How to Observe Proper Chopstick Etiquette in Asian Culture

chopstick manners asian culture

Spearing food with one chopstick (or both) is another violation of good manners. Since it’s a no-no, refrain from doing so.

Using chopsticks is much easier than it looks. Even if you feel self-conscious about looking silly, you don’t have to worry about that. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to perform more impressive maneuvers such as trading bits of food directly onto a dining companion’s set.

General Pointers 

Aside from manipulating the chopsticks, there are a few other things you should know about using them. For instance, don’t stick them straight up in the food. It’s associated with death by virtue of how it resembles incense lit up for the deceased. Plus, it brings bad luck, so just don’t do it. Eating from the serving dishes is frowned upon as well. Take the portion you want and lay it on your plate before chowing down. Spearing food with one chopstick (or both) is another violation of good manners. Since it’s a no-no, refrain from doing so. 

What to Do in Japan 

In Japan, it’s acceptable to put the bowl closer to your mouth. Then you can use the chopsticks to move the food into your mouth. Don’t rub your pair of chopsticks together; it’s perceived as an insult because it implies that the restaurant gave you poor-quality utensils. If you dine at a formal establishment, put your disposable chopsticks back into their wrapper when you’ve finished. 

In China and Taiwan

Whether you’ve spent time in Beijing, Taipei, or anywhere else within these two countries, you’ll know all about proper chopstick do-and-don’ts.  You may hold your bowl close to your mouth and scoop food from the bowl into your mouth. When you need to put the chopsticks down, don’t point them at anyone else sitting around the table with you. Allow anyone older than you to start eating. Since meals in China, Taiwan, and immigrant households abroad share the food family-style, you won’t always need individual meals. In Taiwan, it’s considered good-form to cut softer food into smaller pieces for any children with you.

In Korea

Table settings in Korea usually include chopsticks and spoons. Spoons are meant for liquids and sticks for solids. Feel free to use either one for rice. Unlike in its neighboring countries, raising the bowl to your mouth is considered rude. Leave the food on the dish and lift it up to your mouth instead. 

In Vietnam and Thailand

Once you’ve sat down for a spectacular meal in Vietnam, you can also use your chopsticks to pull food out of your bowl once it’s closer to your face. However, putting your chopsticks down in a V-shape is bad-form. Thinking about visiting Thailand before you come back to America? Keep in mind that chopsticks aren’t used there at all these days. 

Get All Your Asian Groceries at Lotte Plaza Market

Lotte Plaza Market is your one-stop-shop for all of your Korean and Asian grocery needs. With more than 10 Maryland and Virginia locations, this growing market is continually expanding and opening new markets to better serve our customers. Since we opened in 1976, our goal has always been to provide the best customer service and groceries to our customers. For answers to all of your questions, please email us at

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 11th, 2021 at . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Lotte Plaza
5821 Riverdale Rd. Riverdale, MD 20737
Phone: 301-699-7508