Chopsticks are one of those things that tends to intimidate people, and for good reason. These tapered finger-sticks require you to use more than 30 joints and 50 muscles in your fingers, wrist, arm and shoulder to operate them successfully. Not to mention that chopsticks have a whole different set of rules to your average English cutlery etiquette. Almost one-third of the world’s population use chopsticks every day, so if you don’t know the ins and outs of using chopsticks, there’s no better time than now to learn how. Menulog have created a handy-dandy list of do’s and don’ts for using chopsticks, and we were surprised at the five faux pas lots of people make.
- Ignore your mum’s advice Despite your mum always nagging you about ‘shovelling food’ into your mouth, it's actually great etiquette to eat rice by holding the bowl up to your face, using chopsticks to push the grains directly into your mouth. In fact, it’s considered poor manners to eat from a rice or soup bowl without lifting from the table.
- Sharing is caring Show your love towards a family member by transferring a choice cut of meat or seafood from a common dish to their bowl. But beware, never pass food directly from one pair of chopsticks to another. This motion is extremely taboo and simulates a cultural funeral rite.
- Need a half-time break? If you need to take a break, rest chopsticks on the side of your bowl, or on a stand, if it’s provided.
- Finally finished? Rest chopsticks on top of the bowl to indicate you’ve finished your meal.
- Ever been told not to point? Don’t rest chopsticks on the edge of your bowl, pointing towards others seated at the table. To avoid being deemed a rude diner, angle them slightly.
- Tap Tap Tap. Don’t hit your chopsticks on the edge of your bowl or use them as drumsticks.
- No stab wounds, please. Never spear food with a chopstick! If you’re having trouble picking up your food, a spoon is your plan B.
- Don’t dig! Don’t use chopsticks to dig around in a bowl of food.
- Beware bad omens. And finally, avoid leaving chopsticks vertically in a bowl of rice at all costs. This symbolises death – not ideal during light dinnertime conversation!
Need some help wrangling your chopsticks? Check out this video.
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