Dear ladies, gentlemen and children throughout my journey in China I’ve learned a lot about Chinese etiquette. However, I must say it can be slightly different in various provinces. Today I am sharing with you what I have found about chopsticks. Shall we start now?

Picking up the chopsticks

As a foreigner, I’d pick the chopsticks up as I am picking the cutlery, which is a mistake. 

Take the chopsticks with your thumb, index and middle finger by rotating your hand from left to right.

Holding the chopsticks

It’s said that the more educated and sophisticated the higher you will hold the chopsticks. Therefore, richer urban Chinese will tend to hold them in a ‘V’ shape, while people from rural areas keep them in parallel “II” shape or even crossed “X”.

Chopsticks and making noise

If you knock on the tableware with them you associate that gesture with begging.

If you suck the ends of the chopsticks noisily, people will think of poor breeding.

Chopsticks gesture

As chopsticks are considered as extensions of the fingers, we don’t point with them at other people.

While eating, same as for cutlery, we don’t wave with them.

Elegance & chopsticks

To separate the piece of food you shouldn’t separate them into right and left hand and try to cut. Instead, with controlled pressure on the chopsticks move them apart from each other.

This way is wrong.

If the piece is too big and heavy never stab it with your chopsticks, help yourself with a spoon or cut the piece first.

Serving chopsticks

Avoid eating food directly from the communal bowl, take the food first and place it onto your plate.

Of course, don’t use your personal chopsticks to take the food from the communal dish, use the serving ones – you have to alternate.

In some Asian countries, in the absence of the service chopsticks, people will flip their personal chopsticks to pick up the food and serve themselves and flip back to continue eating. How do you think about that?

Being mindful of other dinner participants

The well-mannered person won’t dig and sort out food in the communal dish in order to find the desired piece. It’s considered as a very rude behaviour.

Passing the food

I’ve seen so many times people taking the food with personal chopsticks and putting the food into someone’s else bowl. The attention can be noble but for hygienic reasons, this should be avoided. Don’t you agree?

Done eating

When you are done, place the chopsticks on top of your plate, bowl or on the rest. Don’t return dirty chopsticks back on the table.

Chopsticks as a wedding gift

In some areas, if you give kuaizi to a married couple it means you are wishing them to have a baby soon because words ‘soon’ (快 kuài) and ‘son(s)’ (子 z ǐ) sounds just like kuaizi (筷子).

Dear all, how do you think about these recommendations? Is something different in your province? Would you like to add something? Please do so, share with us!