The 10 Most Important Rules of Good Chopstick Etiquette

...Plus some nuances for cultures around the world

No matter whether eating dim sum in New York or noodles in Beijing, there are just certain things you should not do with your chopsticks if you want to be civilized. Naturally many of these aren't likely acceptable when using a knife and fork either.

Follow these simple rules of chopstick etiquette and good manners and you'll be a well mannered chopstick user wherever you go. And if you need, you can buy all of these unique styles of chopsticks right here at Everything Chopsticks.

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1. Don't leave your chopsticks stuck vertically in your food. That's associated with death.

2. Don't eat directly from serving dishes. Place food first on your plate and eat from there.

3. Don't stick food with your chopsticks. Accept the challenge and grab food instead.

4. Don't play with your chopsticks, rap them on your plate like drumsticks, make noise or wave them in the air.

5. Don't use your personal chopsticks to get food from the serving dish. Use serving chopsticks instead.

6. Don't use your chopsticks to push around dishes on the table.

7. Don't sort through food in the serving dish.

8. Don't place your chopsticks directly on the table. Put them across your dish or on a rest.

9. Don't hold your chopsticks in your mouth with no hands, such as when passing a dish.

10. Don't point your chopsticks at other people around the table.

Okay, now that we have the basics of chopstick etiquette and manners, brush up on some culturally specific nuances.


- It's okay to lift a bowl close to your mouth and push food into your mouth with chopsticks.
- At the table setting, chopsticks should be placed above the plate, parallel to the table, with tips to the left.
- It's rude to rub disposable sticks together. It implies the restaurant gave you cheap chopsticks.
- In a more formal restaurant disposable chopsticks should be inserted back into their wrapper when finished.
- Don't set your chopsticks down crossed. It's another symbol of death.


- It's okay to lift a bowl close to your mouth and push food into your mouth with chopsticks.
- Don't set your chopsticks down pointed at another person at the table.
- Allow elders to be served and begin eating first.


- It's okay to lift a bowl close to your mouth and push food into your mouth with chopsticks.
- It's okay to use chopsticks to cut soft food into smaller portions for children.


- A table setting in Korea will typically have a matching pair of chopsticks and spoon.
- Spoons are used for liquids, chopsticks for solids. Either may be used for eating rice.
- Don't lift a bowl close to your mouth. Lift food to your mouth from the dish on the table.
- At the table setting, chopsticks are placed to the right of the spoon. Placed on the left is done at funerals for the deceased.


- It's okay to lift a bowl close to your mouth and push food into your mouth with chopsticks.
- It's a bad omen to set down your chopsticks in a vee shape when finished eating.


- They generally stopped using chopsticks a hundred years ago.

Chopsticks Etiquette Cup

We have a cute Japanese Etiquette Tea Cup with artwork showing the 10 chopstick etiquette taboos. It's a fun way to show your guests about Japanese chopstick etiquette. See it on

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