Instructions on How to Use Chopsticks
History of Chopsticks
Chinese use chopsticks and Westerners use knives and fork-
for main dishes. That is the difference between the two cultures when it comes
to eating. This inevitably means that large piece of meat like steak, fish and
poultry are not possible at the Chinese table since using chopsticks to pick up
massive amounts of food is not feasible. Most dishes are therefore made up of
mouth sized pieces which are taken up by chopsticks and
transferred to the mouth. For example, rice shaped like an oval small piece is
easy to pick up with chopsticks. Chinese people were taught to use chopsticks
long before spoons and forks were invented in Europe. Chopsticks were strongly
advocated by the great Chinese philosopher Confucius (551-479 BC). Chinese food
require greater delicacy when eaten with chopsticks, because the diner is forced
to eat smaller portions at a time and also more slowly, therefore savoring the
food more completely.
Also, unlike the spoon, fork, and knife, chopsticks convey
the hand a sense of tactile rapport with the food. Therefore, it's very true to
say that Chinese dining experience involves all the senses! There are different
styles of chopsticks. The Chinese variety is blunt on the eating end, while the
Japanese prefer those with pointed tips. There are even short lengths for
children for use. The most common chopsticks are made of wood or bamboo but
there are chopsticks made from ivory, silver, plastic and even jade as well. For
daily use, wood, bamboo, or ivory is best.
- Never waive the chopsticks over food when having a
meal because it is considered poor manners.
- Never spear or poke food with the tips of the
chopsticks because it is bad manners. Certain things may be more difficult
to pick up with chopsticks, but chopsticks are designed to pick up food, not
to spear and stab it. Equally forbidden is using chopsticks to pull a dish
forward. Use only hands.
- If you need to rest your chopsticks, leave them on
the chopsticks rest or by the side of your bowl or plate. Do not stick them
into a bowl of rice because it resembles ancestral offerings and is frowned
- If the table settings include serving spoons or
chopsticks, use them instead of your own set to get yourself food.
- Do not suck on the tip of the chopsticks.
"The honorable and upright man keeps well away from
both the slaughterhouse and the kitchen. And he allows no knives on his table."
How to use chopsticks
There are two important things to remember for effective
use of chopsticks. One is that the two lower ends must be even, that is, one
must not protrude over the other. The other condition is that the two chopsticks
must be in the same plane.
Place the first (lower) chopstick in the base of the thumb
and index finger and rest its lower end below on the ring finger as shown. This
chopstick remains fixed.
the other (upper) chopstick between the tips of the index and middle fingers,
steady its upper half against the base of the index finger, and use the tips of
the thumb to keep it in place.
To pick up food, move the upper chopstick with index and
With a little practice, you will be able to use chopsticks