Modern Chopsticks Technique

This is the traditional chopsticks technique used widely for thousands of years in China, Japan and Korea.

While China’s economy rises in the 21st century, the Chinese cuisine goes in tendem to the world. Two major obstacles to the widespread of Chinese influence: One to the Mind (Chinese unique ideogram characters); Second to the Stomach (Chopsticks).

Note: The English language influences the Mind globally, while the French cuisine touches the Stomach.

My late mother had passed down to us her ‘Modern’ technique she improvised in order to help her young kids hold chopsticks, more “energy saving” and easier to manoeuvre the chopsticks. In the 1960s 3 generational big family of 30 members, speed to grap food was a daily survival skill on table for a 5-year-old boy. Too slow in your chopsticks, you eat only the chicken head or chicken backside 🙂

See video below:


Notice my 4th (ring) finger is not used, the static supporting role is pushed upward to 3rd (middle) finger which is nearer to the pivot point (the valley base between the thumb and 2nd finger).

Also the movable outer chopstick is held by only 2 fingers instead of 3 (only the thumb and 2nd finger). Its movement gap between the 2 chopsticks is narrower, and there is additional support point (not available in traditional technique) on 2nd finger ‘side wall’, giving more stability.

For kids and foreigners to hold chopsticks, my method is the easier one with the same effectivity to grap any food but less tiring – using only 3 fingers instead of 4, that is 25% (1/4) energy saving !

The traditionalists criticise my technique as wrong, but didn’t Deng Xiaoping, the Modern China’s greatest reformist, say :
“Black cat or white cat, if it can catch mice it is a good cat.”
黑猫白猫, 能抓老鼠的猫就是好猫。

Unless chopsticks and its technique catch up with modern time, it would be difficult to spread to every family in the world like folk and spoon. See how this western lady is struggling with the chopsticks – it is non-trivial with the traditional chopsticks technique:


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