Guide for choosing and using Japanese Chopsticks
A trip to Asia coming up? Sharpen your chopsticks! Whether it's the technique for handling them or the little mistakes you can make without knowing it, here are all our tips.
To fully enjoy the Japanese culinary art, the use of chopsticks remains a key step.
Chinese and Japanese chopsticks: what are the differences?
Chopsticks, also called hashi in Japanese, are used throughout Asia. They appeared around the beginning of the thirteenth century in China and quickly became popular throughout Asia. Its shape was adapted to the culture of each country.
Chinese chopsticks are round and usually less worked than Japanese chopsticks. They are mainly made of wood but you can also get them in plastic or bamboo for the nobler versions.
Japanese chopsticks are different. They are more elaborate, often decorated and lacquered. They are available in different sizes to fit women's hands for example. They end with a thin pointed tip. They have a more slender design.
How to choose your chopsticks ?
It's very simple, take the model that you like the most. Especially if you plan to use them often. Instant Japan offers you a large choice of products so you might as well take advantage of it!
Made by specialists, our chopsticks have been designed to last over time. Quality is at the heart of our manufacturing process.
The grip of the Japanese chopsticks
First, pick up your chopsticks the right way around. Chopsticks usually have a square end and a rounded (or pointed) end, which will allow you to catch the food.
There is not only one correct way to handle chopsticks, but several. Nevertheless, we will introduce you to the most traditional way of holding and using chopsticks below.
- Place the lower (immobile) stick, with its end, food side, protruding 5 to 15cm, on the 4th (and 5th) and held on its top by the middle of the thumb.
- Hold the upper (movable) wand in the same way as a writing pen, but with the tip extending further from your fingertips (the same length as the lower wand).
- Catch the food by moving the upper rod and blocking the lower rod.
- To separate a piece of food into two parts, you need to apply controlled pressure to the chopsticks as you pull them apart. This action takes a lot of practice.
Rules of etiquette in the use of chopsticks
Remember that Japan is famous for its traditions. The use of Japanese chopsticks (hashi) also has a lot of conventions. In this article we will give you a summary of the rules concerning hashi:
- It is considered bad manners to stick chopsticks on the table to attract the attention of the waiter.
- It is frowned upon to use chopsticks aimlessly on a table or during a meal. First, select a piece, then grab it with the hashi.
- You take food from above, not dig into a bowl looking for a better piece. And if you have touched the food, pick it up and eat it.
- Chopsticks can be used to "break"/"cut" food, but never to pierce it.
- Do not shake the chopsticks to cool your meal.
- Don't "lean your face" on the table or bring the bowl too close to your face.
- Do not lick the chopsticks and keep them in your mouth.
- After using the chopsticks, place them on the left side with joined tips.
- Never pass food to another person using chopsticks.
- Never throw the hashi and do not point it to the sides.
- Never pull a bowl with your chopsticks. You must keep a plate in your hands.
- Before asking for additional dishes, the chopsticks must be placed on the table.
- You should not clench your chopsticks in your fist: this gesture is perceived as a threat to the Japanese.
- You should never stick your chopsticks in a bowl of rice. This practice is reserved for funeral rites.
- Do not put sticks on the cup either, as there is a special holder.
Now you know how to eat with chopsticks, whether at home or in a restaurant. If you eat with Japanese people, it would be good to respect the etiquette.
Visit our Japanese tableware collection, these traditional products are not only beautiful, they are also very practical!