Shi­tal Kakkar Mehra on chop­sticks eti­quette

All that you didn’t know about this long piece of eat­ing sticks, do’s, don’ts and tech­nique

Micetalk - - CONTENTS -

Chop­sticks are tra­di­tional eat­ing sticks in China, Japan, Korea, Viet­nam and a few other parts of East Asia. Owing to their pop­u­lar­ity, one can re­quest for chop­sticks in vir­tu­ally any Asian restau­rant across the world. Tra­di­tion­ally held in the right hand, they are used for eat­ing, very much like we In­di­ans use our fin­gers. Rice ( spe­cial va­ri­ety which is pre­pared with less wa­ter to make it ‘ clumpy’ or ‘ sticky’) and noo­dles are sta­ple food in these coun­tries and are ideal for eat­ing with chop­sticks.


Chop­stick I– Rest the thicker part in the web between the thumb and the index fin­ger. Wrap your thumb around it to an­chor it and rest the thin­ner part on tip of your ring fin­ger. This chop­stick re­mains sta­tionery. Chop­stick II– Hold the thicker part between the tip of the thumb, the index fin­ger and the mid­dle fin­ger to move this chop­stick to ‘ pinch’ food from your plate. Make sure that the thin­ner ends of both the chop­sticks are even and an­gled to the plate.


China: Called ‘ kuàizi’, chop­sticks are long, squared and end in a rounded ‘ eat­ing end’, pro­vid­ing more sur­face area to hold the food. The bowl is brought close to the mouth and chop­sticks are used to push rice di­rectly into the mouth.

Japan: Called ‘ hashi’, they are ta­pered, end­ing in pointed tips and are de­signed to pick out the bones from fish. It is con­sid­ered in­aus­pi­cious to use chop­sticks to trans­fer food to another per­son’s bowl.

Korea: Made of stain­less steel ( ear­lier they were made of sil­ver); they are rel­a­tively flat­ter and shorter.

Viet­nam: Long chop­sticks with ta­pered blunt ends.

Thai­land/ Burma/ Cam­bo­dia: Used for eat­ing noo­dles and noo­dle soups but not rice.


Stick them ver­ti­cally in the bowl.

Place them par­al­lel on top of the bowl– be­lieved to bring bad luck

Put them in your mouth or lick bits of food stuck to them use chop­sticks only as a uten­sil to trans­fer the food.

Drop them, use them as drum sticks or tooth­picks, wave them or point at peo­ple/ things.

Dig them into the com­mon dish, try­ing to choose your piece.

Drop the piece you picked back into the shared dish con­sid­ered un­san­i­tary.


Tra­di­tion­ally held in the right hand, chop­sticks are used for eat­ing, like we In­di­ans use our fin­gers

Use chop­stick stands to lay them down when not in use, with the pointed ends rest­ing on the stands.

Try to hold them closer to the thicker end.

If al­ready used, use the op­po­site end to take food from the com­mon dish.

Shi­tal Kakkar Mehra Prac­ti­tioner of Cor­po­rate Eti­quette and In­ter­na­tional Pro­to­col in In­dia

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