How to Handle Chopsticks?

Chopsticks are the eating utensil of choice in many Asian countries such as China, Korea, Vietnam Taiwan and Japan.

It is thought chopsticks originated almost four thousand years ago in China, sometime before the Shang Dynasty. Although some sources put the date as early as nine thousand years ago before the Xia Dynasty.

The word chopsticks seem to have come from English seamen visiting China during trading around 300 years ago.





The Chinese word for chopsticks is Kuaizi. Chinese chopsticks tend to be quite long at around 27cm.


The Japanese word is "Hashi"  or “Otemono”. Cooking chopsticks are known as Saibashi. When used for deep frying, the Japanese use 30-40cm long chopsticks known as "Riyoribashi. 


In Korean they are known as Jeotgarak. Traditionally they were made of bronze or silver, but more commonly today Korean chopsticks are made from stainles steel. The tend to have rectangular cross section and around 24-25cm in length.


In Vientnam they are called dua. Vietnamese chopsticks are often bore blunt at the end than Japanese. There is also a special type of chopstick for serving rice known as dua cà that are large and flat.


Europe has widely adopted the Chinese style of chopstick as well as, in some places, Japanese Chopsticks.  Children can use training chopsticks like "Cleverstix" to help them learn the correct way if they are not a native chopstick user.



The first thing to remember is practice makes perfect. In Japan, it is good manners to use chopsticks. However, learning how to use chopsticks does take some practice. Here we have a few tips to familiarise you with the use of chopsticks.

  • Rest on chopstick in between the thumb and forefinger of your favoured hand. Keep it steady with the tip of your ring finger.


  • Hold the second chopstick like you would a pen and grip firmly with your thumb, index and middle fingers.


  • The secret to using chopstick is to keep the bottom chopstick still and just move the top only.


  • Keep the thumb still but move the index and middle finger to open and close the chopsticks. Now try and pick something up, start with solid foods like sushi and dimsums.




  • Never stick your chopsticks in your food.
  • Never use the chopsticks to skewer sushi or any food!
  • Do not pass pieces of food from chopstick to chopstick.
  • It is not polite to point at people with chopsticks or to wave them around in the air.
  • After the meal, place the chopsticks in the position that you found them in.


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