Chopsticks are probably the most versatile Chinese utensil ever. It’s a fork, knife, pair of tongs, a whisk, and a steamer stand (just place them in your wok and they’ll hold your bowl above water) all rolled into one.
But for some, who maybe didn’t grow up using them, they can be a bit of a challenge. So here’s our step-by-step guide:
Step 1: Hold your dominant hand loosely. People who clench their chopsticks usually just end up flinging their food all over the place. Place the first chopstick in the valley between your pointer finger and thumb. Balance it on your ring finger.
Step 2: Place the second chopstick in the valley between your pointer finger and thumb along with the first chopstick, but rest this one on your middle finger instead of your ring finger.
Step 3: Use your thumb, pointer and middle fingers to grasp the second chopstick a bit more tightly.
Step 4: The first chopstick (on the bottom) remains more or less stationary. The index and middle fingers do all the heavy lifting with the second chopstick. Lets have a demonstration. (Our refrigerator was pretty sparse. So it’s not like you need to use chopsticks for this particular task, but it’s going to have to be the grapes).
Using your index and middle fingers to move the top chopstick up and down, open up your chopsticks.
And close them over the food. Remember to keep your hand loose but still maintain good control over that chopstick. You’ll really be tested when picking up heavier pieces of food.
Once you’ve got a good grip, go ahead and pick it up.
And that’s it.
Pretty simple, right?
When buying chopsticks, we prefer the sturdy and traditional bamboo versions. Plastic chopsticks can get a bit slippery and food is harder to handle. They also make more ornate bamboo versions these days, if that’s your fancy. Avoid the flimsy disposable ones.
Take a look at the chopsticks on our Chinese cooking tools page and see our preferred choice of bamboo chopsticks or follow this Amazon link and shop for all kinds of chopsticks!
You’re well on your way to chopstick mastery.