Tuesday’s Travel Essentials: Learning How To Use Chopsticks

First time I ever used chopsticks in China

Tuesday’s Travel Essentials: Learning how to use chopsticks!

Tuesday’s Travel Essentials on Don’t Stop Living brings you endless tips on things you need when you set off around the world. One thing you will need for sure is knowing how to use chopsticks. Luckily I went from not having a clue to being an expert at using them. If Asia is on your travel hit list they are a total necessity, and everywhere else they certainly come in handy. Here’s my story on how to use chopsticks.

Using chopsticks travel essentials

Today’s Tuesday’s Travel Essentials is all about using chopsticks!

I cast my mind back 7 years to when I worked in PR in London in England. One day we were invited to an Apple event to meet over lunch to discuss PR tactics. It was in a Cantonese Restaurant in Green Park if I remember correctly, close to the Apple Store. After ordering our food, no forks and knives came. Suddenly I was the only one at the table that couldn’t use chopsticks!! I felt wick and eventually had to ask the waitress for a knife and fork! At the time I also had thought I was well travelled – but only in Europe. I hadn’t been to China yet. In front of my peers I was using a knife and fork.

Jonny Blair in Hong Kong using chopsticks

Using chopsticks in Asia – I’ve become an expert having not had a clue a few years back.

I then visited China a few months later (China and Taiwan were the first Asian countries I visited incidentally) and taught myself how to use chopsticks. By the time I had toured round Taiwan in 2009 I was an expert. It just takes practice that’s all and to be honest there is no method for using them. The reason I say this is that every Chinese person that taught me how to use them had a different method and none of their methods worked for me. I’ve longer fingers. My advice? Head to local restaurants in Asia and never use a fork, knife or spoon. That way you’ll be forced to find an alternative way to pick up your food, and keep practicing with your chopsticks.

Chopsticks in Shinying Taiwan

Using chopsticks in Taiwan – loved touring Taiwan and was now an expert!

Here are my best tips on learning how to use chopsticks:

–          Get your own set of chopsticks and practice at home or at your own leisure

–          Avoid using knives, forks or spoons

–          Go to Asia and eat locally

–          Pick up difficult things with them (like small grains of rice and slippy food items)

–          Practice makes perfect (you’ll be an expert in no time)

I made a video this week on how to use chopsticks for you, which was done quickly in one take and even I struggled to pick some items from my soup, proving perhaps I’m not the expert I think, but I know how to use them and I’m fast…happy learning how to use chopsticks my fellow travelers!

With my endless travel tips and stories, I want to inspire you all to head out there and see the world! Check my advertising page if you have an idea for a product or brand for my Tuesday’s Travel Essentials, and don’t forget I welcome free chopsticks, plus computers, hard drives and cameras as the ones I have always break…

2 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Travel Essentials: Learning How To Use Chopsticks

  • I love using chopsticks. Especially in front of people who don’t know how to. Makes me look even more skilled!

  • Thanks for the comments Sam – I still prefer using my hands and using a knife or fork, but with the travel lifestyle you have to adapt to so many new things! Safe travels, Jonny

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