Chinese chopsticks are made of fine wood or bamboo, and are about 10 to 11 inches in length for adults. Chopsticks for children are shorter than adults while the chopsticks of the host of a function are the longer, as he has to serve the food on the plates of his guests.
The correct manner of using chopsticks is to hold one stick stationary and straight between the fourth finger and thumb while using the thumb, the first and middle fingers to move the second chopstick so that bite-sized morsel can be captured between the sticks and then steer the sticks to your mouth.
If you are thinking of dining in an elegant Chinese restaurant or want to attend a Chinese function, then keep these tips in mind while eating with chopsticks:
– The most important tip for eating with chopsticks is to be comfortable using them. Choose chopsticks of appropriate weight and material that suits you.
– Make sure to keep your hands firm while using chopsticks.
– If you can’t steer food directly to your mouth, then it is advisable to lean while eating.
– It is preferable to hold the chopsticks near the middle instead of the bottom but again, do what’s easier for you.
– It is a Chinese tradition never cross your chopsticks, whether they are in your hand or placed on the table. However, now-a-days crossed chopsticks are used to signal the end of meals in Chinese restaurants. Place the crossed chopsticks on your bowl to show that you have eaten and are ready to pay the bill. Similarly, the waiter will cross them to show that your bill has been settled.
– Do not make noises with your chopsticks, as it is considered a bad habit.
– Don’t point your chopsticks at anyone and don’t suck the end of your chopsticks.
– If you drop your chopsticks or if your chopsticks are of unequal length, then don’t eat with them. Instead ask for a replacement from the waiter.
– Don’t wave your chopsticks over different dishes to select a dish. First, think about what you want to eat, and then use chopsticks to serve it in your bowl.
– Don’t pull a dish toward yourself using chopsticks.
– Don’t put chopsticks vertically in a dish.
– Make sure that the end of the chopsticks you use to eat food does not touch the table.
– Don’t use your hands for eating anything. Always use chopsticks to eat everything, including rice, soup, noodles, meat, fish, etc.
– To serve dishes, use serving chopsticks, which are placed with every dish. If separate serving chopsticks are not available, then use the opposite end of your own chopsticks.
– To eat meat or fish use your chopsticks to cut bite-sized pieces. If meat is not boneless, then hold the piece of meat in your chopsticks and eat around the bone.
– Don’t leave your chopsticks in your bowl after eating. Instead put your chopsticks across your bowl to show that you have finished your meal.