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How to Follow Chopstick Etiquette

Avoid embarrassing mistakes by practicing proper chopstick etiquette – here's how.


  • Step 1: Don't rub Don't rub your chopsticks together, unless they are disposable and you can see splinters. Doing this with quality chopsticks insults the host by indicating that you think the chopsticks are cheap.
  • Step 2: Refrain from play Refrain from using your chopsticks for anything other than eating. Don't roll them on the table like drumsticks or use them to stir your food.
  • Step 3: Don't stand them up Don't stick your chopsticks upright in your rice. Buddhists do this only when making a solemn offering to the dead at a temple.
  • TIP: Place the pointed ends of your chopsticks on a chopstick rest when one is offered – it's the most polite way to set down your chopsticks.
  • Step 4: Never spear food Never use a chopstick to spear food.
  • Step 5: Use serving utensils Always use serving utensils to take food from a communal plate instead of using your chopsticks.
  • TIP: Reverse your chopsticks to grasp food from a communal plate with the unused ends if serving utensils are absent.
  • Step 6: Don't act overly hungry Don't suck on your chopsticks.
  • Step 7: Be discreet Don't point at people or things with your chopsticks –it's impolite to point.
  • FACT: Confucius preferred that people eat with chopsticks instead of knives to avoid associating meals with the slaughterhouse.

You Will Need

  • Chopsticks
  • Serving utensils
  • Social tact

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