Do you know all about the chopsticks that Japanese and other Asian countries use to eat? Do you know the correct way to handle chopsticks? In this article, we will share some tips and rules on how to use chopsticks.
In Asia it is common to use chopstick (箸) to eat certain foods. There are 2 sticks that form a kind of tweezers. In Japan eating with them, don’t it’s just practical, but it is also considered an art.
Knowing a little about customs will help you not to be embarrassed, make friends and close deals. In this article, we will see 15 basic rules that you must remember, so as not to be embarrassed when eating with chopsticks.
In Korean, chopsticks are called Jeotgarak, in Chinese it is called kuàizi, in Thai it is called takiap, in Indonesian it is called sumpit.
How to Hold and Eat Chopsticks
Don’t know how to eat or just how to hold the chopsticks? It’s pretty easy, but it takes a little practice.
Holding Hashi - First the chopstick goes between the thumb and forefinger and rests on the ring finger. Then, with your index finger, middle finger and thumb, hold the top stick like holding a pen. Now just open and close by moving the top stick using your index and middle fingers.
Hold correctly - It is easier said than done. This part takes a long time to master. See how others handle chopsticks, and follow suit, you must be patient. If you really want to learn, you should practice as much as possible. After you get the practice, you will see how super practical they are.
Correct way to hold chopsticks - The correct thing is to hold the chopsticks with your right hand and use your left to lift the bowls of rice and soup to eat. and never take the food in an upright position, but by the sides.
You can practice eating chopsticks just by holding one like a lapis. Below we will leave a video that shows more tips on how to eat with chopsticks and hold it correctly.
Tips when eating with the chopsticks
When saving Hashi. In most restaurants you will be given support to place chopsticks, so just use it. Never, never, place the chopsticks strung vertically on the plate, especially rice, because this is similar to a ceremony performed at funerals in Japan. If you don’t see support, as in the case of disposable chopsticks, o in front of you, with the tip turned to the left.
Do not eat directly from the dishes. It is very common for the Japanese to leave trays full of sushi or other food, for you to take and put on your plate, so never take a food directly from the public tray and eat it, you must put it on your plate before.
Do not dig food. Do not use chopsticks, to dig looking for other foods on the plate, eat normally, taking whatever is within your reach.
Never share food. This is the biggest TABU of the Japanese dinner table, it never passes food to another person directly using chopsticks, because this is similar to a custom at Japanese funerals when the bones are ceremonially cremated. if sharing food, take it directly to the plate. Sometimes a chopstick is left for this.
Don’t mix things up. Avoid starting by eating with chopsticks and then switching to cutlery, and avoid using both at the same time.
Do not cut the food. Most dishes come in the right size to eat, with a single bite. Yes, there are times when it will be necessary to cut large foods, but sushi, and other small things, AVOID!
Don’t lick. Don’t lick the ends of the chopsticks, this is something ugly, and called Neburi bashi.
Ways to eat with chopsticks differ in China and Korea, the rules are totally different. Don’t worry so much, not even the Japanese have completely mastered the art. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, but do your best.
What you shouldn’t do with chopsticks
Do not navigate with the chopsticks. Have decided before picking up your food, don’t fly with chopsticks on top of the dishes, avoid filling the dish all at once, avoid choosing. This is considered greed (sashi bashi).
Hashi are not Toys. Never point chopsticks when talking to someone. Never rub the chopsticks together several times after separating it, because it is a sign that you think the chopsticks are cheap and bad.
Do not cross the Hashi. When storing the chopsticks next to the plate, avoid leaving them crossed, as it also resembles funeral.
Don’t stir the chopsticks in your soup. When you do this, it looks like you are trying to clean them. This is sometimes tempting because miso soup remains suspended and does not dissolve. Resist the temptation!
Do not move chopsticks or bowls. Sometimes you can have this crazy idea, don't be ashamed.
Do not invent to take your chopsticks. Have own chopstick, all decorated and inside a box, kept in the sushi-ya favorite is a strange Brazilian custom, probably introduced to retain customers, but without any connection with Japanese tradition. Also, as far as I know, no one takes their own fork and knife to a restaurant ...
In general, the most important rules are those that remind people of Japanese funerals. Remember that chopsticks are not just two sticks to eat, but are deeply rooted in Japanese culture.
origin and history - How did Hashi come about?
The origin of these chopsticks is not known for certain. The Chinese were responsible for popularizing this practice throughout Asia, but there are much older reports involving Israel, the people of Scythians who invaded Canaan.
Chopsticks have also been used in Uighur civilizations, from the Mongolian steppes since the 6th century. Hashi was used much earlier in the year 2,500 years before Christ for grilling meats.
Just 1500 years after being simple sticks used to turn meat, chopsticks began to be used for common foods. It is believed that they were quite useful to avoid getting your hands dirty with sauces that were quite common in cooking.
Confucius was also a major influencer who said that vegetarians could not use knives on the table. As he was a vegetarian and a famous philosopher at the time, this had a lot of influence.
Saibashi - another type of chopstick
Some are unaware, but there are also other Japanese chopsticks called saibashi [菜箸] that are specific for use in the kitchen, allowing the handling of large and hot foods.
It usually has more than 30 centimeters than a regular chopstick, in addition to being joined by a cord at the ends to facilitate the grip. Something similar happens with ordinary chopsticks, where people put a staple for the inexperienced.
Most saibashi are made of bamboo or metal. Metal ones are used to handle things that are frying and are called kinzokuseinohashi [金属製の箸].
Why do the Japanese use Hashi?
There are numerous advantages to using Japanese chopsticks. First, they are much more hygienic than a fork or spoon. It can also be produced from several different materials such as bamboo, metal, ivory and even plastic.
Japanese people also find it much easier to use chopsticks to consume things like pasta and sushi that is part of Japanese cuisine. Even Japanese rice, it is much easier to shave the bowl with chopsticks than with a fork.
In another article that we will recommend at the end, you will see that Japanese chopsticks are actually much more practical than other cutlery. It is much quicker and easier to eat with chopsticks on most foods.
I hope you enjoyed this article, that it can help you understand the whole culture of chopsticks in Japan, its rules of etiquette and the correct way to hold and use. If you liked the article, share and leave your comments.
Read our other article that talks about the practicality of chopsticks and answers the following question: Do Japanese people eat only with chopsticks? Just click here to read!