It’s really awkward while having a great chow down at a Chinese joint and the bloke next to you is using his chopsticks with ninja-type skills. I mean really, who can finish that bowl of rice minus a fork without spilling it all and hiding it under the Lazy Susan.
Well Menulog has supposedly come to the rescue to help with the fine art of ‘Chopstick-ery’. But before we get to the tricks of the trade let’s show this ancient tradition some respect.
The origins start with a legend that involves one of the greats, Chinese philosopher Confucius, he believed having sharp objects at the dinner table could trigger someone. Sharp knives etc were a bad idea back in the day it seems, they took the game food fight way to far. Hence the emergence of the relatively harmless wooden eating sticks.
Below is Menulog’s Guide to Chopstick Etiquette verbatim. I shan’t be adding my own insights because I’m the guy who sweeps aside dropped food under the aforementioned Lazy Susan. But For a step-by-step guide click here.
- Ignore your mum’s advice Despite your mum always nagging you about ‘shovelling food’ into your mouth, it’s actually great etiquette to eat rice by holding the bowl up to your face, using chopsticks to push the grains directly into your mouth. In fact, it’s considered poor manners to eat from a rice or soup bowl without lifting from the table.
- Sharing is caring. Show your love towards a family member by transferring a choice cut of meat or seafood from a common dish to their bowl. But beware, never pass food directly from one pair of chopsticks to another. This motion is extremely taboo and simulates a cultural funeral rite.
- Need a half-time break? If you need to take a break, rest chopsticks on the side of your bowl, or on a stand, if it’s provided.
- Finally finished? Rest chopsticks on top of the bowl to indicate you’ve finished your meal.
- Ever been told not to point? Don’t rest chopsticks on the edge of your bowl, pointing towards others seated at the table. To avoid being deemed a rude diner, angle them slightly.
- Tap Tap Tap. Don’t hit your chopsticks on the edge of your bowl or use them as drumsticks. Like, ever.
- No stab wounds, please. Never spear food with a chopstick! If you’re having trouble picking up your food, a spoon is your plan B.
- Don’t dig! Don’t use chopsticks to dig around in a bowl of food.
- Beware bad omens. And finally, avoid leaving chopsticks vertically in a bowl of rice at all costs. This symbolises death – not ideal during light dinnertime conversation!