Introduction: How to Use Chopsticks

Chopsticks are two-piece of equal length sticks used as a tool of eating commonly used in East Asia and Southeastern Asia. Figure 1 is the simplified Chinese character presents chopsticks. Figure 2 is the Chinese character means fast and figure 3 is the simplified Chinese character means bamboo. This character indicates the material of a normal chopsticks and the reason of using chopsticks. In ancient China, figure 4 is the traditional Chinese character as same as how chopsticks called and written in Japan, which means help. The instructions will help people who do not know how to use chopsticks, but want to try those delicious Asian foods that require chopsticks. To learn how to use chopsticks, you don’t need an engineering degree; but you just need a hand and chopsticks. It might take a few minutes for you to choose the right chopstick to use. I will introduce different types of chopsticks in my instructions. The process of learning how to use chopsticks might just take you 10 minutes, but it will take you a couple days or a couple months to get used to it. It may take you time to learn, but this skill makes you have confidence and feel comfortable when you go to those Asian restaurants that don’t provide you spoons and forks and when you go to Asian countries.

Step 1: Choose the Right Chopsticks

There are several types of chopsticks.
• Bamboo Chopsticks
• Ivory Chopsticks
• Silver Chopsticks
• Metal Chopsticks
1. Don’t choose those chopsticks that have lots of color painting on them.
Warning: those colors contain some carcinogenic martial like the heavy metal lead and the organic solvent benzene.
2. Chopsticks make of metal like silver chopsticks are heavy and have a bad hand grip.
3. Chopsticks make of bone like ivory chopsticks have a perfect hand grip, but feel heavy.
4. Bamboo and wood are the best materials of making chopsticks, but bamboo chopsticks would cause microbial contamination. It needs to be cleaned very often.

Step 2: Hold the First Chopstick

1. Position your hand like you are holding an egg.
2. Have the board side of the chopstick lay on the connection area between your thumb and your index finger.
3. Use the top part of your ring finger, your thumb knuckle and the connect area between your thumb and your index finger to perform like a lever. Don’t hold it hard.

Step 3: Hold the Second Chopstick

1. Keep your hand in the same position as step 2.
2. Use the top part of your middle finger, the lower part of your index finger and the top part of thumb to perform as a lever. Don’t hold it hard.

Step 4: Close the Chopsticks

1. Keep your first chopstick in the original position.
2. Push your middle finger, and the second chopstick will get close to the first chopstick.

Step 5: Open the Chopsticks

1. Keep your first chopstick in the original position.
2. Loose the strength on the middle finger. The second chopstick lever will automatically make your chopsticks open.

Step 6: Keep Practicing

Keep Practicing every day and you will get used to using chopsticks.

Step 7: Tips

Learning how to use chopsticks is not just learning how to use it to eat food, but also to learn the related Chinese table manners, which are very complex. Below are some actions you are not supposed to do when you are using chopsticks in some Asian countries.
• Don’t use chopsticks unpaired in length. In Chinese culture, it symbolizes bad luck.
• Don’t keep the chopsticks in the mouth and make some weird noise. It is rude.
• Don’t hit the bowl with your chopsticks, because in ancient China, only baggers use chopsticks to hit the bowl to get attention from other people.
• Don’t use chopsticks to search food in a dish. In China, people don’t eat in their own dishes. so pick up the food you first touch.
• Don’t drop food into another dish when you are trying to take them. It would embarrass you if you make this mistake.
• Don’t use the other end of the chopsticks to pick up food. Chinese believe only gormandizers do so.
• Don’t stick the chopsticks into the food served on the table. In Chinese culture, it is as insulting as putting one’s middle finger at other people.
• Don’t stick the chopsticks uprightly into the rice while you are helping others to fill their bowls. You may consider it convenient but Chinese not: it’s offensive for them because it makes the chopsticks like tombstone.
• Don’t cross your chopsticks on the table while you are not using them. For Chinese it shows your dissatisfaction with the food, just as teachers give red crosses to the wrong answers.
• Don’t drop your chopsticks onto the ground while you are eating. Chinese believe that their ancestors are living underground. So the chopsticks hitting the ground will disturb the ancestors. If you have already made this mistake, you should pick up the chopsticks and use them to draw cross on the ground: first east to west, then south to north, murmuring “My fault. My fault. I shall die.”
• Don’t put your chopsticks beside the dishes with their ends up and pointing to other people at the table. For Chinese it is as rude as pointing your finger at someone while you are speaking to him.