How to Use Chopsticks

Learning to use chopsticks is much like learning how to ride your bike for the first time. At first you won’t succeed, but with regular practice you will be able to pick up even the tiniest morsels of food. I’m not Asian, nor was I an expert until I moved over to Asia and I was essentially forced to acquire the skills of eating Asian food with two thin sharp sticks.

Have you ever eaten a really good meal only to be unsatisfied that the experience was over so quickly? This is because you weren’t able to slowly enjoy all the tasty flavors of Asian cooking. Using chopsticks may seem pointless if you live in a western country, especially when you’re offered the big fork and spoon at all the restaurants. Chopsticks deliver food in small quantities allowing your pallet to absorb the flavors bit by bit, whereas a fork is more like shoveling food into your mouth for sustenance. I assume you don’t go out to eat at a nice Asian restaurant for simply for sustenance, so why not learn to use chopsticks and allow yourself to savor your meal?

The Traditional Method

This is the traditional way to hold chopsticks properly although it may prove to be quite difficult for beginners and even for Asians who are of younger generation.

Stick #1

How to Hold Chopsticks 1

Chopsticks are traditionally held with the top of one stick resting in the web of your thumb and index finger and the bottom of the stick extending through to rest on the top knuckle on your ring finger. Seems easy right? Just wait…

Stick #2

How to Hold Chopsticks #2

The second chop stick is traditionally held latitudinal between your index and middle finger, all while pressing the stick to the top knuckle of your index finger with your thumb.

How to Hold Chopsticks 3

A Culture Divided

Many young Asians now-a-days do not hold chopsticks correctly and there have been many adaptations as to the traditional method. More recently people have learned to hold chopsticks in a variety of ways, all of which are modernly acceptable in Asia. With culture changing all around the world it is becoming harder and harder to find an Asian who holds chopsticks in the traditional sense.

There is No Right Way to Hold Chopsticks

Many older Asians might disagree, but truly you need to find a method that works for you. Our hands are genetically made in all different shapes and sizes so finding the correct way to eat food with chopsticks is sometimes like chasing a dream that will never materialize. Train yourself to use chopsticks in the best way that works for you and don’t worry about correct positioning. I myself don’t use the traditional method.

An Untraditional Method

I use chopsticks very effectively, but my positioning is a little off from the customary method. Maybe this method will be effective for you.

Stick #1

How to use chopsticks 4


Instead of resting the first stick on the top knuckle of your ring finger, try using the top of your actual ring finger.  Place the most pressure just underneath the nail of your ring finger.

 Stick #2

How to hold chopsticks 5

Instead of trying to place pressure on the index top knuckle with your thumb, try this. Put your thumb and index fingers together while placing the pressure on the nail of your middle finger.

How to Hold Chopsticks 6

Your Method

Using chopsticks involves self-discovery, you can try the methods I’ve provided, but if all fails then try your own method. The important thing is to not give up because it is so easy to switch over to the old shovel in mouth way. Using chopsticks not only allows you to enjoy your food, but also may help you digest your food in a healthier manner. When we use a spoon in fork we tend to eat too much, at a pace that is way too fast, and swallow food in bigger chunks which is bad for your overall health. Asian cooking is truely a delicacy and mastering the use of chopsticks will help you truely appreciate the food.