How to hold and use a pair of chopstick

How to hold and use a pair of chopstick

Holding and eating with a pair of chopsticks

A pair of chopsticks is one of the most versatile food utensils and is mainly used by the Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans. It’s actually two vertical narrow «sticks» which could be made out of wood, bamboo, plastic, melamine or steel of about 6 to 8 inches. Proper holding and maneuvering of the chopsticks will enable most food to be picked-up to be placed into the mouth with ease.

Other than picking up food, when the two chopsticks are placed together, it is also used as a utensil to push food from a bowl into the mouth. This is especially useful for small minute food items like rice or thick liquids like broth or soup. Chopsticks are used with rice bowls and these are usually the two main items required for a simple rice meal.

Meanwhile, a porcelain or plastic soup spoon is added to the required cutlery for a noodles meal. The main reason why a spoon is required is that eating noodles could be quite messy with its sauce splattering all over.

Most oriental food are cut into bite sizes prior to being cooked and served, therefore the use of a pair of chopsticks, bowl and spoon is sufficient for a meal.


Step 1

Holding position

Form a «pistol» shape with your right-hand. If you are left-handed, just mirror image the steps.

Step 2

Placing the first chopstick

Place the middle of the first chopstick, with the sharper point pointing to the left, between the base of the thumb and rest it on three fingers as shown in the image. This first chopstick is the immovable «anchor».

Step 3

Placing the second chopstick

Place the second chopstick in the direction and position similar to the second, between the index finger and the thumb. This second chopstick is to be «maneuvered» to pick-up food. Control the pressure and flexibility of the second chopstick with the index finger and the thumb, and «hold» the food with the first chopstick which is immovable.

Step 4

Eating rice

If eating small items like rice, put both chopsticks together in your right-hand, pick up the rice bowl with your left-hand and place it near the mouth. Use the chopsticks to push food from the bowl into the mouth.

Step 5

Eating noodles

If eating noodles, using the chopsticks, pick-up a mouthful of noodles from the bowl into a porcelain/plastic spoon. Bring the spoon close to the mouth and using the chopsticks pick-up or push the noodles from the spoon into the mouth.

Things Needed
• A pair of chopsticks
• A rice bowl
• A spoon
• Food

Tips & Warnings
• The holding position of a pair of chopsticks is usually in the middle to the higher end, depending on habit. The ability to pick up food does not depend on the holding position.
• The direction and position of the second chopstick have to be “even length”. One chopstick cannot be longer than the other. The sharper ends of both chopsticks are used to pick up food.
• Chopsticks are not used for piercing food or “rolling” noodles, like spaghetti.
• It is fine to pick up the bowl from the table and used it together with the chopstick for efficient eating.
• Use some imagination whether it is better to use a bowl in lieu of a spoon and vice versa. The rice bowl is small enough to be used as a spoon and as such it is fine to drink liquids directly from the bowl.
• The use of a spoon will also enable hot soup noodles to be cooled, by gently blowing on it, before placing noodles into the mouth.
• Overtime adjustments could be made on how a pair of chopsticks are held. Many use the middle finger to either «anchor» or to «maneuver» the chopsticks, depending on which method is more comfortable.


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