Do you love Asian dishes but want to get the full experience by eating right - with chopsticks? Some swear it tastes better, and you want to take the test, but without embarrassment. Others seem to handle chopsticks so easily; however, when you use them, you end up asking for a fork. Here's how to say goodbye to your fork once and for all and put these chopsticks into action!
Method 1 of 2: Handling
Step 1. Take your first chopstick with your middle finger and thumb
That will be his anchor - he cannot move. Tense your hand for a firm grip. Allow the wide end of the chopstick to rest in the crook of your hand, where the thumb and index finger connect. Rest the narrow end between the base of the thumb and the side of the index finger. It must remain virtually immobile. It's something like holding a pen, only a little lower.
Some may prefer to hold the chopstick with the side of their ring finger, with the tip of their index finger holding it in place
Step 2. Take the second chopstick with your index finger and thumb
This will be the hashi that will move. Place your thumb on the side of the second chopstick so that it rests on the first. Adjust your grip until you reach a comfortable position. The narrow ends of the chopsticks are connected to prevent them from crossing or not being able to “snap” the food.
To bring them together, you can tap them on the table. Chopsticks in unequal positions will be very difficult to handle
Step 3. Practice opening and closing chopsticks
Its wide ends should not make a “” as this would make it difficult to grip. Does the top only move? Excellent!
If that helps, slide your hand up and down, but always in the same position, experimenting with different levels of grip. Some find it easy to handle near the base while others prefer to make a grip closer to the tip
Step 4. Start by getting food
Working at a 45° angle may be ideal at this first moment. Continue baking until you can lift food steadily. If there is any imbalance, download the food and try again.
Once you get good with a type of food, look for objects of different sizes and textures. When you start to feel really confident, practice with noodles
Method 2 of 2: Label with chopsticks
Step 1. Know the rules for sharing food
Typically, when it comes to Asian dishes (regardless of whether they were prepared at home or in a restaurant), you'll get your portion from a large plate of food. It is not appropriate to dip chopsticks put in the mouth in the communal meal! You have two options:
- Use a public pair of chopsticks that will never touch your own (or someone else's) rice/food bowl.
- Pick up the food with the other end of the chopsticks. This is the wide part that will not come into contact with your mouth!
Step 2. Know what to do with them while not eating
The rules of chopsticks don't end once you take the food to your mouth, unfortunately. Each society has different rules, but in general:
- Do not leave chopsticks pointing up on the food plate. This is seen as ill omen and resembles incense at funerals.
- Do not pierce food with chopsticks. If all else fails, this might seem like a good alternative, but it's seen as inelegant.
- Don't switch food from chopstick to chopstick. This is also funeral protocol and seen as lack of etiquette.
- Do not cross chopsticks. When finished eating, place them on the left side of the empty plate.
- Do not aim at people with chopsticks. The simple act of pointing is inelegant in Asian cultures. The same goes for chopsticks.
This article would be very long if it covered all the rules. These are the basics
Step 3. When eating rice, be able to dig it
If the rice bowl is placed in front of you and your only feeding apparatus is two pieces of bamboo, you can feel like someone without oars on a boat. However, it is perfectly acceptable (and normal, realistically speaking) to hold the bowl of rice close to your mouth and eat the food that way. You won't look silly - but yes, you will look cultured!
- You might feel like the Beast during dinner with Beauty; however, stay calm, this is how you eat rice. Don't toss the rice into your mouth like a caveman - lift the bowl close to your mouth to prevent the rice from falling to the ground.
Japan has slightly stricter rules regarding this element. If you are in China or Vietnam, for example, you can dig the rice however you like
- Start by holding the chopsticks in the middle or near the ends while getting used to the movement and keeping the ends aligned. As you get more comfortable and confident, try holding the chopsticks with a grip closer to the end of the thick end.
- The difference between looking like someone uneducated and looking like someone refined and cultured is shown when you hold chopsticks. Do not hold chopsticks near the end. The farther away from the food your hands are, the better. Do not stab the food, this is considered rude and/or disrespectful to the chef or cook who prepared it.
- Be patient as it takes a while to learn the correct usage. It's perfectly fine to ask for a fork or spoon if you get too frustrated.
- Apply firm but gentle pressure to the food; just enough to keep the food from falling off the chopsticks. When you put too much pressure on, your chopsticks are likely to cross if they're not perfectly aligned, and could end up throwing your food away from the table.
- Alternatively, you can hold the bottom chopstick with the tip of your ring finger, resting it on the nail of your little finger. That way your thumb will keep the chopstick in place. The top chopstick will move up and down to get the food.
- While at first it may seem easier to hold chopsticks near the tip, holding them farther back means they are more parallel, which helps to hold food (such as rice) underneath. You can also pick up larger pieces of food.
- This is the correct way to hold chopsticks. However, if you can comfortably grab the food and bring it to your mouth, you are effectively using chopsticks.
- Wooden or bamboo chopsticks are the easiest to use due to their absorbent texture at the tip. Plastic ones will be harder to use. Metal chopsticks, used by the Koreans, are the most difficult. Perfect with one and move on to the next. Next time you go out, your hosts will be impressed!
- Flexible or sliced foods such as cold cuts or sliced cheeses provide good practice. They are easier than dicing foods while you are learning to press and align chopsticks.
- When taking food from a bowl used by others, use the reverse side of chopsticks. This prevents germs from your mouth, which will be on the other side, from reaching the rest of the food.
- Take chopsticks home to practice using them. Follow the steps above and lift a peanut, pen, or piece of fish. Try to eat your dinner with them.
- Avoid passing food with chopsticks. As an upcoming notice, this resembles a section of the traditional Japanese funeral, where family members pass bones using chopsticks. Instead, when passing food, place it on an intermediate plate, preferably using a serving utensil or, if none are provided, turn your chopsticks upside down so that the side that was not in your mouth touches the food; then give the dish to whoever it is.
- It's not easy to use chopsticks, so persevere while you're learning how to make them.
- Chinese etiquette says that you can hold your personal bowl of rice close to your mouth with one hand while using chopsticks to pull the rice into your mouth. However, Korean etiquette says this is a very bad shape! Be aware of the people you are eating with, and what their customs are.
- Don't cross your chopsticks. In Chinese culture this is a symbol for death. Always rest them in parallel with each other.
- Avoid sticking your chopsticks in the bottom of the rice. It is impolite, as it recalls the incense that family members burned to mourn a deceased. It is also reminiscent of the way rice is symbolically offered to the dead in Japan, Korea and China. When you're done, place the chopsticks on top of the bowl and lay them flat.
- Do not poke your teeth with chopsticks, even if there are no toothpicks where you are having dinner.
- Don't aim at people with your chopsticks.
- Don't beat the bowl or plate with your chopsticks. This is what beggars did in ancient China.
- Decide which food on the plate you want before putting your chopsticks on it. Poking things off the plate is considered very rude.