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How do you use chopsticks?

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If you could love to know how to correctly use chopsticks, but are too embarrassed to ask any friends for a lesson, here’s help!


How to use chopsticks

Chopsticks are actually surprisingly easy to use, once you get the traditional fork and knife mindset out of your head.

There’s a video below to help you, but here are some super-simplified instructions:

  1. Hold your dominant hand, as though you are going to shake hands with someone.
  2. Place one chopstick all the way down in the crook of your thumb, resting it on the palm.
  3. Hold the second stick between your thumb and forefinger (like you would a pen)
  4. Bend your ring finger and little finger, and tuck the ring finger under the lower chopstick.
  5. Put your middle finger under the top stick.
  6. Firmly hold the bottom chopstick still and move just the upper chopstick to help grasp the food.

How to use chopsticks: A diagram with 6 steps

How to use chopsticks: A diagram with 6 steps
Diagram by Alhovik/Deposit Photos

How to hold chopsticks

chopsticks in a hand
Photo by gresei/Envato

How to eat noodles with chopsticks

tonkotsu ramen noodles with chaashu pork
Photo by topntp26/Freepik

Beginner-level help with your ‘stix

If this doesn’t make sense to your brain, hands, or something in between, take heart. You can get “training wheels” versions to help you get the hang of the whole chopstick thing.

Below you can see how many restaurants prepare chopsticks for kids — as well as for adult chopstick newbies. That paper is the folded wrapper that previously held the chopsticks, and, with the help of a rubber band, it creates a little lever.

Photo by mattruffino via Twenty20
Photo by mattruffino via Twenty20

Here are a few that you can buy to use at restaurants or to practice at home, including some obviously child-friendly versions.


Bring your own to reduce & reuse

An estimated 80 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks are used and thrown away each year, which is not just wasteful, but also creates a huge disposal problem, too.

So once you get used to the whole chopstick thing, why not buy your own? You can shop at various places online — including Asian Food Grocer and Amazon — or see if your favorite Asian restaurant offers them for sale.

How-to video

Now, as promised, a video to show you how to hold chopsticks. Have some sushi or a poke bowl handy to make the lesson delicious.