Chopsticks were originally from China, and they became popular in Japan and Korea by 500 A.D. Back then, people used chopsticks made from trees and bamboos but nowadays we see many different kinds of them.
Japanese chopsticks are generally shorter than Chinese or Korean chopsticks and we use them when we eat Asian cuisines (and sometimes even when we have food from western countries).
They are hard to use at first but once you get used to them, you will be amazed to know how useful they are.
Here is the easy, 3 steps guide on how to use chopsticks.
3 easy steps to use chopsticks
1.Hold the lower chopstick
Put the lower chopstick under your thumb, resting it on palm.
The end of your lower chopstick should be sticking out about 1 inch.
2.Hold the upper chopstick
Lightly grip the upper chopstick with your thumb, index, and middle fingers just like holding a pencil.
The tips of chopsticks need to be lined up.
3.Move the upper chopstick to pick up food
Lower chopstick remains stationary, and only upper one is moved to pinch and control the food. Be careful not to cross them or force too much.
Etiquette while using chopsticks
Not everyone follow these rules strictly these days, but it is always good to know manners to show your politeness.
Here are 9 things you should avoid doing while using chopsticks in Japan.
Do not stub food with chopsticks.
There is another Sashi Bashi with different writing, “差し箸” ,which is to point someone with your chopsticks. This is also considered rude.
Do not use chopsticks grabbing.
Do not hold your chopsticks in your mouth.
Do not leave chopsticks vertically in the bowl of rice as this is only done at the funeral as an offering to the deceased.
Passing food from one pair of chopsticks to another is rude as this is related to a funeral.
This is done when placing the bone of the deceased in a cinerary urn.
Do not lick or suck on your chopsticks.
Do not use chopsticks to sift through the contents of a dish (or dishes) in search of something. This is considered greedy and rude.
Do not pull a dish using chopsticks.
Do not play with chopsticks like drumming.
It is also important to place chopsticks across your plate or dish after eating. This is the sign to tell that you are done eating and show appreciation to the one(s) who prepared your meal.
Many restaurants and markets in Japan provide you with a pair of wooden chopsticks that need to be broken apart.
They are called waribashi (割り箸). These are disposable ones.
If they are in a plastic bag, be careful when opening it.
There is usually a tiny toothpick with them and you may hurt yourself if you don’t know it!
Enjoy your Asian food with chopsticks!
See you next time,