How to use Chopsticks Correctly

Chopsticks, Chopsticks Everywhere

To eat and enjoy Japanese food, Chinese food, and other asian cuisine, it helps if you know how to use chopsticks correctly.Your whole experience will be more authentic when you can eat your rice straight from the rice bowl using your chopsticks, and it really is easy once you know how. Here are the instructions on how to use chopsticks properly.

First of all there are different types of chopsticks.

Chinese chopsticks are the most common. They are rather thick, about ten inches long and the same circumference from top to bottom.

Japanese chopsticks are shorter (about seven inches long) and are tapered at the eating end, coming almost to a point. Both sorts can be made of either plastic or wood. They are often coated in lacquer and can be very colourful.

Restaurants also provide a plain wooden variety and these are usually joined together at the end. They are broken apart, used once and then thrown away, in the interests of hygiene.

Many years ago, when I asked my wife Keiko to teach me how to use chopsticks properly, she had some difficulty in explaining. It was second nature to her. She had never thought about how she actually does it. To her, it was like asking which muscles she uses to walk with.

With a shrug of her shoulders, she replied “I don't know, I just do it”.

So How is it Done?

However, after some consideration, she was able to give me instructions. So here they are, “straight from the horses’ mouth”, so to speak.

1. Take the first chopstick, which we will call the bottom one, and place the top end in the “v” between the base of your thumb and your index finger. Now, wedge the bottom end against the top of your fourth finger. Your fourth finger (the one next to the little finger) must press firmly against the chopstick so that it is fixed and cannot move. It is wedged solid. This is the most important point - this chopstick should not move whilst eating.

2. Now, take the second chopstick, which we will call the top one, and hold it between your thumb, forefinger and second finger exactly as you would hold a ballpoint pen when writing. This is the chopstick that moves, and the one that actually enables the 'picking up'. Try it. Hold the bottom chopstick still, and then “write” with the top one. This is the trick.

3. The other thing to remember is that both chopsticks must come together at the eating end, at the same point. You can ensure this by tapping the sticks on the table, ends down before you put them into 'eating' position'. And that's it.

Relax, and with some practise, you will soon be impressing your friends with your confident and accomplished use of 'the dreaded alternative to a knife and fork'. Before you know it, picking up peas and even grains of rice will be child’s play!


Copyright (c) 2009. All rights reserved.

A novel use for chopsticks and rice bowls
A novel use for chopsticks and rice bowls

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Comments 6 comments

steve 5 years ago

Great! I also found these chopstick tricks

queen cleopatra profile image

queen cleopatra 6 years ago

I use long chopsticks to stir-fry vegetables in a wok. For eating, I prefer the shorter ones. Thanks for sharing :D

sannyasinman profile image

sannyasinman 7 years ago Author

wyanjen - you can also eat sushi with your fingers. Lots of Japanese do!

wyanjen profile image

wyanjen 7 years ago from Wyandotte Michigan

I hate to admit I drive right past a sushi restaurant on my way to get my Lucky Dragon Chinese takeout (take it home, and use a fork.) I've never had sushi - I'd love to try it - but I'm really intimidated by the chopsticks. I realize how silly that sounds LOL

Thanks for the hub ;-)

sannyasinman profile image

sannyasinman 7 years ago Author

Hi wyanjen, yes I find the Japanese version much easier to use because they are shorter and the ends are tapered - which means that you also do more damage if you stab yourself in the nose. LOL.

wyanjen profile image

wyanjen 7 years ago from Wyandotte Michigan

Hi sannyasinman

That is indeed a novel use for chopsticks. :-)

Question: Do you find the longer Chinese chopsticks easier to use than the shorter ones?

I can just imagine myself stabbing my own nose.

I've always been afraid to try LOL


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