[Cheemchi Academy] Chopsticks Lesson 2.3 : Chinese etiquette

The summer vacation is (almost) over! Schools are starting their lessons again, so we also start our lessons ! Here one about the Chinese chopsticks etiquette.

China is one of the traditional chopstick cultures, along with Japan and Korea. If you want more information about proper chopstick etiquette, go to the Japanese etiquette lesson. There is one major difference between the Chinese chopstick and the Japanese chopstick. Chinese chopsticks are usually round unlike the square-sided Japanese kind. Also they don’t come attached , so you don’t have to snap them apart like Japanese ones. 

Like the other etiquette ( the proper chopstick etiquette) it’s not allowed to wave with your chopsticks around over different dishes trying to select what you want, don’t stick the chopstick ends into the food like a spear and don’t use your chopsticks to move the bowl or plate nearer to you.


Chinese chopsticks are rarely presented in paper wrappers, so unless you have little ceramic chopstick rests, you need to rest the “mouth” end of your chopsticks alongside the plate, the idea also being that the food end of the chopsticks should never touch the table. If you cannot master chopsticks, it’s acceptable in the major cities to ask for Western cutlery.

Sauce may be mixed with the rice, and the main dish may be eaten with the rice. You are expected to hold the rice bowl by your mouth, take a bit of food and sauce from the plate below, hold it over the rice bowl, and shovel it all in together. In some regions in China it’s normal to throw the stuff you don’t eat, like bones and the fish bones,  on the table or on the ground. Also it is normal to slurp, burp and talk with food in your mouth. This show respect and you will show that the meal is good.

Because the banquet is a communal affair, with enormous numbers of dishes set out for everyone to enjoy, each dish usually comes with its own set of serving chopsticks. These are used by everyone, one person at a time, to serve themselves or their neighbors. Never keep the serving chopsticks after using them. But sometimes the dishes are presented without serving chopsticks. Serve yourself with your own chopsticks. As China has modernized a trend has developed of “reversing” the ends of your chopsticks to take food from the serving plate if serving chopsticks are unavailable. It’s tricky, but considerate. It goes like this: Hold your chopsticks by the pointy end and pick up food from the main service with the “blunt” end, then place the food on your plate. After that, place the chopsticks down on their rests. When you’re ready to eat from your own plate, pick up the chopsticks so that the “food” end is ready, and eat as you normally would.



Written by Charlotte


Korea & Japan Lover. Princess of the internetshops, waiting for a crown ( and prince charming)

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