Hashi – Tips and Rules on how to use and hold chopsticks

[ADS] Advertisement

Do you know all about the chopsticks that the Japanese and other Asian countries use to eat? Do you know the correct way to hold chopsticks? In this article, we are going to share some tips and rules on how to use chopsticks.

In Asia it is common to use Hashi (箸) to eat certain foods. There are 2 chopsticks that form a kind of tweezers. In Japan, eating with them is not only practical, it is also considered an art.

Knowing a little about customs will help you not to embarrass yourself, make friends and close deals. In this article we will see 15 Basic Rules that you should remember, so you don't feel embarrassed when eating with chopsticks.

Chopsticks are called jeotgarak in Korean, kuàizi in Chinese, takiap in Thai, and sumpit in Indonesian.

We also recommend reading:

How to hold and eat with chopsticks

Don't know how to eat or just how to hold Hashi? It's pretty easy, but it takes a little practice.

holding the hashi – First the bottom stick passes between the thumb and forefinger and rests on the ring finger. Then with your index, middle and thumb, hold the top stick like you hold a pen. Now just open and close by moving the top stick using your index and middle fingers.

Hold correctly – It's easier said than done. This part takes a long time to master. See how others hold the chopsticks, and follow suit, you must be patient. If you really want to learn, you should practice as much as possible. Once you get the hang of it, you'll see how super practical they are.

Correct way to hold chopsticks – The correct thing is to hold the chopsticks with the right hand and use the left to lift the rice and soup bowls to eat. And never pick up the food in an upright position, but from the sides.

You can practice eating with Hashi just by holding one like a pencil. Below we will leave a video that shows more tips on how to eat with Hashi and hold it correctly.

Tips when eating with THE CHOPPERS

When storing the Hashi. In most restaurants you will be given a stand to put the chopsticks in, so just use it. Never, ever put chopsticks vertically on the plate, especially on rice, because this is similar to a ceremony held at funerals in Japan. If you don't see a support, as in the case of disposable chopsticks, when you're not using the chopsticks, place it in front of you, with the end facing left.

Do not eat directly from the plates. It is very common for the Japanese to leave trays full of sushi or other food for you to pick up and put on your plate, so never take food directly from the public tray and eat it, you must put it on your plate first.

Don't dig up food. Don't use chopsticks, to dig for other foods on the plate, eat normally, taking what you can.

Hashi - tips and rules - how to use and hold chopsticks

Never share food. This is the biggest taboo on the Japanese dinner table, never pass food to another person directly using chopsticks, because this is similar to a custom at Japanese funerals when bones are ceremoniously cremated. If sharing food, take it directly to the plate. Sometimes a chopstick is left for this purpose.

Don't mix things up. Avoid starting eating with chopsticks and then switching to cutlery, and also avoid using both at the same time.

Don't cut the food. Most dishes come in the right size to eat, with a single mouthful. Yes, there will be occasions when you need to cut out large foods, but sushi, and other small things, avoid it!

Hashi - tips and rules - how to use and hold chopsticks

Don't lick. Don't lick the ends of Hashi, that's something ugly, and called Neburi bashi.

Ways of eating with Hashi are different in China and Korea, the rules are totally different. Don't worry too much, not even the Japanese have fully mastered the art. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, but do your best.

What not to do with chopsticks

Do not browse with chopsticks. Make a decision before taking your food, don't be flying with chopsticks on top of the plates, avoid filling your plate all at once, avoid choosing. This is considered greed (sashi bashi).

Hashi - tips and rules - how to use and hold chopsticks

Hashi are not Toys. Never point your chopsticks when talking to someone. Never rub the chopsticks together several times after separating it, because it is a sign that you think chopsticks are cheap and bad.

Don't cross the Hashi. When storing the chopsticks next to the plate, avoid leaving them crossed, because it also resembles a funeral.

Don't Stir Hashi into 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 plates or bowls with chopsticks. Sometimes you can have this crazy idea, don't be ashamed.

Hashi - tips and rules - how to use and hold chopsticks

Don't think of taking your chopsticks – Having your own chopsticks, all decorated and inside a box, kept in your favorite sushi-ya is a strange Brazilian custom, probably introduced to retain customers, but without any link with Japanese tradition. Also, as far as I know, no one takes their own knife and fork to a restaurant…

In general, the most important rules are the ones 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 sure. The Chinese were responsible for popularizing this practice throughout Asia, but there are much older reports involving Israel, the Scythian people who invaded Canaan.

Hashi - tips and rules - how to use and hold chopsticks

Chopsticks were also used in Uyghur civilizations from the Mongolian steppes since the 6th century. Hashi is believed to have been used much earlier in the year 2500 BC to grill meats over coals.

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 big influencer who claimed that vegetarians could not use knives at the table. As he was a vegetarian and a famous philosopher of the time, this had a lot of influence.

Saibashi – another type of chopsticks

Some are unaware, but there are also other Japanese chopsticks called Saibashi [菜箸] specific for use in the kitchen, allowing the handling of large and hot foods.

Hashi - tips and rules - how to use and hold chopsticks

It is usually more than 30 centimeters longer than a common chopstick, in addition to being joined by a cord at the ends to facilitate the grip. Something similar happens with regular chopsticks, where people put a staple for the inexperienced.

Most sabershi are made of bamboo or metal. Metal ones are used to manipulate things that are frying, 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 many different materials such as bamboo, metal, ivory and even plastic.

The Japanese also find it much easier to use chopsticks to consume things like noodles and sushi that are part of Japanese cuisine. Even Japanese rice is much easier to scrape the bowl with chopsticks than with a fork.

In another article that we will recommend at the end, you will see that, in fact, Japanese chopsticks are much more practical than other cutlery. It's much quicker and easier to eat with chopsticks in 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 it. If you liked the article, share it and leave your comments.

Read too: Do Japanese eat only with Hashi (chopsticks)?

Read more articles from our website

Thanks for reading! But we would be happy if you take a look at other articles below: