A New Chopsticks Tutorial
Mind Your Manners
There are endless YouTube videos, online tutorials, and takeout container illustrations instructing one how to physically eat with chopsticks, so let’s go a little deeper—Q. Edward Wang, the author of Chopsticks, offers the following tips on dining with chopsticks in polite company.
1) Chopsticks may not be used to make noise (especially in the mouth), to draw attention, or to gesticulate. Playing with chopsticks is considered bad-mannered, even vulgar.
2) Chopsticks may not be used to dig around or mine for food in the dishes, no matter how badly one would like to find a particular morsel.
3) Chopsticks may not be used to move bowls or plates or to toy with one’s food.
4) Chopsticks may not be used to impale food, save in rare instances. Exceptions include tearing large food items asunder, such as fish, vegetables, and kimchi. In informal use, small, difficult-to-pick-up items such as cherry tomatoes or fishballs may be lanced.
5) Chopsticks may not be left standing vertically in a bowl of rice or other food while dining. Any pair of stick-like objects pointed upward resembles the incense sticks that some Asians use as offerings to deceased family members; certain funerary rites designate offerings of food to the dead using standing chopsticks.
Check back tomorrow when you’re ready to put your newly-learned chopsticks etiquette to the test—we’re doling out a recipe for Chinese hot pot.