Japanese Instant noodle giant Nissin has a potentially helpful new electric fork available for loud slurpers of noodles. The $130 utensil, called the Otohiko, features noise-canceling technology that helps blur the distinct auditory effects of noodle-eating into simple white noise. It’s intended to bridge the gap between true noodle enthusiasts and those who can’t stomach the slurp.
The Otohiko is currently being crowdfunded and if 5,000 models are pre-ordered, Nissin will make the device available to the public. Ergonomically designed for maximum hand comfort and connected via Bluetooth to your mobile device, this fork could revolutionize going out of your way to be polite…or it could easily all be a joke. Watch the video and decide for yourself.
But wait, aren’t Asian countries/people who are serious about noodles typically sympathetic to if not outwardly in favor of slurping? One of New York City’s most popular noodle soup spots, Ivan Ramen, even includes the word “slurp” in its name. It’s about temperature control — this particular technique was born of logic and honed for centuries, ensuring you don’t get scalded by flash-circulating air around the noodles before they hit your mouth. Nothing ruins a nice bowl of noodle soup quite like a burned tongue, right.
So plunk down your $130 with caution: you could be contributing to the downfall of a long-held gastronomic art so that a fraction of the noodle-eating population isn’t mildly irritated by your tonkatsu habit.