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Tips on How to use Chinese Chopsticks

Viewed 2015 times 2012-11-6 13:23 | learn, Chinese, online

When talking about China, quite many foreigners will have their first impressions related to chopsticks –筷子(kuài zǐ). Thus chopsticks can be the first lesson that a foreigner should learn about China, eapecially for the businessmen who are ready to do business in China, it is quite beneficial to immerse themselves in Chinese culture. Together with other business dining etiquettes, like table and seating arrangement etiquette and toasting etiquette, chopsticks are among the most important elements in Chinese table manners.
 
Introduction to chopsticks:
Like westerners use knives and forks for dinner, Chinese people use chopsticks – 筷子(kuài zǐ) to pick up food from their bowls and dishes. Chopsticks were originated from ancient China, however, some Asian countries like Janpan, Korea and Vietnam also regard chopsticks as their main eating utensils. Chinese people prefer to the chopsticks with blunt ends, while Janpanese style is of pointed ends.
 
Chopsticks can be made from a variety of materials, like wood, bambooes, plastics, stainless steel, ivory and jade. And most commonly used ones in Chinese daily life are wood and bamboo chopsticks, with plastic ones not preferable, for its short duration and vulnerability to resist heat. Besides, disposable chopsticks - 一次性筷子(yí cì xìng kuài zǐ) are widely used in China and Janpan, which cause lots of environmental issues. Fortunately, Chinese are paying close attention on this problem.
 
How to use chopsticks:
As a tradition, Chinese people prefer to cook foods in small pieces, so that it is very convenient to use chopsticks to grasp food from the dishes. That also explains why westerners are accustomed to use forks and knives to eat beefs and porks.

As for how to use chopsticks correctly, there is one important tip should bear in mind - the two lower ends must be even, that is, one must not protrude over the other.
1. The lower chopstick is stationary, and rests at the base of the thumb, and between the little finger and ring finger.
2. The second chopstick is held like a pencil, using the tips of the thumb, index finger, and middle finger.
3. Move the second chopstick only when you pick up food

Chinese chopsticks etiquette:
1. It is normal to hold the rice bowl (饭碗 fàn wǎn )—rice in China is rarely served on a plate—up to one's mouth and use chopsticks to push or shovel the rice directly into the mouth.

2. It is very impolite to tap one’s chopsticks on the edge of rice bowl, which symbolizes the “begger” is trying to attract people’s attention by making this kind of noise.
 
3. As one rests his chopsticks or talking during dinner, it is very annoying to point the chopsticks towards others seated at the table.
 
4. One of the worst dining etiquettes is to stick one’s chopsticks into a bowl of rice, because it looks like burning joss sticks (烧香shāo xiāng) to the dead.
 
5. As a tradition, everyone will use their own chopsticks to take food from the dishes. But today, in some formal occassions, especially for business dinner, serving chopsticks (公筷 gōng kuài) are advocated. Take foods from the dishes with the serving chopsticks, and then return them to the dishes after one has served oneself.
 
6. When seated for a meal, it is common custom to allow elders to take up their chopsticks before anyone else.
 
7. One should not 'dig' or 'search' through one's food for something in particular. This is sometimes known as "digging one's grave" or "grave-digging" and is extremely poor form.

8. Do not suck on the tip of chopsticks.
 
(Source from Master Chinese)

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Reply Report youcoyouco 2012-11-28 16:40
How to use Chinese chopsticks?

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