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How Can I use Chopsticks?

Chopsticks have been the traditional eating utensils of many Asian countries for hundreds of years.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 September 2014
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Learning how to use chopsticks is something that many people aspire to but never get around to accomplishing. Still, mastering chopsticks can make eating Chinese, Thai, or other types of Asian cuisine more of an experience. Many people make the process of learning to use chopsticks more difficult than it really is. Here are a few tips to help you begin the process of learning to use these essential Asian utensils.

Begin the process by positioning one chopstick in your hand. The stick should be held in between the thumb and index finger. To achieve easy movement, make sure the thumb and index finger are meeting at the crook of the index finger, and the chopstick is pressed in between at roughly the top third of the utensil. The remainder of the stick should rest across the ring finger.

To position the second chopstick, follow a procedure that is similar to holding a pen or pencil. The middle finger serves to support the body of the second stick, while the broad end of the device rests on the tip of the thumb. Make sure you become comfortable with aligning the sticks in your hard. Before you can use chopsticks effectively, this position must become as familiar as holding a fork or spoon.

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Once you know how to hold this Asian utensil, it is time to practice how to use chopsticks during a meal. Many people make the mistake of attempting to move both sticks in a manner that is somewhat like working scissors. Instead, hold the first chopstick more or less in position. Use the second chopstick to open and close the space between the sharp ends of the sticks by moving your index and middle finger. To use chopsticks, the tips must touch on either side of the food you wish to consume, effectively pinching the sticks around the food.

When you first begin to use chopsticks, focus on larger chunks of food rather than beginning with dishes such as rice. You will find it is easier to manipulate the chopsticks into position around the pieces of vegetables or bite sized pieces of chicken or beef. As you become more proficient in the process, you can use chopsticks to go after smaller items on your plate.

Far too many people try to use chopsticks and give up in frustration after a few moments. This is especially true if you are in a restaurant and don’t want people to see you struggle with the utensil. Purchase a cheap pair of chopsticks and practice at home. This allows you to learn how to use chopsticks without an audience, and will likely encourage you to keep trying until eating with the sticks becomes second nature.

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