How To Use Chopsticks Like A Pro

Learning to eat with chopsticks is inevitable if you’re planning to travel to Japan, North, or Southeast Asia. You don't even need to look that far. With the trendy sushi restaurants all over Europe and America, you've probably seen people comfortably eating with the sticks, at least to the level of food landing in their mouth, not on the table.

If eating with chopsticks fills you with fear - don't worry, we've got you covered.

Be prepared that your first few attempts will be awkward and likely result in you using chopsticks rather to spear your food — pretty much like a fork. Don't worry, chopsticks are a skill acquired with practice. Soon enough you’ll be selecting and grabbing a grain of rice like Jackie Chan flies, but until then, here’s a bit of advice to get you by.

Contrary to its name, it’s bad manners to chop or stick food with your chopsticks.

Make sure the bottom chopstick doesn't move. Let the top one do the work. The physics work simple: the higher to the wide end you hold, the more pro you get, but also the more crucial control you give up.  The lower you slide, the greater likelihood you have of nabbing those nibbles, but also of getting some sauce on your hand, that you don’t notice until you accidentally wipe it on your face. The best compromise is to grip two-thirds up the barrel.

The Techniques

The Gaijin  (The Foreigner)

Place the wedge somewhere around the middle of your sticks. Then take a rubber band. Wrap it around until the wedge is tightly secured in place. We used the bottle cork. Now all you have to do is squeeze the sticks together to pick up your food; no complicated finger manoeuvring required.

The Pro

Weighing in as the most widely accepted chopstick technique, The Pro relies on the top stick being held like a pencil; resting between your middle and pointer finger and extending up over your lowest pointer knuckle. The bottom stick runs along the webbing between your thumb, and pointer and lies comfortably on the upper broad side of your ring finger.

The Calliper

The basic hand positioning is the same as in Pro technique, though rather than resting.  Both sticks ends should have contact with your fingertips. The top one with your middle finger, and the bottom with your ring finger, leaving your pointer finger free to direct the force. This technique offers powerful control options but the risks are higher.

The Etiquette

Finally, each country you visit will have some unwritten etiquette rules involving the sticks. One common tenet is to not leave your chopsticks standing upright in your bowl as this is often how food or burning incense sticks are offered to ancestors.

Another faux paux is  sticking chopsticks in your food.

So... do you fancy some sushi?

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