You saw a woman of Chinese ethnicity at the book club. Your eyes met and there was definite smiling. You took it as a signal and talked to her. Both of you hit it off quite well. You asked her out for dinner. She said yes and you went home happy as a clam. You made dinner reservations at a Chinese restaurant, with an intention to impress her and get that second date out of her. The time to impress her had come. You were a perfect gentleman as you pulled out her chair and asked her to sit down. You both had a nice wonderful conversation and got to know about each other very well. It was all going on well until the food arrived. Your eyes went to the chopsticks and remembered you can’t even hold them in one hand, let alone use them. You gulped and loosen up your tie. You said to yourself – “at a Chinese restaurant with a majority of people from Chinese ethnicity and a date with a woman who’s also Chinese and you don’t know how to use chopsticks… wonderful!” You asked for a fork from the waiter and he gave you a cold look. You still tried to make an effort and took those chopsticks into your hand. Your date had already started eating while you struggled to come to grips with the sticks. Staring and pointing had now begun from within crowd. You started waving those chopsticks above your food and some people lost their appetite as they looked at you in disgust. Your date had stopped midway eating her food when you made a snarky comment “what’s the deal with these damn sticks!” She got up to leave while you fumbled with the sticks and dropped them in your food. Half of the restaurant people had gasped and cried in unison. You felt ashamed and disgusted with yourself. You went home and tried calling your date but she didn’t pick up. Why? Not only did you not know how to hold the chopsticks, but you paid no heeds towards basic Chinese eating etiquettes as well. Read this article to know about how to hold chopsticks for the next time you go to a Chinese restaurant and don’t want your date to head home half way.
Chopsticks Holding Tips
- Place first chopstick in the base (joint) of the thumb and index finger and rest its middle on top of your ring finger.
- Hold the second chopstick between the tips of your index finger and middle finger. Steady its upper half against the base (joint) of the index finger, and use the tip of the thumb to keep it fixed. Don’t grab at the sticks or you’ll drop them one by one.
- Keep the tips of the chopsticks parallel.
- To pick up your food, move only the chopstick from point no. 2. Keep the chopstick from point no.1 stationary.
- Hold the food firmly as you lift it up to eat.
Chopstick Etiquettes While Eating
- Never wave the chopsticks above the food as it’s considered ill mannered.
- Don’t leave your chopsticks in the bowl of rice when you’re not eating as it is considered an ancestral offering and is frowned upon.
- Don’t poke at the food with the chopsticks.
- Don’t play with the chopsticks making them look like surgical tools or any other play joke.
- Don’t suck on the tips of the chopsticks.
- Don’t use them to pull a bowl forward. Use your other hand for the purpose.
Holding chopsticks is an art for sure, but it’s not an art you can’t learn. Have Chinese food the way it’s meant to be – with chopsticks, and make yourself a part of their culture!