How To Eat Rice With Chopsticks

How To Eat Rice With Chopsticks

Lots of people struggle with using chopsticks particularly if they are only used occasionally. But while many of us can struggle through using chopsticks to eat larger food, eating rice with chopsticks can be a real challenge.

How To Eat Rice With Chopsticks

We’re going to look at how to use your chopsticks to eat rice with just a little practice. 

Chopstick Techniques

If you have never used chopsticks before it can be a daunting task to attempt to eat rice with them. So the first thing to do is get practicing your chopstick technique.

You can do this by making some Asian dishes at home to practice with or use rolled up balls of paper. 

Holding Your Chopsticks

The first step is knowing how to hold your chopsticks. Using your dominant hand hold one chopstick with the back end resting on the soft part of your hand between your thumb and index finger. 

The middle of the chopstick should rest on the end of your ring finger. Now close your thumb over the chopstick.

The second chopstick is held like a pen between your thumb and placed between the top knuckle of your middle finger and the tip of your index finger. 

Using Chopsticks

The bottom chopstick remains still at all times and only the top chopstick moves. Adjust the bottom chopstick until it is a comfortable position. The chopsticks should be positioned so that they are on top of each other and not side by side.

Use your thumb, index and middle finger to move the top chopstick when picking up food. You can practice bending and extending your fingers to move the top chopstick. 

When you extend your fingers the chopstick should point upwards and when you bend them it should point down and eventually touch the bottom chopstick. 

Practice Using Your Chopsticks

Once you have mastered how to hold your chopsticks and move the top one you can begin using them to pick up pieces of food.

You should be picking up food by using a pinching motion with the two chopsticks. Never spear the food with them as this is considered rude. 

Larger items are easier to pick up and hold but if you want to learn how to eat rice with chopsticks, begin using them for smaller and smaller food items first. It can take time to get used to the squeezing motion used with chopsticks, but practice will make it easier. 

Learning To Eat Rice With Chopsticks

Learning To Eat Rice With Chopsticks

Once you have learned how to use your chopsticks and are confident eating larger pieces of food with them, you can move on to eating rice. 

Holding Chopsticks To Eat Rice

Rice can be particularly difficult to eat with chopsticks if you are not used to it, so it will take some practice. 

When eating rice, hold your chopsticks sideways, which is different to how you would hold them for eating most other types of food. Take the chopsticks and hold them as you normally would and then turn your hand 90 degrees. 

The chopsticks will now be resting above your hand rather than beside it. However, you will still be able to move the chopsticks together and apart. It is harder for the rice to fall from the chopsticks held horizontally as opposed to vertically. 

Using Chopsticks To Eat Rice

Picking up rice with chopsticks is slightly different to using them with other foods. Rather than merely pinching the rice you use more of a scoop and pinch motion. 

Sticky rice is much easier to eat with chopsticks as it forms clumps which are not unlike other larger foods but softer. To pick up some rice, hold the chopsticks open and then bring them together at the base of a clump of rice and lightly squeeze as you lift it up. 

Scooping and pinching the rice from the bottom makes it easier to grasp without dropping any. The tightly packed rice at the base of the clump holds the rice on top, making your chopsticks into a makeshift spoon. 

Other rice such as long grain rice can be trickier to eat with chopsticks as it is loose and doesn’t bind together like sticky rice. So this will be a case of practicing as much as possible to master eating these types of rice with chopsticks. 

Lift The Bowl

To make the process of eating rice with chopsticks easier, use your free hand to lift the bowl toward you. This has the effect of halving the distance that you need to bring the rice from the bowl to your mouth, making it less likely that you will drop some. 

This is acceptable in many countries and cultures but do not lift the bowl to your mouth and shovel the rice with the chopsticks. This practice is seen as impolite in most Asian countries. 

Chopstick Etiquette

There are other practices that you should be aware of when using chopsticks so that you don’t inadvertently cause offense or embarrassment. 

When eating rice with chopsticks do not place the chopsticks directly into the rice so that they are standing upright. This mimics the incense used in Buddhist funerals and is considered taboo.

Also do not ever place your chopsticks in an X shape in your rice bowl as this is considered a symbol of death in many countries.  

You should also never use your chopsticks to point at dishes on the table or at people, as this is considered impolite. Don’t hover your chopsticks over dishes trying to decide which to choose and never serve yourself from a communal dish with them, use the utensil provided. 

When you have finished eating, lay your chopsticks horizontally across your bowl. If you are just taking a break from eating, put your chopsticks to the right hand side of your plate. 

Final Thoughts

We hope this guide to eating rice with chopsticks has been helpful and that next time you are faced with this situation you will know exactly what to do.

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