How to Eat Rice With Chopsticks? (2 Methods You Need to Know)

The use of chopsticks is every day, especially in Asian countries. For instance, people in China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, and other Asian countries eat with chopsticks every day. It’s used for all types of food, such as veggies, meat, noodles, and even rice. Now, some of you may wonder how it’s possible to use chopsticks with rice, as most people would find it difficult. So, you may ask:

How to eat rice with chopsticks? First, you need to know two standard methods to eat rice with chopsticks. These two are the clump method and the shovel method. Both methods are ideal for different rice options, so learn both.

While learning how to eat rice with chopsticks is not necessary, it will be helpful if you’re visiting Asian countries. It will also help you if you want to enjoy Asian cuisine in the best way possible. In general, learning this skill will also help you if you’re invited to eat out in Asian restaurants.

This article will walk you through the two methods of eating rice with chops and all the other things you need to know about this skill. You can be confident and use chopsticks whenever you need to without losing confidence.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

How to Eat Rice With ChopsticksPin

Step-by-step guide on how to eat rice with chopsticks

Before we dive into the two methods of eating rice with chopsticks, you first need to know how to do so. So here’s a quick step-by-step guide to help you out. 

Learn about your ideal chopstick.

It is essential to know your chopstick style when eating with chopsticks, as they come in all shapes and sizes. In addition, chopsticks can vary in thickness, thickness, metal, or how slippery they are, all of which affect your ability to eat rice effectively with chopsticks.

For this reason, you should pick chopsticks that you’re most comfortable with, so you’re off to the best start. Then, make sure your fingers do not feel cramped when you hold them.

The ordinary chopsticks are natural wooden, ceramic and porcelain, and metal. You can choose which one is comfortable for you.

Learn how to hold and use your chopstick.

Make sure that you have a firm grasp of how to hold your chopsticks before picking up rice with them. It will be hard to pick rice if you feel shaky, weak, or the chopsticks move around. The key is to practice and to begin with the basics.

Put one chopstick into your hand and hold it as if it were a pencil. Use your thumb, index finger, and middle finger to hold it. Try not to overthink it.

The next step is to run the second chopstick under your thumb, over your ring finger, and your pinky finger. Finally, you can wedge the second chopstick by using your ring and pinky fingers. 

Note that the second chopstick (bottom one) won’t move. So keep this chopstick stationary as much as possible.

Move the top chopstick with your thumb, index finger, and middle finger. As you move the chopstick, gently bend these three fingers. Bottom chopsticks remain stationary and are used as contact points with chopstick tips.

Start picking up rice with your chopstick.

The primary method for holding your chopsticks is to hold them slightly apart. After that, insert the chopsticks into the rice at a 45-degree angle while maintaining the gap between them. 

Maintain the gap and strength between the chopsticks as you squeeze and lift them. Chopsticks transfer the rice from a bowl to your mouth with a “hold” technique.

You can lift your bowl with your other hand if the distance between you and your mouth is too great. However, it’s recommended to avoid dropping your food by moving your chopsticks vertically.

Two methods of eating rice with chopsticks

In this section, you will learn how to eat rice with chopsticks in two ways. Each is used in specific situations.

Clump Method

For sticky rice, this method may be best since you can pick up some rice grains at a time using chopsticks.

Using this method, all you need to do is use the chopsticks as described above.

Take out your chopsticks first.

Keep your chopsticks sideways, placed between your thumb and index finger. Grip chopsticks at the end of your index finger to have a firm grip. Next, try to grasp some rice with your chopsticks slightly open.

This method makes it easy to grab clumps from a bowl without dropping any rice grains.

Rice that is clumped together is the target of this method. You have a lower chance of dropping rice grains when you tightly clump the rice together.

Shovel Method

Chopsticks are commonly used to eat rice with this method. However, in some cultures, it is only used in informal situations because it can be considered impolite.

Using this method, you lift the rice bowl near your mouth toward your face. Then, after you have finished eating the rice, transfer it to your mouth with your chopsticks.

Driving rice straight from the bowl into your mouth is considered rude in many formal situations, such as a meeting with your business partner. However, there is also a high possibility that you will drop some rice on the table. In that case, you might be in for a rude awakening.

In this case, of course, the method is very suitable since the rice is not sticky. If you are not too tactful with chopsticks, this is an easy way to eat.

