Restaurant/Chopstick etiquette

There is a small Japanese restaurant that I love to visit because the food is always great and the staff is friendly and competent. There’s just one problem with this restaurant - the poor quality of the chopsticks available there. I know the owner is just starting out and is trying to save money in any way he can without sacrificing food quality. I respect that. But the chopsticks are so roughly hewn that they are uncomfortable to use.

My question is this: Would it be considered rude for me to bring my own chopsticks? I would be discrete.

Thanks for your advice, dopers!

The chopstick question is wierd. A long time ago I used to go to a damn good chinese place that was really inexpensive. To save money they had they crappy splintery split apart chopsticks, that he always apologised about. They were crap and the owner always told us to rub them together to smoth the splinters, and eventually said to bring our own sticks. When we did that he was much happier and less embarrased. Eventually he got the place on it’s feet to have real chopsticks offered(as one of the original customers I got a special ivory chopsticks(which actually suck, as a guy who uses chopsticks once a week, polished ivory sticks are a slipperty and overy responsability inducing pain in the ass, but I digress) rather that the nominal plastic).

Later, I used to habitually rub split apart chopsicks together to remove the splinters. