How to Use Chopsticks – Become an Expert in 90 Seconds


I once used chopsticks like Papua New Guinea tribesman spear fish. Then I developed a vice-like power technique that often ended with wet seafood catapulting across the table. Both experiences left me with a strong dislike for chopsticks — seriously, why on earth would someone not use a fork?

Then I spent a year abroad in Japan during 1992 and 1993. It was a revelation.

The 90-second video above provides all the basics you need to become a chopstick pro and never drop food again. Several finer points…

1) Never stick your chopsticks straight down into your rice as a place holder. This is considered bad luck or even a harbinger of death, as bowls of rice with chopsticks sticking out of the center are used in some rites of ancestral worship.

2) Never attempt to pass food from chopstick to chopstick.
Bad mojo similar to #2, as this is how unburnt bones are moved to the urn at a cremation.

3) During your practice phase, consider turning the hand and using the chopsticks like a forklift (about 1-1.5″ apart) for larger pieces or wet seafood. Bring your rice bowl closer to the serving dish with your free hand to cut down on distance and potential for splatter disaster. Practice in the beginning on smaller fried items with no liquid beneath them.

4) The technique I explain is common in East Asia (Japan, China, Korea), and there are alternate techniques in South East Asia (Vietnam, for example, where this video was taken). The latter tend to use heavier and longer chopsticks, which are held closer together and even scissored.

5) For those who like fun OCD-like behaviors, getting good as using chopsticks will also improve your pen tricks
(demonstrated below).

Posted on: March 30, 2008.

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57 comments on “How to Use Chopsticks – Become an Expert in 90 Seconds

  1. I carry my own food on flights as I’m celiac and must eat gluten-free food. I pack several slices of G.F. bread or crackers, mild smelling cheese, baggie of cut raw vegetables and some really good chocolate. Fruit is problematic on international flights. With cut-backs in in-flight food service and so many folk on special diets, wait persons and flight attendants are used to those who care their own grub.


  2. I’ve always tried to explain to my friends how to use chopsticks and I’ve always failed.

    Instead of placing the bottom chopstick between the little and ring finger, I place it on my ring finger. I think doing it your way is much easier for someone that is starting to learn.

    I’ll teach it your way from now on and hopefully it’ll work better.


    • Before i coulden’t use chopsticks and it was so difficult but when i read that tutorial as you said, it became easy and i’m able to use it easily. I want to thank you for that..


  3. The way I learned to use them (after I learned the mechanics) was when I watched a movie, I would use chopsticks to eat my popcorn. Works great