How To Eat Rice With Chopsticks? A Very Simple Guide

Chopsticks are used commonly in many regions of the world, especially in Asia. People in Asian countries such as China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and so on use chopsticks in daily meals. They use chopsticks to eat vegetables, meat, rice, etc. Many people from western cultures may have difficulty using chopsticks, especially using chopsticks to eat rice as rice is in small grains, people just can grab some and it falls. No matter which Asian countries you happen to visit, learning how to eat rice with chopsticks will ensure you enjoying Asian meals in a polite fashion. The method of eating rice with chopsticks introduced below is essential for you as you may be invited to eat out in Asian restaurants by your business partners, your colleagues, or your relatives. You may never want to lose your face!

Easy Guide On How To Eat Rice With Chopsticks

1. Basic Chopsticks Etiquette

Before learning how to eat rice with chopsticks, knowing some chopsticks etiquettes will make your learning process easier and more fun.

how to eat rice with chopsticks

Some chopsticks manners you need to know (Source: onassisstyle.info)

1.1. Dos

• Lay down your chopsticks to the right of your plate or on the chopsticks rest next to you when you are taking a break.
• In Japan, the elderly and seniors lift their chopsticks first, then your turn.
• After finishing your meal, place your chopsticks in a horizontal direction on your empty bowl

1.2. Don’ts

• Do not put up your chopsticks vertically in your bowl or place the chopsticks in an “X” position as it’s used for the deceased or a symbol of death in many Asian countries.
• Do not use chopsticks to point at others or at the dishes on the table as it is considered impolite.
• Do not make noise with chopsticks by clicking or clanging them together.
• Do not use chopsticks to hover over in the dishes in search of your favorite foods.

2. General Method Of Using Chopsticks

how to eat rice with chopsticks

A detailed guide of using chopsticks (Source: kawakawalearningstudio.com)

Step 1: Place the first chopstick under your thumb
Step 2: Put the second chopstick between your index finger and your thumb, next to the first chopstick.
The end of your index finger will play a role as a firm grip, and you should leave just a narrow space of the alley between your pointer finger and your thumb.
Besides, make sure that both chopsticks are on the same level as each other.
Step 3: Place your middle finger under your set of chopsticks.
The middle finger supports the set of chopsticks.
Step 4: Try to open and close 2 chopsticks and practice grabbing some foods.

3. How To Eat Rice With Chopsticks?

In this section, you will learn how to eat rice with chopsticks in two ways. Each is used in specific situations.

3.1. Clump Method

This method may be suitable for eating sticky rice, as you can use chopsticks to grab some grains of rice at a time.
To eat rice with this method, you just need to use chopsticks step by step mentioned above.
First, pick up your set of chopsticks and hold them sideways between your thumb and your index finger. The end of your index finger is the grip so hold chopsticks a bit tightly to have a firm grip.
Next, try to open your chopsticks a little bit to grasp some rice.
Using this method, you can easily grasp clumps from the bowl without dropping any grain of rice.
This method, obviously, is used for rice that is clumped together. The more tightly-clumped rice together, the less possibility you drop grains of rice.

how to eat rice with chopsticks

An illustration of the Clump Method of eating rice with chopsticks. (Source: topsimages.com)

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Actually, there is another familiar method that is you will lift the small balls of rice on the tip of your set of chopsticks. This method also works on sticky rice which is very popular in Japan.

3.2. Shovel Method

This method is a very common way of eating rice with chopsticks. However, it is just used in some informal situations as it is considered impolite in some cultures.

To use this method, you lift your bowl of rice up in front of your face, near your mouth. Next, use your set of chopsticks to transfer the rice into your mouth.

how to eat rice with chopsticks

The Shovel Method of eating rice with chopsticks (Source: amazon.com)

In many formal situations such as a meeting with your business partner, it is rude to drive rice directly from the bowl into your mouth. Besides, it is highly likely that you can drop some grains of rice on the table. If so, you may find yourself in a very awkward situation.

This method, of course, is very appropriate when the rice is not prepared sticky. It is easy to use, especially in case you are not too tactful to use chopsticks.


So how do you eat rice with chopsticks after reading this article? Do you feel easier to use chopsticks when eating rice? Have you gained insight into chopsticks etiquette, general methods of using chopsticks and how to eat rice with chopsticks as well? If you still wanna know more about ways of using chopsticks, check out this video:

We hope you will leave good impressions when having lunch or dinner with your Asian partners or friends.

About Haruto Suzuki

Haruto Suzuki is a senior food and drinks blogger at Question Japan. He has a background in F&B industry and also experience of running his own Japanese restaurant in Tokyo for over 10 years. Therefore, he has a great knowledge of Japanese cuisine. So if you want to discover Japan through its unique traditional cuisine, Haruto Suzuki’s blog will be a great source of information for you.