How to Eat With Chopsticks

9 Steps Guide for Holding Chopsticks

Asian cuisine has some of the tastiest dishes in the world. Whether you’re a fan of sashimi and sushi, curry rice, wonton soup, or chow mein, you’re bound to find something to fall in love with. 

This prolific cuisine is known for its diverse use of ingredients and spices. While many Westerners enjoy eating out at a nice Asian restaurant or cooking some Asian food at home, most opt to use forks, knives, and spoons out of sheer comfort. 

For someone who grew up in the United States, it can be hard to manage with chopsticks. That’s right, we know you’ve probably given up after a few tries. Don’t give into any more lame excuses. Today, we’ll breakdown the mystery of eating with chopsticks in 9 simple steps.

1. Gather the Supplies

Before you can start perfecting your use of chopsticks, you have to have the right supplies. 

There’s a good chance that I wouldn’t find a single chopstick in your utensil drawer. 

Don’t worry! That’s all part of the learning process. You’ll need some clean chopsticks and some food with which to use the chopsticks. 

You can purchase chopsticks online or large supermarkets. It’s advisable to use food that is relatively easy to grab. 

Something like sushi or large slices of meat are great starters. Sticky rice works as well.

2. Place the First Chopsticks in Your Dominant Hand

Once you’ve got all of the supplies ready, it’s time to get the placement of the chopsticks right. It’s very difficult to make the correct movements when the chopsticks aren’t placed correctly. 

Start by placing the first chopstick in your dominant hand. It should rest along the ring finger of your writing hand. 

For example, people with a dominant right hand will rest the first chopstick along their right, ring finger. To keep the chopstick from falling off, use your thumb as extra support. 

This chopstick needs to be held relatively sturdy without much movement.

3. Place the Second Chopstick Into Your Dominant Hand with Your Other Hand

Now that you have the first chopstick secured in your dominant hand, it’s time to place the second chopstick into position. 

You have to use your non-dominant hand to put the second chopstick into the right spot in order to keep the first chopstick from moving too much. 

This second chopstick will go in between the forefinger and thumb of your dominant hand.

4. Hold the Second Chopstick In Between Your Pointer Finger and Thumb

This step is all about getting comfortable with the second chopstick in between your pointer finger and thumb. 

This chopstick doesn’t need to be held as tightly as the first chopstick. In fact, it is critical to allow some up and down movement. 

This is the primary motion that will be used when picking up food. Sometimes, it can be difficult to hold the first chopstick still and allow movement for the other. 

Take your time with this step. You should be able to figure out the right amount of pressure for each chopstick within a few minutes.

5. Begin Moving the Second Chopstick in an Up and Down Motion

While you keep the first chopstick in place, start applying pressure with your pointer finger to the second chopstick. 

This should end up pushing the top chopstick down towards the bottom chopstick. This motion will help you pick up the food. 

In order to release the food and move the top chopstick back to the starting position, simply relax your pointer finger. 

Although you may be tempted to go right for the food when the chopsticks are in the right position, it’s important to try some motions without any food. 

This trial and error can help determine that everything is correct. 

If you feel that something is off, revisit steps 1 through 3 to ensure that the chopsticks are being held correctly.

6. Work on Picking Up the Food

Once you’ve mastered the movement of the top chopstick and can consistently get the tip of each chopstick to meet the other, it’s time to start picking up the food. 

Move your dominant hand towards the food, and choose one item to pick up. Release pressure on the top chopstick in order to increase the distance between each chopstick. 

When both chopsticks are around the food you wish to pick up, start pushing down on the top chopstick with your pointer finger. 

Push firmly until you have a solid grip on the food.
Don’t be afraid to push a little further once the chopsticks have touched the food.

7. Move the Food Slowly Towards Your Mouth

When you have the food secured in between the two chopsticks, move the food slowly towards your mouth. 

It’s important to remain steady to keep the food balanced and to keep the pressure on the chopsticks. 

However, you must also resist the urge to squeeze too much. This could cause the chopsticks to twist and drop the food.

8. Eat the Sample Food

Once the food is nearby, move the chopsticks into your mouth until the food is entirely covered. 

At this point, you can use your tongue and teeth to grab the food from the grip of the chopsticks. 

You may also need to release some pressure on the chopsticks to make it easier to grab the food.

9. Practice Consistently

It’s no secret that eating with chopsticks can be complicated. 

Once you understand the general movements and can get a piece of food into your mouth, the challenge isn’t quite over. 

Just like learning any new task or skill, you have to practice consistently until you can use chopsticks as easy as a fork and knife.