Eating Chinese food with a fork is great if you take it home and plan to treat yourself in front of the TV in your living room. But if you’ve ever been to an elegant restaurant where chopsticks are the norm and forks aren’t even offered as cutlery, you’ll be happy to read and reread this instructional!
Learn the correct grip on the chopsticks and how to guide your fingers to allow the perfect transport of food from the plate to the mouth!
Step 1: Snapping Apart
If you have disposable chopsticks, which are available in almost all Chinese restaurants, you should first separate them, in wishbone style. Remove any chips if the plug-in was not clean …
Step 2: Grasping Stick 1
Picking up only one stick and using the dominant hand (although in the Chinese tradition, even if you are not right-handed, you would still use this hand to eat) place the narrow end as you would with a pencil tip. Adjust the stick so that only one inch from the thicker end protrudes from the area between the index finger and thumb. The lower thumb joint will help stabilize this stick. Now position the narrow end (but not the tip itself) so that it rests slightly inside the ring finger, completely freeing the middle finger and the index finger of the stick.
This stick will be your basic stick and will not move / should not move during food collection
Step 3: Grasping Stick 2
This stick will have a lot of work to do as it should be solely responsible for starting and transporting the food entirely.
With the thicker end aligned with the thicker end of stick 1, peering about an inch between the index and thumb, follow the narrow end so that it passes just below the tip of the thumb and between the middle finger and the index. Get comfortable with this pose because this is the basic way to hold the chopsticks
To move stalk 2 (since stalk 1 never moves) use the upper part of the thumb, but keep the lower part steady as this part holds lever 1. It also uses the index and middle fingers as a lever to push against the thumb to tighten or loosen the grip of the sticks on the food
You will need to synchronize the way your thumb, center and index finger work in unison for the controlled movement of stick 2 when it encounters stick 1.
Step 4: Grabbing a Bite
Practice squeezing and releasing the sticks so that when real food is introduced you don’t get frustrated with being unable to resist anything.
Position the area between the opening of the sticks so that it is wider than the piece of food you want to grab. Then slowly lower and close stick 2 so that you can squeeze and then take the food.
Once you are ready, I recommend that you start taking larger foods, such as shrimp or sushi, and switch to foods such as noodles and rice, as smaller foods require more coordination.