Actually, me either.

But have you noticed, it is the perfect size for your index finger?

This inner gap is actually a resting place for your index finger.

How to Use A Renge for Eating Ramen:

What you should do with your renge when you eat ramen is sampling some of the broth in the beginning.

There are some people who use renge for eating noodles too:

1. People who want their noodles to cool down faster.

Using your chopsticks, pick up some noodles and toppings and place it onto your renge.

After the noodles cool down, eat out of the spoon using your chopsticks.

This is a great way to eat ramen for people who can’t handle hot-temperature foods.

2. People who don't want to stain their clothing

If you slurp noodles, you might get a stain on your nice white shirt.

Do you want to avoid that?

Then pick some noodles up using your chopsticks and place onto the renge.

This way allows you to get rid of extra soup and prevents a soupy and splashy mess.

3. People who cannot slurp noodles 

If you cannot slurp noodles, this can be a good way to enjoy your ramen.

Pick up some noodles using chopsticks and put it onto your renge.

By doing this, you don't need to slurp your noodles straight from the bowl.

You can eat noodles directly from the renge, or you can pick up your noodles directly from your renge with your chopsticks.

4. People who want to enjoy noodles, soup and toppings together

Making a “mini bowl of ramen" in your renge and eating from it is another way to enjoy ramen.

So you can taste all the ramen elements together (without burning your mouth or staining your clothes).

Some people find it a more dignified way to eat ramen over slurping.

(I prefer slurping though!)


Renge is usually made of ceramic.

Do you know why?

Because it is easy to mass produce.

The second most popular material is melamine, while the third is plastic.

They are more durable than ceramic because it does not break easily.

There is wooden spoon is for ramen.

There is the other option for ramen soup spoon.

Which is wooden soup spoon called otama.

it is the short form of otamajakushi (お玉杓子).

It was originally used for udon and soba, but people started to use for ramen too.


  • Kei

    Hi Alycia,
    Thanks for reading my article! I’m glad you learned something new!
    To answer your question, I personally don’t feel there is an issue with including a renge with other traditional American flatware. If you were serving some Japanese cuisine, like ramen, it would make sense to give your guests more cutlery options to use, and it just makes sense! That being said, this is my own personal opinion.

  • Alycia Nichols

    Hello! This was an enlightening post that provided a lot of information I (and I would surmise many Americans) simply did not know. I like learning new things even in my advanced years. As I am setting a dinner table here in Lee’s Summit, MO, USA, I am trying very hard not to misrepresent the Japanese culture. Can you tell me if it is totally inappropriate and considered an affront to include a renge (new word to me!) alongside traditional American flatware? I’d like for guests to feel they have choices in how to eat, but I don’t want to set anything in a way that might offend as photos will be posted on social media. (And because if done correctly I just might be educating someone else down the line!) Thank you in advance.

  • Kei

    Hi Jonas,
    Thanks for leaving us a comment! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed my article.

  • Jonas

    Thank you for this lovely article! Really enjoyed reading and I’ll definately buy a Renge soon :)

  • Kei

    Hi Aimee – Glad you enjoyed the article!

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