How to Use Chopsticks
Don’t know how to use chopsticks? Then you better learn quickly because you won’t find too many forks and knives around China, and we guarantee no one will know how to tie the rubber bands at the end like they do at your local Chinese eatery. Like anything, you won’t learn to use them in a day, but while you’re here you really have no other choice. So let’s get started!
1. Rest the first stick in between your index finger and middle finger and place the back end of the soft area between your index finger and thumb (pointy end facing in the same directions of your fingers). This is your anchor stick, and it should not move while eating.
2. Grasp the second stick with your index finger and thumb tips. This is the stick that moves, and you can position it by simply twisting your thumb and index finger. You can brace it on your middle finger for better control and make sure both pointy ends are facing the same direction.
3. To pick food up, place the bite in between the two pointy edges and tighten up using the stick in between your index and thumb tips.
4. Note that many meals in China will be served with a bowl of rice. It is acceptable to place bites of food on top of the rice, so bring the bowl close to your mouth with your left hand and use your chopsticks to shovel the rice and food into your mouth. Using chopsticks as a shovel is easier, and it’s perfectly acceptable in Chinese table etiquette.
5. Another common misconception is that stabbing the food with your chopsticks like a fork is unacceptable. This is perfectly fine and no one will laugh at your amateur skills. Chinese people do this all the time, especially with hard to eat foods that are slippery, slimy or simply just too large to pick up the old fashion way.
6. Last but not least, practice. After a few meals you’ll be on your way to expertise!