The do’s and don’ts of using chopsticks

27 Dec 2017 in Food Culture

You may be a whiz with chopsticks, but do you know chopsticks etiquette? Make sure you’re not offending anyone by consulting our guide!

chopsticks

In our contest this month, you can win your own chopsticks – also available at the HOSHINOYA Tokyo boutique. But do you know how to use them properly and politely? Check out our do’s and don’ts of eating with chopsticks.

DO

DO hold your chopsticks about a third of the way from the top.

Noriyuki Hamada

Gripping them too low down (towards the pointy end) is frowned upon.

DO rest your chopsticks on the chopstick rest (hashioki) when you’re not using them.

Japanese culture for food

No hashioki? Simply fold over the paper sleeve they came in and use it as a rest!


DON’T

DON’T stick your chopsticks upright in rice. It’s a practice used at Japanese funerals, while crossing your chopsticks on the table symbolizes death.

Typical japanese menu

Transferring food from your chopsticks to someone else’s is another no-no, as this is how bones are passed during funeral rites. All these acts will conjure up images of death, so avoid them at all costs!

DON’T use your chopsticks to tap out music on the crockery.

Gastronomic Japanese cuisine

This one has nothing to do with death; it’s just plain rude!

DON’T impale food with your chopsticks.

Japanese rice menu

Sure, certain food can be tricky to eat without a fork – boiled egg or fish fillet, anyone? – but skewering should be a last resort.

DON’T lick food off your chopsticks.

Sometimes rice can get stuck on the tip, and it’s tempting to lick it off. But it’s also impolite.

Soy in asiatic cuisine

Instead, try dipping the chopsticks in soy sauce or miso soup to loosen the rice.

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