Tips for eating rice with chopsticks

Here are some dos and don’ts that you need to observe when eating rice using chopsticks. We also have a couple of tips further below that you may find helpful.

Do’s and Don’ts


  • When taking a break, place your chopsticks on the rest next to you or the right of your plate.
  • In Japan, senior citizens and the elderly are the first to lift their chopsticks.
  • Place your chopsticks in a horizontal position on your bowl after you have finished your meal.


  • In many Asian countries, it’s considered disrespectful to place chopsticks vertically in your bowl or place them in an ‘X’ position as it symbolizes death or the dead.
  • It would be best if you did not point or point with chopsticks at other people or the dishes on the table since this is considered impolite.
  • Do not click or clang your chopsticks together when eating.
  • Avoid using chopsticks to hover over food in the dishes.

Keep Practicing

Regardless of how difficult it may seem, it would help if you kept practicing. Remember, the people who are good at making it look natural are the only people who use chopsticks every day! 

If you have plans to eat at an Asian restaurant and you want to use chopsticks, you should practice beforehand. The same thing applies whenever you plan on eating at other gatherings using chopsticks. 

To make sure you learn, try to use chopsticks when eating from time to time. This way, you can try yourself and get used to chopsticks.

Enjoy with your chopsticks.

Learning to use chopsticks when eating rice doesn’t have to look like a necessity or inconvenience. However, to make sure you learn faster, you should take it easy, play around with it and have fun!  

You can even get the entire family involved and pick up some training chopsticks for kids! The key is to learn how to use chopsticks to enjoy Asian cuisine as any Asian would. 

It will help you understand the culture and the philosophy behind it. Thus, it would help if you did it with excitement rather than rudeness.

Are you supposed to eat rice with chopsticks?

In some Asian countries, you’re supposed to eat rice with chopsticks. However, it depends on the type of rice you eat. 

Chopsticks are typically used when eating short-grain rice. Those who consume fried rice, made from separated grains, enjoy it with long porcelain spoons. In Korea, rice is typically short grain, and metal spoons are used to eat it.

Avoid stacking them into your food or rice when using chopsticks to eat food or rice. Avoid stacking them into your food or rice. In Chinese culture, this is considered a curse. People say it brings bad luck because it reminds them of funeral incense.

Is it rude to eat rice with chopsticks?

No, it’s not rude to eat rice with chopsticks. Informal gatherings, you can eat rice with chopsticks using the clump method. This method works well with sticky rice. However, when your rice isn’t sticky, you can use the shovel method, which is considered rude in some cases.

Chopsticks are usually used for pushing or shoveling rice, not picking it up when the bowl is lifted to the mouth. In short, it depends on the type of rice. It would be best to eat neither long-grain nor wild rice with chopsticks – they will waste your time because they won’t stay in the chopsticks.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some of the frequently asked questions about using chopsticks when eating rice. Below, you’ll see common rice types and the best method to use chopsticks when eating such.

How to eat fried rice with chopsticks?

When you’re eating fried rice, you won’t be able to pick it up. Thus, you should use the shovel method to do so. 

The thing about fried rice is that they don’t stick together. Thus, you’ll make a mess if you try to pick them up using chopsticks. Thus, you should pick up your rice bowl and shove the rice using chopsticks.

How to eat brown rice with chopsticks?

When eating brown rice, you can use both the shovel method and the clump method. However, you still have better chances with the shovel method. Brown rice isn’t as sticky as white rice, which means you’ll find it challenging to use such. For this reason, you should use the shovel method to eat your rice with chopsticks quickly.

How to eat non-sticky rice with chopsticks?

When eating non-sticky rice with chopsticks, you should use the shovel method. You lift the bowl a little away from your face toward your mouth as you do this. It would be best to use chopsticks to transfer the rice to your mouth after eating it.

Because the rice is not sticky, this method is very suitable in this case. Moreover, this is an easy way to eat as long as you are discreet with your chopsticks.


In a nutshell, you can use two standard methods to eat rice with chopsticks. Clumping and shoveling are the two most common methods. Be sure to learn both methods so you can prepare rice in different ways.

It is not necessary to learn how to eat rice with chopsticks, but it will be helpful if you travel to Asian countries. If you desire to enjoy Asian cuisine at its best, this will also prove helpful. You will also benefit from learning this skill if you happen to be invited to eat out in an Asian restaurant.

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Image credits – Canva

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