Chinese Chopstick Etiquette

When you come to China, even if you know what kung fu is, you still need to know what chopsticks are and how to use them. Chopsticks were invented long before kung fu.

This section is formatted as a list because it is more straightforward. Ok, let's get started.

  • Chinese chopsticks are longer than those used in Korea and Japan.
  • The host will have the longest chopsticks because he reaches for foods and place it on each guest's plate. Children will use chopsticks that are smaller and shorter, in keeping with their social status at the time.
  • Chopsticks should never stand upright or vertical in your bowl. This gesture is used to honor deceased family members. When not using your chopsticks, place them on the chopsticks holder.
  • Do not stab food with the chopsticks like a spear. Note that when you see kung fu movies with actors fighting with chopsticks you will see if you look closely that the chopsticks never go through the food but only around it.
chopstick on top
  • Never use chopsticks to dig for the food you want. You should always pick something closest to you, because whatever you touch is yours.
  • Do not lick or touch your lip with the chopsticks while eating, because most of the time you will be eating a "family style" meal. This means that everyone will be eating from the same bowl.
  • Do not make noise with the chopsticks. Playing with chopsticks is considered bad manners and it decreases your status during a party or banquet. Again, it only works when Jackie Chan does it in a movie (hehe).
  • When you see that your chopsticks are not the same length, don't eat with them. Instead, you should ask the waiter/waitress to exchange them for you.
  • There are some who say that if you drop your chopsticks while eating, then it will bring you bad luck. And there are some others that say that if you do so, you will be poor. Either way, there is nothing good that will come out of it. However, this is a very old tradition and not many people pay attention to it. Don't worry if you drop your chopsticks. In our modern times, all you need to do is ask for a replacement. Myself, I drop chopsticks all the time. (Wait, is that why I'm still poor???)
  • When you are finish with your meal, you can put the chopsticks across your bowl. This will signal that you are done.

If you've never seen or used a pair of chopstick, then you should grab a pair of chopsticks (5 piece Crane Chopstick Set w/ Rests BLK) for yourself and practice using them. From where I am and wherever you are, thank you for visit!

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