you ever visited an Asian restaurant and wondered about the
traditions surrounding chopsticks? Chopsticks are a great
way to eat your food quickly and conveniently. Studies have
shown that using chopsticks can have some added benefits,
such as improving memory and increasing manual dexterity.
There are many different types of chopsticks, from the
Japanese wari-bashi (disposable chopsticks) to different
styles of chopsticks used for cooking, eating and picking up
cakes and other sweets. Although they are a great way to eat
your meals, to the uninitiated chopstick user, they may be a
bit tricky to use at first.
The proper way to use chopsticks is to
hold the two pieces parallel to each other in the web
between your thumb and forefinger on your fork hand. Rest
the chopstick that is closest to your body on the first
joint of your ring finger and keep it immobile. Hold the
other chopstick with your forefinger and middle finger, and
manipulate them to pick up your food as if they were
Once you have a bit of practice with
chopsticks, youíll find their use simple, natural and
easy. Chopstick use allows much more nimbleness and
precision than a fork or knife could ever offer. There are,
however, a number of etiquette rules when it comes to dining
When your chopsticks are not in use, you
should lay them down with their ends pointed to your left.
Do not stick your chopsticks into your food
and leave them standing up. In Asian funerals, chopsticks
are left standing in balls of rice that are placed on the
altar of the deceased.
Do not pass your food from your chopsticks
directly to another personís chopsticks. Once again, this
is also a funeral custom, where the bones of the cremated
are passed from one family member to the next in this
Do not lick your chopsticks.
Do not use your chopsticks to point at
objects, whether it is food, the table, etc.
Do not wave your chopsticks through the air or
play with them.
Do not use your chopsticks to push or pull
bowls or plates around on the table.
Never cross your chopsticks except if you are
at a Dim Sum restaurant. It is acceptable to cross your
chopsticks on the table here because it indicates to your
server that you have finished your meal and are ready to
pay. Sometimes, your server will cross them for you, to
indicate you have paid your bill already.
If you have already used your chopsticks for
eating, and you want to move food from a shared plate to
your own plate, turn them around and use the opposite end to
get the food.
Chopsticks are a practical and fun way
to eat. Chopstick use has been compared to Asian brush
painting and writing Chinese characters, as the movements
and hand disciplines are similar. Once you have practiced a
bit, youíll be using chopsticks naturally and fluidly. Bon appetite!