How to Use Chopstick the Right Way—Blend in Enjoy Your Meal
Are you the only one eating your sushi with a fork? Or find picking up that dumpling a tricky affair with chopsticks? Worry not, using chopsticks is much easier than you think. Also, just like most traditions and customs from the southeast, chopsticks too have a certain etiquette and rule to their use, and it's best to get updated on all this before you show off your newfound chopstick using skills.
Getting Started—How to Hold the Chopsticks
You hold the chopsticks in your dominant hand, but first, before you begin eating, lay the chopsticks on the little stand provided for the purpose or use your side plate. The pointed ends must face away from you. They should be placed on the side of your dominant hand ready to be picked up.
Using the chopsticks:
Step 1: Pick up the chopsticks with your dominant hand, pointy side down. Adjust them to come together with the other hand. Think of holding two pens in one hand.
Step 2: Your thumb must be above the chopsticks and hold them sideways to look like a V.
Step 3: Use your ring finger to rest the chopstick at the bottom. Think about holding a pen.
Step 4: Only the top chopstick must move, do so using your thumb and forefinger.
Practise in front of an online video and you will soon get the hang of it and can show off picking up even the smallest food particle with your chopsticks. A good rule of thumb is to use chopsticks at home whenever possible. You can easily buy chopsticks online and have a pair handy whenever you are having meals. For a range of designs and even the handy little mini-blocks (chopstick rests) on which to rest your chopsticks, you can explore websites similar to Table Matters.
Since people from the southeast are particular about their table manners, there is some chopstick do’s and don’ts you must learn before using them in public.
- Do not attempt to spear food using one chopstick, it is considered rude and uncultured.
- Never, cross your chopsticks and leave them on the plate or in the bowl. Always use the chopstick rest or lay them down flat on the table next to you; you may use the side plate when needed.
- Passing food from your chopsticks to someone else’s chopsticks is not done, avoid doing so; you may pick up food with your chopsticks and place them on someone else’s plate if needed.
- Sticking chopsticks into your rice, so they stick out like sticks are considered bad luck, and you do not want that!
- When finished, the signal is to rest the chopsticks besides your bowl or plate.
You may find a stainless steel chopstick set a handy tool to have at home. Besides, the range available online at Singapore homeware stores is beautiful, ranging from classy rose gold chopsticks to pretty designs on the handles. Plus, they are durable and can be placed in the dishwasher. Ideal for practising and even taking along with your packed lunch, when you are ready to show off your newly acquired chopstick skills.
Cleaning and Taking Care of Your Chopsticks
It is best to soak your chopsticks for two minutes in lukewarm water to which you can add a drop of dishwash. This applies to both plastic and metal chopsticks. If you are using wooden chopsticks soak them for no more than thirty seconds. Use a brush or sponge and clean them well, after rinsing them out make sure to dry your chopsticks well. It’s a good idea to let wooden chopsticks air dry for a while to avoid mildew from forming. You can store your chopsticks wrapped in a soft cloth, which is ideal to prevent dampness in wooden chopsticks, or you can use paper.
Practise Makes Perfect
The trick to expertly using chopsticks is confidence and practice, and after that, you wonder what the fuss was all about. If you are training your kids to use chopsticks try wrapping a rubber band around them to help them keep the chopsticks together, and practice opening and closing them without having one fall out. Happy learning!