If you love Vietnamese food, you’ll need the full experience by eating them with chopsticks. Chopsticks are small tapered sticks used in pairs of equal length as the traditional eating utensils of Vietnam, China, Korea and Japan. Korea is the only one of these chopstick nations that use sleek and thin metal chopsticks. The other three countries use wooden chopsticks that vary in length and thickness.
While Vietnam, China, Japan and Korea had long included chopsticks as part of their traditional eating utensils, the use of chopsticks in a limited sense spread to other Asian countries in recent centuries with the influx of Chinese immigrants in Southeast Asia.
Watching others using chopsticks can make it look so easy, but when you try it, you end up asking for a fork. Here's how to say goodbye to that fork for good and put those chopsticks to work:
1. Pick up the first chopstick with the middle finger and thumb. Stiffen your hand for a firm grip. Have the broad end of the chopstick lay on the part where your thumb and index finger connect. Rest the narrow end on the tip of your ring finger, and hold it in place with the tip of your middle finger. (Hint: try holding it the way you hold a pen to write. It might rest on your ring finger or your middle finger, held in place by your index finger. Place the chopstick then lift your index finger so it can hold the second chopstick)
2. Grip the second chopstick with your index finger. Place your thumb over the second chopstick. Adjust your grip to a more comfortable position. Make sure the narrow tips of the chopsticks are even with each other to help prevent them from crossing or being unable to "pinch" the food.
3. Hold it steady. This chopstick should not move when you attempt to pick up food. Alternatively, hold the first chopstick steady and move the second (top) chopstick by moving the tip of your index finger up and down while the thumb remains relatively steady, acting like a pivot point. The top chopstick remains pressed to the index finger from the tip through the first joint. The movement comes from flexing the joint closest to the knuckle. Straightening your index finger opens the chopsticks and bending it closes them, with perhaps a slight flexing of the thumb to keep the chopsticks lined up with each other. (Note: this alternative is different from the photos in how the top chopstick is held. The movement comes from the top chopstick, not the bottom one, so the top chopstick is held so that it can be moved easily. Use the method that is comfortable for you)
4. Practice opening and closing the chopsticks. Make sure the broad ends of the chopsticks do not make an "X" as this will make it difficult to pick up food.
5. Pick up food at a good angle (try roughly 45 degrees from the plate), slightly lift it up. If it feels unstable, put it down and try again.
There are different etiquettes of using chopsticks. In Vietnam, you should avoid these things below:
1. Avoid sticking your chopsticks into your rice straight down. It's bad manners, because it resembles the incense that family members burn to mourn a dead relative. It also resembles the manner in which rice is symbolically offered to the dead in Vietnam, Japan, Korea and China. When you are finished, you should put the chopsticks over the bowl and lay them flat.
2. It is proper to always use two chopsticks at once, even when using them for stirring.
3. One should not pick up food from the table and place it directly in the mouth. Food must be placed in your own bowl first.
4. Chopsticks should not be placed in the mouth while choosing food.
5. Chopsticks should never be placed in a "V" shape when done eating, it is interpreted as a bad omen.
www.wikihow.com & www.wikipedia.org