Eating chopsticks can be difficult, especially if you haven't been using chopsticks since you were a child. But there's no need to be scared: with a little practice, you'll learn to use chopsticks with ease. Remember to hold them correctly and pick up your food carefully. You also need to know the basic rules of etiquette, especially if you're eating at a restaurant. With a little practice, you will master the art of using chopsticks.
Method 1 of 4: Preparing the chopsticks
Step 1. Separate chopsticks
Hold one in each hand and pull one of the chopsticks towards you so that they separate from each other. Place chopsticks on your lap when breaking them to avoid hitting any plate on the table.
Step 2. Rub chopsticks together to remove splinters
Sometimes there are a few splinters near the area where the chopsticks broke. If you see any splinters, gently rub the chopsticks together to remove it.
Avoid rubbing chopsticks if they are made of thinner wood, especially if they are not disposable
Step 3. Do not tear off the wooden block at the end of chopsticks
Contrary to what many people think, you shouldn't tear off the wooden block at the end of chopsticks. It doesn't come off easily and trying to remove it can end up splintering or even breaking chopsticks. Do not touch the wooden block once the chopsticks are separated.
Method 2 of 4: Holding Chopsticks
Step 1. Hold the first chopstick with your thumb, index and middle finger
Wooden chopsticks must be held and used in the same way as any other type. Hold the first chopstick with the tips of your index and middle finger. Use the tip of your thumb to balance the chopstick straight in your hand.
Don't worry if you don't get it right the first time. Balancing chopsticks takes a little practice
Step 2. Place the second chopstick between your thumb and palm
The second chopstick should be placed under the first one, between the thumb and the palm of the hand. Move your thumb toward your palm to hold the chopstick in place. You must not stir this chopstick while eating.
Again, don't despair if you run into difficulties at first. This is something that takes practice
Step 3. Move the top chopstick with your middle finger and index finger
When you're holding the chopsticks correctly, see if you can move them the right way. The only one that should move is the top one, and you should only use your index and middle finger to handle it. The toe must remain still.
- Learning to use chopsticks correctly can take a little time. Practice the basic moves a lot before touching the food. Try to pay attention to your thumb so that it stays still. This will give you even greater control over chopsticks.
- It may take a while to get used to the texture of other chopsticks, such as ceramic chopsticks.
Method 3 of 4: Getting the Food
Step 1. Take the food with the two chopsticks
Using chopsticks is simple when you know the basic moves. Just move the top one with your index and middle finger to make a space between them, grab the food with the two chopsticks and take it from the plate to your mouth.
Although it sounds easy, don't be nervous if it takes time to learn. Using chopsticks can be difficult at first, especially for someone who has always eaten with a fork and spoon. Play with chopsticks a little to get used to the movement
Step 2. To pick up the rice, do a shoveling motion
In most Asian countries, you can push rice into your mouth with chopsticks. Raise the bowl to face level when eating rice. Hold the chopsticks side by side and carefully push the rice into your mouth.
In Korean culture, this is not considered good manners. Don't do this in Korean restaurants
Step 3. Don't let chopsticks cross when trying to hold food
When picking up the food with chopsticks, do not let the ends pass one over the other, forming an “X”. This will make getting the food much more difficult. If the chopsticks cross, it's a sign that you're squeezing food too tightly. Release it and try to pick it up again, more gently.
Method 4 of 4: Practicing Etiquette
Step 1. Don't skewer the food with chopsticks
Although it seems like a simple solution if you have difficulty picking up what's on your plate, never skewer food with chopsticks to bring it to your mouth. Chopsticks are not meant to be used in this way, and the food can end up falling out if you do this with them. Furthermore, skewering food is generally considered impolite.
Step 2. Do not stick chopsticks in rice in an upright position
In some Buddhist cultures, rice is offered in shrines to the spirits after death. When rice is offered to a spirit, the chopsticks are placed in the bowl in an upright position. In general, avoid sticking chopsticks vertically inside rice, as this can be seen as offensive in Buddhist cultures.
Not everyone who uses chopsticks is a Buddhist, but it's always best to be careful, especially if you're in a restaurant from a culture you don't know
Step 3. Do not leave chopsticks crossed on the plate or bowl
Some Asian cultures use chopsticks crossed on the plate or bowl in funeral rites. Although not all cultures have the same rituals, it's best to avoid crossing chopsticks, just in case. Place them side by side next to your plate when you're not eating instead of crossing them.
Step 4. Do not wash chopsticks in drink or soup
It is generally considered unsanitary to wash chopsticks in your drink or soup after using them. Clean chopsticks with a napkin or order a new pair if they are dirty rather than contaminating your drink or water with bits of food.
Step 5. Avoid passing food from one chopstick to another
Some Buddhist funerary rites involve passing the bones of the deceased from one chopstick to another after cremation. Thus, it is usually considered impolite to switch food from chopstick to chopstick, as the movement is reminiscent of death and funerals.