How to use chopsticks 101

By: The Woks of Life

Chopsticks are probably the most versatile utensil ever. It's a fork, knife, pair of tongs, a whisk, and a steamer stand (just place them in your wok and they'll hold your bowl above water) all rolled into one.

But for some, who maybe didn't grow up using them, they can be a bit of a challenge. So here's our step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Hold your dominant hand loosely. People who clench their chopsticks usually just end up flinging their food all over the place. Place the first chopstick in the valley between your pointer finger and thumb. Balance it on your ring finger.

Step 2: Place the second chopstick in the valley between your pointer finger and thumb along with the first chopstick, but rest this one on your middle finger instead of your ring finger.

Step 3: Use your thumb, pointer and middle fingers to grasp the second chopstick a bit more tightly.

Step 4: The first chopstick (on the bottom) remains more or less stationary. The index and middle fingers do all the heavy lifting with the second chopstick. Lets have a demonstration. (Our refrigerator was pretty sparse. So it's not like you need to use chopsticks for this particular task, but it's going to have to be the grapes).

Using your index and middle fingers to move the top chopstick up and down, open up your chopsticks.

And close them over the food. Remember to keep your hand loose but still maintain good control over that chopstick. You'll really be tested when picking up heavier pieces of food.

Once you've got a good grip, go ahead and pick it up.

And that's it.

Pretty simple, right?

When buying chopsticks, we prefer the sturdy and traditional bamboo versions. Plastic chopsticks can get a bit slippery and food is harder to handle. They also make more ornate bamboo versions these days, if that's your fancy. Avoid the flimsy disposable ones.

You're well on your way to chopstick mastery.

See the full post and more HERE.

More from The Woks of Life:

Chinese New Year Recipes
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How to use chopsticks 101

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Starter- Homemade Spring Rolls

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Starter- Taro Cake (Wu Tao Gou) 

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Starter- Turnip Cake (Lo Bak Go)

Turnip Cake is another Chinese New Year brunch classic. You’ve probably seen it served up on steaming carts at dim sum restaurants across the country. We pride ourselves on our recipe, because it boasts a healthy turnip flavor (tastes better than it sounds) with plenty of mushrooms, scallion and Chinese sausage peppered throughout.

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Starter- Fried Chinese Spareribs

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Seafood- Steamed Whole Fish

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Meat - Ginger Scallion Oil with Chilies

Ginger Scallion Oil with Chilies is the perfect condiment for Soy Sauce Chicken and Cantonese Roast Pork Belly. Your white rice will taste *significantly* better with its presence!

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Meat - Easy Peking Duck

Until this recipe, Easy Peking Duck seemed more of a cruel oxymoron than recipe title, but believe us when we say that this is pretty much as easy as it gets while preserving authentic flavors. Chinese New Year is the perfect time to give this festive dish a whirl!

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Meat - Steak and Scallion Rice Cake Stir-Fry

Rice cakes are always a much-approved auspicious Chinese New Year food. This saucy version with plenty of juicy slices of steak and caramelized scallions is festive and addictive!

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Meat - Braised Pork Belly with Arrowhead Root

Braised Pork Belly with Arrowhead Root is a traditional and festive Chinese New Year dish that my dad makes sure is on our dinner table. If you can’t find arrowhead root, you can sub in taro or potato.

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Meat - Mei Cai Kou Rou (Steamed Pork Belly with Preserved Mustard Greens)

This is one of my all-time favorite Chinese dishes. And around here, them’s fightin’ words–so you know I mean business. In fact, when I would visit my mom’s aunt’s house around Chinese New Year time, taking home a leftover container of this was a serious and significant highlight of the holiday.

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Vegetables - A Basic Stir-fried Bok Choy Recipe

Kicking off the vegetable portion of the meal is something that Chinese families will invariably include on the dinner table: a simple and healthful side of green, leafy vegetables.

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Vegetables - Braised Wheat Gluten with Mushrooms (Hong Shao Kao Fu) 

This is a Shanghainese favorite that’s healthy, vegan, and surprisingly tantalizing when done right. This is another good contender for a meat-dish-substitute for vegan and vegetarian family and friends!

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Vegetables - Buddha’s Delight (Lo Han Jai)

Buddha’s Delight is an auspicious vegetarian dish my dad has been ringing in the new year with since he was a kid going over to his grandmother’s house. To this day, she still cooks up a big batch of it for the kids and grandkids.

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Vegetables - Pea Tips Stir-fry 

Another super simple veggie option, these pea tips are a bit more decadent (and pricy) than your average bok choy. Chinese New Year is a time to splurge–from new clothes, the best foods, and hong bao envelopes for kids. Spring for the pea tips!

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Noodles & Rice - Sticky rice with Chinese sauce

Sticky rice is one of those dishes that seems elaborate and vaguely intimidating, but it’s easier than expected and tastier too! Chinese sausage and dried shrimp add distinctive yet highly traditional flavors.

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Noodles & Rice - Bian Dou Men Mian (Steamed Noodles and Green Beans)

This was another vital revelation that we probably never would have made without the blog. Pork belly, green beans, chewy noodles, and a delicious soy sauce mixture makes this dish absurdly delicious, and steaming the noodles in the wok saves one more pot from the after-dinner sink!

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Noodles & Rice - Shanghai Fried Noodles 

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One-Pot Meal - Hot Pot 

If you’re looking for some lower impact Chinese New Year dinner options, check out our Hot Pot, always best enjoyed with plenty of family gathered around the table.

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Sweets - Chinese Walnut Cookies

Traditional, not too sweet, and full of nutty flavor, these go perfectly with a cup of tea or coffee after your Chinese New Year feast!

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Sweets - Clementine Cakes 

Okay, so these technically aren’t Chinese, but the star ingredient is the auspicious clementine. If you’re going over to someone’s house for Chinese New Year, bring oranges and a batch of these. It’s considered bad form and inauspicious to show up to someone’s house empty-handed!

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Sweets - Chinese Sesame Peanut Brittle

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Sweets - Chinese Walnut Cookies

Traditional, not too sweet, and full of nutty flavor, these go perfectly with a cup of tea or coffee after your Chinese New Year feast!

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