The Restaurant Etiquette Rule You Should Follow After Using Chopsticks

Some of us are better at using chopsticks to eat our food than others are. If you're someone who uses chopsticks when dining in restaurants, though, you should be aware that there's more than just a right and wrong way to use this utensil. There's also important etiquette that you should follow. Tthis etiquette isn't always about how you eat with your chopsticks; it's also about what you do when you aren't using them. 

When you put your chopsticks down after using them, where you put them matters. Omakase Table chef, Leonard Yu, told Reader's Digest, "You want to keep your food on the plate and avoid making a mess on the table." No matter what utensil you're using, it's best to avoid making a mess if you're eating in a restaurant or at someone else's house. In the case of chopsticks, though, how you avoid creating a mess is important and the main goal is never laying them down on your table. 

What you should do with your chopsticks when you're not eating

There are a couple of easy ways to keep your chopsticks off of the table. Which one you should choose depends on what kind of chopsticks you're using. Restaurants will often give you disposable chopsticks. In this case, you should actually put them back in their paper wrapper when you're finished and fold the top to close it as this minimizes mess. If you have reusable chopsticks, you can place them on your plate when you're finished or put them on a chopstick holder if there is one. You'll often find these at sushi bars positioned right above your plate. Just make sure the chopsticks aren't dripping soy sauce onto the table if you leave them there. 

There are other right and wrong ways to use chopsticks that have nothing to do with eating or picking up your food. Additionally, there are some impolite things that you may be doing without even noticing. You shouldn't rub your chopsticks together since it might give those around you the idea that you think the chopsticks are low quality. Additionally, Nakato Restaurant owner, Sachi Nakato Takahara, advises, "Do not use your chopsticks as a bridge between a plate and the counter or tabletop" (via Reader's Digest.) This actually has a name in Japanese; "watashi bashi" and it's best to avoid this simple gesture in honor of politeness.