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.


  1. Eric
    August 29, 2006

    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. Harris
    August 29, 2006

    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. Kitten Wrangler
    August 31, 2006

    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. sue
    August 31, 2006

    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

  5. JoJo
    February 14, 2008

    Just came across this. I wrote about chop­sticks on my blog http://www.jojoinparadise.blogspot.com


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *