Chopstick Etiquette: A Guide for Dining at a Pan Asian Restaurant

Dining at a Pan Asian restaurant can be a delightful experience, filled with a variety of flavours and dishes from across Asia. One key aspect of enjoying this culinary adventure is mastering the art of using chopsticks. Not only is it a practical skill, but it also shows respect for the cultural practices of the cuisine you are enjoying. Here’s a comprehensive guide to chopstick etiquette to ensure you dine with grace and respect.

Cultural Chopstick Etiquette

1. Taking food from communal dishes.

When dining in a group, often dishes will be served in crockery placed in the centre of the table for guests to help themselves. It is customary that you transfer your food from the communal dish to your own bowl or plate before eating. You must also refrain from using the same chopsticks you are eating with to transfer food from the sharing bowls. Instead, use the serving cutlery provided, a clean pair of chopsticks or the thick end of your own chopsticks that hasn’t touched your mouth. This has the purpose of maintaining hygiene and shows consideration for your companions.

2. Use your chopstick holder.

It is important that when your chopsticks aren’t in use, you do not place them on the tabletop, instead use the holder provided. If there is no holder provided, balance them on your dish in a parallel position (do not cross them). This helps to keep the chopsticks balanced and prevents them from rolling, hence avoiding sticky food stains. You should do this whenever you aren’t eating to prevent you from pointing or gesturing with your chopsticks whilst talking; this can be seen as impolite and aggressive.

3. Don’t use your chopsticks to move bowls around.

It is considered impolite to use your chopsticks to move bowls around the table, especially if you do so to drag a bowl closer to you; an action called yose-bashi, making you appear selfish. You should also only pick up bowls with a free hand – do not use the hand holding your chopsticks.

4. Do not place your chopsticks upright in your rice.

This is a significant faux pas which resembles a ceremony performed at Japanese funerals; this act is seen as bringing bad luck and is offensive in many Asian cultures. If you are not currently using your chopsticks, refer back to point 2.

5. Don’t hover.

Although it may seem a natural response when deciding what you would like to eat next, you should not hover your chopsticks over the dishes. This is usually viewed as a sign of greediness. You should make a choice before you pick up your chopsticks to maintain a seamless and respectful dining experience.

6. Don’t pass food from chopstick to chopstick.

This is one of the biggest taboos you will find among Japanese chopstick etiquette. During a funeral ceremony, cremated bones will be passed along loved ones with chopsticks before being laid to rest in the urn. Doing this action with food is viewed as disrespectful to the deceased. Hence, when passing food to , you should transfer food to a plate before handing this to the desired recipient to pick up themselves.

7. Don’t cross chopsticks.

Ensure that you do not cross your chopsticks in an ‘x’ shape as this is another action associated with funeral ceremonies. Always place them parallel to one another when placing them down.

8. Don’t skewer food.

Another practice that should be avoided is using chopsticks to skewer food as this suggests that you don’t trust your host to cook your food properly. Many in Japan would consider this an insult and would deem you disrespectful.

9. Don’t rub your chopsticks together.

You may find in some Asian countries that it is normal to rub disposable chopsticks together to ensure there are no splinters that may cause harm. In Japan, this action is regarded as a serious insult and should be avoided at all costs; it implies that you believe the host has provided you with cheap or low-quality chopsticks.

10. After use.

When you have finished eating, ensure that your chopsticks are wiped clean (specifically not with your mouth) and returned to their packaging or designated place. This is to signal to your hosts that your meal has reached completion.

Mizu Pan Asian Restaurant

Discover this Lake District pan-Asian restaurant at Lodore Falls Hotel & Spa, tucked in a quiet corner of the Borrowdale Valley. If you’re a lover of Pan Asian cuisine, Mizu is a must-try as the prestigious 2022 Golden Chopstick’s ‘Best Restaurant in England’ award winner.

Choose from a whole range of authentic dishes originating from Japan, China, Vietnam, Korea, and Thailand. Tuck into crisp tempura, stunning sushi, delicious gyozas, fragrant curries, traditional ramen, plus many more. Our menu has been intricately designed with everybody in mind and pride ourselves in offering a plethora of dishes that are gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan friendly.

Step inside our modern restaurant where you will find trendy décor which oozes casual elegance and spectacular views of the onsite Lodore Falls waterfall. If the sun is shining, feel free to take advantage of our riverside terrace where you can wine and dine in the warmth until your heart is content.