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How to use a chopstick? – Have you ever contemplated having your food with two sticks? Intriguing right? Some of us might be excited at the prospect of it while others might break out in a sweat. Either way, eating food in the Chinese traditional style is worth a try. And, if you are a chef, an event planner, or a foodie, who knows, it might come in handy at some point in time!
This article includes 4 simples steps on How to use a chopstick.
Also, check out the best way to clean strawberries.
How to use a Chopstick?
Well, you can learn how to use chopsticks by just the following very simple steps and can start enjoying Chinese cuisine the Chinese way!
Step 1: Choosing the correct chopsticks for yourself:
- Chopsticks are available in three types: plastic, wood, and heavy fibers. Think of these as three levels: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.
- It is recommended that you start with plastic chopsticks, as these are the lightest and the easiest to hold. As you become more comfortable with chopsticks, you can experiment with different types, and choose the ones that suit you the best.
- You will be able to find chopsticks at any market or restaurant selling Chinese products or traditional Chinese dishes. Plastic and wooden chopsticks are usually disposable and the cheapest.
Step 2: Snapping the chopsticks open
- If you are buying disposable chopsticks, more often than not they will be stuck together. You will need to snap them open.
- If you find splinters even after separating the sticks, make sure to remove them before using them.
Step 3 – Holding the Chopsticks properly
As a beginner, it is best if you grasp the sticks one by one to ensure proper grip. Follow the steps given below to learn how to hold chopsticks properly:
- Take a stick and hold it as you would hold a pencil, with the thinner end pointing downwards. Make sure that only a small part of the stick is protruding from the back end.
- Slowly shift the weight of the stick onto your ring finger so that your thumb and index finger are free from holding it. This stick will be the stationery stick, that is, it will not move at all. Make sure you are comfortable with the stick before moving on to the next step.
- Now, take the second stick and hold it like you had held the first stick, but with the first stick still in hand. Hold the second stick with your thumb finger, index finger, and middle finger with the thinner end pointing downwards parallel to the first stick.
- Make sure that you have a strong and firm grip on both the sticks, otherwise, the food might slip from your grasp while holding it with the sticks.
- Try to move the second stick in a flapping motion, without moving the first stick at all. Practice it a couple of times before you try it out with actual food, so that you know that you are completely comfortable with the motion and will not let it slip.
- Be extremely careful and conscious while using chopsticks for the first few times, especially if you are planning to use them outdoors or at someone else’s place.
- Inaccuracy of grip can cause a number of small accidents while eating, and some of them can be quite embarrassing.
Step 4 – Taking food with the chopsticks
- Gage the size of your food and move the second stick away enough to create a big enough space.
- Put the sticks simultaneously in the food and firmly grab a piece or a few particles, depending upon what you are eating.
- Make sure that you have a firm enough grip on the food before pulling the chopsticks out. It is recommended that you try eating big pieces of food, like prawns or salad before you try to eat finer pieces like rice, noodles, or scrambled eggs.
- But don’t worry, soon you will become a pro and will be able to eat every type of food with chopsticks. Make sure that you are in the habit of eating food with chopsticks, or you will forget how to do so.
Chopsticks hygiene: If you have chosen to go for disposable single-use chopsticks, please make sure to not use them more than once because they might give rise to bacteria on the surface. If you have chosen long use chopsticks, remember to wash them after every meal to maintain durability, long life and ensure cleanliness and hygiene.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1 Can I use chopsticks only while I am enjoying Chinese cuisine?
Contrary to what most of us might believe, the use of chopsticks is not at all peculiar to Chinese tradition and culture. In fact, many of the Southeast Asian countries also have the tradition of taking their meals with chopsticks. Laos, Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan are some of the other countries that use chopsticks. While cuisines of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are traditionally not taken with chopsticks, some of the dishes of these countries, for example, pakoras, can easily be consumed using chopsticks.
Q2 Is putting chopsticks in rice considered a bad omen?
Eating rice with chopsticks is not considered a bad omen per se. In fact, rice in China, Japan, and other countries using chopsticks is cooked in a different manner than in countries that do not use chopsticks. The rice comes out thick and sticky that makes it easier to lift and eat with chopsticks. However, putting chopsticks vertically in a bowl of rice is considered to be a very bad omen and a sign of bad luck. This is specially because this position reminds people of the bowl of rice that is left with the dead with incense sticks pointing vertically up from it.
Q3 What is the proper etiquette to be followed while using chopsticks?
Always keep in mind a few important facts while using chopsticks, to ensure that you get the maximum benefit out of them and so that you do not come across as culturally insensitive. First of all, do not do anything with chopsticks that is considered a bad omen. Do not leave chopsticks vertically sticking up from your bowl and do not cross them on your plate.
Make sure that you only place chopsticks horizontally on the rim of your bowl or your plate. Use chopsticks only in the way they are supposed to be used. Avoid using one chopstick to pierce or spear a piece of food. Finally, never use chopsticks for pointing, or for anything at all except eating. It is considered rude.
Especially if you haven’t tried it before, using chopsticks might be a new and innovative way to eat your food. Even though chopsticks might slow you down initially, you will eventually find that they are a much faster and swifter way to take your food. If you face too much trouble, you can always use a fork and chopsticks interchangeably till you get totally used to chopsticks.
With the steps on How to use a chopstick, no user will ever face the same problem again.
However, like everything else that is fun to try, chopsticks need to be taken care of too. Your care procedure will depend upon the type of chopsticks that you choose. Make sure to definitely dispose of off the chopsticks if you choose single-use chopsticks.
Never leave chopsticks unwashed for too long after a meal if you have chosen long use chopsticks. Once you learn to use chopsticks properly and get used to taking proper care of them, there is no reason as to why you shouldn’t be able to enjoy food with chopsticks in the long run!