About the chopsticks…well, yes. I think it’s safe to say that almost all of us would like to present ourselves as smart and educated citizens of the world in our homeland and abroad, too.  To do that, we sometimes have to overcome difficulties and challenges. For instance, if one travels to Italy, it is common knowledge that spaghetti is to be eaten with a fork AND a spoon, and when in England, one must try black tea with milk in it, however odd that might sound (or taste). And for those who wish to visit an Asian country, a crash course in chopstick usage is in order.

The idea of sticks used as cutlery originates from China; it is noted that in ancient China tinder and firewood  were so rare that they had to be frugal and cook their food as fast as they could. So they chopped the food up to tiny pieces to help the cooking process, and these bits could be easily picked up with two sticks. Chopstick sizes, materials and shapes differ from country to country; in Korea they use metal ones, the Chinese eat with big chopsticks that can be as long as 50 cms, and in Japan they use medium sized (15-20 cm) ones, made of wood or bamboo. (However, they use really long ones for cooking.)

And now…the real deal. Learning to eat with chopsticks calls for a devoted and determined learner, who is not afraid of making mistakes, since it is not easy to acquire the right method that also meets the rules of Japanese etiquette: let’s not forget that manners are very important in Japan! Here are a few items of advice for beginners:

-never ask for a knife and fork in a Japanese restaurant, however tempting that might be; it’s a no-no. Moreover, in Japan it is considered an offense.

-the two chopsticks should be held in one hand always. One of them should be positioned where the thumb and the palm of our hand meet, and the other is to be held with the index finger, the middle finger and the ringfinger, like if we wanted to write with it. The two tips should be aligned.

-the chopsticks should never be stuck into the food or used to point at people or things!

Once we are able to pick up even the tiniest of beans (let’s not forget the fitness aspect: using chopsticks move about 40 muscles…), it is time to immerse in the study of the complex rules of chopstick usage. The rules are many, but it is worth spending time studying them so that we can astonish our friends, relations and last but not least: ourselves.

Sushi Sei, the Japanese restaurant awaits its customers with neat and elegant surroundings in the heart of Óbuda. Taste our traditional and modern Japanese meals made from the best of ingredients and with the highest of expertise! Sushi Sei is the ideal venue for family gatherings, cheering with our friends or business meetings. Book a table now, or ask for  delivery to indulge in your favourite Japanese dishes at home!