Chopsticks are symbolic and culturally significant in many Asian countries. Like the rest of the world, there are specific rules on how to use chopsticks. To avoid any awkward situations, here are 8 chopsticks etiquette rules to observe:
Keep Chopsticks Together
Keep the chopsticks on the edge of your bowl or plate properly when resting them. You should be provided a little block to rest them on, but if not, arrange the chopsticks together with the ends. Never cross them on the plate as this is a form of denial, implying that you dislike the host and are disputing their goodwill.
Don’t Play with Your Chopsticks
Chopsticks should not be used to play drums, tap, twirl, or bang chopsticks together. You wouldn’t do that with forks or spoons, and chopsticks are no exception. Drumming your dish with chopsticks is related to the act of begging.
Don’t Use Chopsticks to Pass Food Bowls
If you are invited to someone’s home for lunch or supper, pass the serving bowls with your hands rather than your chopsticks. Never with chopsticks because it reminds others of a funeral tradition in which cremated bones of a loved one are passed behind family members using chopsticks.
Don’t Poke Your Food
Never, ever use chopsticks to poke food. If you are unsure whether the meal has been sufficiently cooked, ask the individual to offer you a knife. Poking food with chopsticks demonstrates that you are immature and lack fundamental table etiquette.
Avoid Picking up Large and Slippery Food
Picking up a huge piece of food, such as fried chicken or fried fish, and eating it straight is fine, but not if it is slippery. Cut the dish into tiny pieces and eat it using chopsticks. Request a knife to chop up the meal and avoid touching it with your hands whenever feasible. Also, avoid digging through the food to discover your favorite veggie or meat. It creates the impression to other diners that you are offering them rejected food and implicitly disparaging them.
Don’t Stick Your Chopsticks in Your Food
If you no longer want to eat, remove the chopsticks from your meal. Sticking chopsticks vertically is similar to offering incense sticks to the deceased, as Chinese people place incense sticks in rice to pay homage to their departed. It’s also unappealing and can harm anyone who isn’t handing around food. Do not use chopsticks to remove food that has been lodged in your mouth. After dinner, you will be handed toothpicks to use to remove any sticky food. Make sure to keep your mouth covered.
Don’t Hold Your Chopsticks with Your Mouth
Never pass the serving dish or bowl with the chopsticks in your mouth. The same guideline applies to other dining utensils, so observe it here as well. It’s also not safe since someone may fall on you and the chopsticks could knock a couple of teeth out of your mouth.
Avoid Using Mismatched Chopsticks
Chinese chopsticks are 25 cm long, however, with industrialization, new varieties of chopsticks will be found in the nation. If the chopsticks in front of you are of different lengths, get them adjusted. Mismatched chopsticks, according to Chinese superstition, bring disaster. A coffin is made out of three long and two short boards, which is where the traditional concept derives from.