I Can’t Use Chopsticks

Came across this t-shirt at Thread­less a cou­ple of days ago and it made me laugh because, well, I can’t use chop­sticks!

Every time we go to an Asian restau­rant, we always have to ask for a fork and a spoon. Most of the time, they think the fork and spoon are for Troy since I’m the Asian among us and he’s the white guy. Sil­ly gen­er­al­i­sa­tion, if you ask me. Not all Asians can use chop­sticks. Or at least I don’t think so.

I could say that I can’t use chop­sticks because in Indone­sia, we eat with a spoons, or spoon and fork in more for­mal set­tings. But Troy grew up eat­ing with fork and knife and yet he can use chop­sticks like a pro, so my argu­ment wouldn’t be valid. 

I think I’ll just say that I can’t use chop­sticks because I’m clum­sy, and that it will be bet­ter for my san­i­ty, faster, and less food wast­ed if I just use forks and spoons to eat my meals. And yes, I’ve tried using chop­sticks before. It just didn’t work. Just ask Troy. :)

How­ev­er, if you have any sim­ple tips and tricks on using chop­sticks that you think I could use, feel free to share! I’d love to hear it.

5 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I’m Eurasian but can use chop­sticks — have been doing so for about 60 years. A sug­ges­tion, ask for Japan­ese chop­sticks- the ones with points- and stab your food. As for rice, it’s in a bowl and you can lift the bowl to your mouth and shov­el it in; it is per­mit­ted for men any­way. With noo­dles , once you get them too your mouth you suck and mer­ly use the chop­sticks to guide.

  2. I am not Asian, but I use chop­sticks all the time, espe­cial­ly for pas­ta. It’s the best thing for eat­ing pas­ta, much bet­ter than fork & spoon.
    As for help­ful hints, the only thing I can say is to hold them at the end, not the mid­dle as most begin­ners do.
    There’s always this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chopsticks#How_to_use
    Maybe it will be help­ful.
    Good luck in any event.

  3. The title of this post caught my atten­tion — I have a friend with Viet­namese par­ents, who got so fed up with always being offered chop­sticks at Chi­nese restau­rants, that she start­ed a zine to detail exact­ly how ‘Asian’ she wasn’t. She called her zine… ‘I Can’t Use Chop­sticks’.
    I, on the oth­er hand can. Mudah s’kali, deh!

  4. Hi Fir­da–
    Cau­casian here–one who grew up in Japan. :) And I’ve suc­cess­ful­ly taught my DH to use chop­sticks (O-hashi!) and am teach­ing our 4 y/o son to do so. Seriously–the best way to do it that I’ve found is to hold the top chop­stick like a pen­cil (as if you’d be writing–wherever it’s com­fort­able on your fin­gers) and brace the bot­tom one sim­i­lar­ly, but under­neath the top one. The top one will then move up & down under the con­trol of your index fin­ger. It tru­ly sounds hard­er than it is, but if you think of the bot­tom one as immove­able, it might help. I’ve also pur­chased some ‘chop­stick train­ers’ for our son (they prop­er­ly posi­tion the o-hashi and make them easy to hold and pinch for grab­bing food) at Asian Food Gro­cer . com . Very help­ful stuff (and I don’t own or work for the com­pa­ny) and inex­pen­sive, to boot. :)
    The oth­er tips about shov­el­ing and guid­ing are true–also accept­able in Japan­ese cul­ture. :)
    Hope this helps you out! :D

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