How to Hold Chopsticks?

Handling chopsticks properly is one of the essential parts of different cultures like china, japan, Korea, etc. One of the main ways to show politeness is by holding chopsticks correctly. Poor dining manners can make you and the people around you feel uneasy, so it’s best to polish your chopstick-holding skills and be ready to dine in all situations, from casual to formal. When you first hold chopsticks, you may need to adjust them a little to feel comfortable. And remember that practice makes you perfect, so try picking up small items like nuts or beans at home.

Hold Chopsticks
The standard method for holding and using chopsticks is to have the bottom one between your thumb and index finger while moving the top chopstick up and down like a lever. This levering action helps you to grab, grip, and ultimately transport food into your waiting mouth.

Quick summary:

  • Hold the bottom chopstick between your thumb and ring finger.
  • Then hold the top chopstick between your thumb, index, and middle fingers.
  • Move the top chopstick only.

Gather your supplies

  1. A pair of clean chopsticks is better than wood or bamboo chopsticks. Plastic chopsticks are more slippery and difficult to hold.
  2. Test food to eat by choosing the right chopstick.

Hold the chopsticks in your dominant hand

  • Allow the chopstick to lay on your ring finger.
  • Wrap the top portion of your middle finger around the chopstick.
  • Place your thumb onto the chopstick to give it added support.

Use your non-dominant hand to place the other chopstick into your dominant hand.

Place the second chopstick between the thumb, forefinger, or pointer finger.

Now pick up the other chopstick and place it on top, firmly between the tips of your thumb, index, and middle fingers, while curling the index and middle fingers.

Note: Children often find it easier to hold chopsticks nearer the bottom instead of in the middle.

Hold the chopstick between your thumb and pointer finger

You should be able to move this one in an up-and-down motion.

As you keep the bottom chopstick firmly, begin pushing it down with your pointer finger to have the chopstick move downwards. This is how you will clamp down on food.

Slowly carry food toward your mouth.

Keep your hand as steady as possible as you bring the food you are now carrying toward your mouth.

Hold Chopsticks

Points to keep in mind while using chopsticks

1) Do not rub your chopsticks together

Rubbing your chopsticks together is considered an insult in Japan. Bringing your chopsticks together implies you’re trying to eliminate splinters because they’re cheap.

2) Do not stick chopsticks into your food

If you stick your chopsticks upright in your food in any formation, it shows a lack of respect, as it’s a way of showing grief at funerals.

3) Do not pass food to another pair of chopsticks

It can be seen as rude to pass food from your chopsticks to someone else’s. Put the food down on a plate or bowl so the other person can pick it up.

4) Do not use one chopstick

Don’t stab your food with one chopstick. Use two chopsticks at all times.

5) Do not leave your chopsticks crossed on your bowl or the table

Place your chopsticks neatly beside your plate or bowl if you need to put them down.

6) Do not point with your chopsticks

Pointing with your chopsticks is considered very rude, much like pointing at someone with your finger in the UK.

7) Do not take food from a sharing place using the chopsticks you’ve eaten with

Find another pair of chopsticks to take food from a sharing plate. If not, use the clean, fat end of your chopsticks.

8) Do not wave your chopsticks over dishes

Avoid hovering your chopsticks in the air. It shows your impolite behavior.


  • Watch out if are using smooth and round chopsticks made from plastic or metal. They are prone to roll, slide, and cross over one another.

  • It’s a great idea to educate yourself with etiquettes and taboos related to chopsticks before planning to visit a place where they are the utensil of choice.
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