Sushi Etiquette 101: How to Use Chopsticks

This is PART 4 of a 5-part series on Sushi Etiquette


For a lot of people, this is the most nerve-wrecking part of having Eastern Asian cuisine: How to use chopsticks.  Thankfully, it’s actually not that hard to do, and the internet is on your side.  The image below is a fool-proof guide to using chopsticks like a boss. 

How to Use Chopsticks


But it’s not enough that you learn just how to pick up food with chopsticks.  Much like in Western cultures, there are certain rules or etiquette to follow in using these utensils:


Rule #1: Don’t rub your chopsticks

While rubbing the chopsticks together is an actual practice to sand out splinters, it might be a bit offensive to do that in a high end sushi bar. It’s like the equivalent of wiping or polishing your utensils in a 5 star restaurant. If they’re charging  you much  higher than your typical fast-food or takeout sushi, you can expect that they will deliver quality products to the  tiniest detail (i.e. the chopsticks). If they don’t, then it might not be as high end as you think.


Rule #2: Don’t use the right end of your chopsticks when taking food from a communal platter

If you’re going to take sushi or any other food from a communal platter, and there are no serving utensils provided, use the blunt end of your chopsticks.  If you think about it, it’s not proper to use the spoon or fork you placed in your mouth to get a second serving from communal platters, right?  The same goes for chopsticks.  Probably safer not to share germs.


Rule #3: Don’t pass food to someone’s mouth

Although this is sometimes acceptable with children, it’s typically bad manners to pass sushi or any other food using your chopsticks to other people’s mouths.  If you must pass food to other people, pass it onto their plates.


Rule #4: No pointing

Do not point at anyone or anything using your chopsticks. You know those teenagers who point their chopsticks to the camera and post on Twitter with the hastag “#soasian”. That, don’t do that. It is not proper, nor is it cute.


Rule #5: Don’t spear your food

No. There is no situation where skewering your food with chopsticks is proper. Just, NO.


Rule#6: Use the chopstick rest

When you’re not eating, place the chopsticks on the chopstick rest or holder it came with, parallel to you.  If you weren’t provided with a chopstick rest, you can make your own using the paper holder it comes with.  Here’s an easy guide on how to make a chopstick rest


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