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Using chopsticks to enjoy various Asian foods might seem more difficult than it is. But, it’s part of good dining etiquette.

I got my first chopstick lesson in New York City when my daughter moved there for her first job in public relations after college. She quickly embraced the food scene and became an expert at wielding a pair of chopsticks. So, when I made a Mother’s Day visit, she was eager to take me to one of her favorite sushi restaurants, Friend House. She and our server taught me the fine points of maneuvering these two little wooden sticks. Subsequent practice gave me confidence in the art of delicately conveying food to my mouth with chopsticks.

Tips On Chopstick Etiquette

Here are a few tips on chopstick etiquette to help you feel confident and competent. Please note, however, that due to cultural differences, the following are general guidelines only for chopstick etiquette, and may vary by country (such as Korea, Vietnam, Japan, China, etc.).

  1. First, learn to hold the chopsticks correctly. Here’s a helpful YouTube video that shows how to hold chopsticks and how to use them to eat rice. Once you’ve mastered holding the chopsticks correctly, practice at home by picking up pieces of popped popcorn. Don’t worry if you drop a few pieces; it will become easier with practice.
  2. Avoid waving your chopsticks around while eating or pointing at someone with them.
  3. “Serving chopsticks” are used to take food from the serving dishes. They are often a different type or color than individual chopsticks. After serving yourself, return them to the bowl. Do not use the serving chopsticks to dig around in communal dishes for the choices pieces of food.
  4. Do not use your chopsticks (pointed ends) to take food from a communal dish. Use the blunt ends for serving yourself if there are no serving chopsticks.
  5. Never stand your chopsticks upright in the bowl of rice (or in any other dish) as this is often correlated with a funeral rite.
  6. Do not spear food with one chopstick or eat off the end of one chopstick. They are always used together.
  7. Don’t lick or suck on the ends of chopsticks.
  8. Do not pass food from chopstick to chopstick.
  9. If eating sushi or sashimi, pick up each item with the chopsticks and eat in one or two bites.
  10. When chopsticks are not being used, place them on a chopstick rest with the tips pointing to the left, if you are not finished eating. If you are finished eating, place the chopsticks on the top of your bowl horizontally with the pointed ends toward the left. Do not place them in a V-shape.

Interested In Learning More?

Well, now it’s time to head out to your favorite Chinese or sushi restaurant and put your chopstick etiquette into practice! If you are interested in any of my business or dining etiquette seminars please contact me or call me at 918.970.4400!