In my country, kids are taught to use chopsticks at the age of 5 or 6. It is expected that primary school aged kids are able to use chopsticks for every type of food, including rice.
I think the main reason is because we have many noodles and rice noodles dishes in Vietnam, so if you don’t know how to use chopsticks, it’s quite difficult to eat outside as you might make a mess using a spoon only. Many restaurants, especially small ones, don’t have forks even if you ask for one.
Similarly in Japan, chopsticks are widely used. All Japanese-style food are served with chopsticks. Japanese people even use chopsticks for their soup (or rather just drink it). However, there are far more manners when using chopsticks in Japan than my country. Let’s have a look at some taboos!
One simple rule, don’t use your chopsticks to do anything else other than pick up and put food into your mouth.
Holding chopsticks correctly
Don’t grip chopsticks or hold one in each hand
Using chopsticks in a correct manner
Don’t stick chopsticks straight up in the rice bowl as it is considered rice for the one who has passed away.
Don’t shake (furiage-bashi), or rub (kosuri-bashi) chopsticks,
Don’t tear food with chopsticks (chigiri-bashi),
Don’t move the plates/ bowls around using chopsticks (yose-bashi),
Don’t browse the food with chopsticks (mayoi-bashi),
Don’t point chopsticks at others
Don’t stab the food using chopsticks even if it is slippery, never stick the chopsticks into the food (sashi-bashi)
Don’t lick (neburi-bashi) or eat things that stuck on your chopstick straight from the chopsticks (mogi-bashi)
Make use of chopsticks holder if available
Don’t cross chopsticks over a plate/ bowl, instead, rest them on the edge of the dish if the holder isn’t given.
Have you ever experienced difficulty while using chopsticks?