We all know how to use chopsticks, right? Or do we? Chopsticks are the main eating utensil in Asian culture. They are usually made of bamboo or wood, but there are also hard plastic and metal ones if you prefer those. They’re also popular in the West, where they are used for cooking and crafting.
The Chinese have been using chopsticks for over 2000 years. Being able to use chopsticks takes a bit of practice, but once you get the hang of it, you'll be able to eat like an Asian!
How do you hold chopsticks?
Make sure to hold the chopsticks firmly in your hand so they don’t slip out. When trying to use chopsticks, remember the following: Hold your right hand out in front of you with your palm facing up. Place your left hand under the right one, making sure you keep both hands about four inches apart from each other.
It's best to use your thumb and index fingers when gripping chopsticks. If you're unsure of what to do with the other fingers, try holding them in a loose fist around the handle of each chopstick. This will give you more control over your grip on each stick and make it easier to pick up food from your plate.
First, place your middle finger between the two chopsticks, then move it down until they rest against the ring finger (or pinky). You should now be holding both sticks with only your thumb and index finger! Now that we've got that down, let's look at how we hold our starters.
The simplest way to hold your chopsticks is like a pencil between your thumb, middle finger, and ring finger. Hold the food with your index finger and thumb; do not insert them into hot bowls or touch the edges of plates as they can contaminate your food.
Practice with your hands
The best way to learn how to use chopsticks is by practicing with your hands.
Start by picking up small, easy-to-manage objects with your fingers (e.g., pencils, toothpicks). Once you have mastered this task, try using chopsticks on similarly sized objects like toothpicks or pencils. When you feel comfortable using a set of chopsticks in one hand for these tasks, try using two sets of chopsticks at once—one in each hand.
When you're a beginner, it's important to keep your fingers relaxed and tucked in toward your palm. Use a light grip and focus on controlling the top chopstick - keeping it steady and still. Start by practicing with easy foods that are easy to pick up: grapes, chunks of bread, and small curries
Using chopsticks is not like using a spoon or fork. When you feel confident enough with the basic skills above, move on to larger items like spoons and forks. Again, start slowly and carefully with small items before moving on to more difficult ones such as bowls or cups filled with water and/or food!
Consider using “Training Chopsticks”
If you're a parent, there's a good chance you've had to teach your child how to use chopsticks. My toddler always drops them over the floor. Do your kids also struggle to use chopsticks?
Here are a few tips to get started (they work with adults too):
Put the chopsticks together! To put them together, you can use friction or tape, but you can also glue them together. Place your thumb on one end and place your pointer finger on the other end. Don't wrap your fingers around them!
Don’t use too much pressure with your index finger or thumb on top of the chopstick; rather, hold it lightly and do most of the work with your wrist. Always move the tip of your chopsticks towards yourself before picking up an item.
If you follow these basic tips, I promise you'll be able to use chopsticks like a pro in no time. Now go forth and eat with ease!