Posts Tagged ‘chopsticks’

This is not a primer on how to use chopsticks, but on how not to make a faux pas while dining Japanese.  The Japanese are very polite and careful not to offend, so you might want to do the same.  For details on using chopsticks, look here.

At most Japanese restaurants in North America, the chopsticks are disposable and come in little paper sleeves.  Break them apart so you can use them.  Now, a comment on rubbing your chopsticks against each other.  I cringe whenever I see some restaurant patron vigorously stroking them against each other as if they were sharpening knives.  This can be done if the chopsticks are not smooth and have some slivers, but you should be discreet.  And if the chopsticks are higher quality, for instance made of bamboo, the sticks are only joined at the top and the working parts are already smooth.  So only rub if necessary!

More chopstick etiquette:

  • don’t pass food to another diner, chopstick to chopstick.
  • don’t stick your chopsticks into a dish of food, just lay them across the top of one of your dishes pointed left (if you’re right-handed) when you’re not using them

That warm cloth you are given at the beginning?  Use it for your hands and fingers, not your face.

You can pick up sushi with your fingers.  In fact, this is how they were designed to be eaten.  Your hands are clean now, right?

In most western Japanese restaurants, you can get some sort of combination meal.  It usually consists of miso soup (miso shiru), and various other dishes.  When the Japanese eat, you get all the dishes at once, including the miso shiru.  The soup is not considered an appetizer, but an integral part of the meal.  So if you want to impress the waitress, tell her you’d like everything at once.


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