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China / Having a meal

How to use Chopsticks?

Do you want to learn to use chopsticks? When having a meal in China, it’s important to use the chopsticks correctly. Checkout the great video below to learn the basics. Of course, you won’t be able to use chopsticks right away. This requires practice. If you want to show off some skills in Asia, you’ll have to practice first at home. Below we also have some important Chinese etiquettes to share, which may have some overlap with other asian cultures.

Chopstick Etiquettes

playing with chop sticks

Do not use them as a fork, and don’t stick both chopsticks in your meal! Chinese believe in the after life and by sticking the chopsticks in the meal you are inviting the spirits to eat it. Especially do try not to place your chopsticks straight up in your bowl. By placing your chopsticks like this you will remind your host of joint chopsticks sticks which is connected with dead and funerals.

stick chopsticks in bowl

A very common scene on the round table where Chinese people get together to have meal is people will pick up food and put it to your plate with their own chopsticks. Western people might find it hard to accept concerning the public health, but such behavior expresses the hospitality and kindness that you should not deny it.

chinese tea

Don’t strike the edge of your bowl with your chopsticks and think it sounds funny. It is considered rude and disrespectful. The tradition can trace back to ancient times and it is considered as a beggar’s behavior.

If You’re Not Able To Use Chopsticks, Don’t

If you have difficulties using chopsticks, feel free to ask for knives and forks. There’s really no shame if you simply can’t. Your host will understand, and it won’t be considered rude at all. They’ll be happy to just see you try.

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Active traveller with a love for Asian food and Japanese anime.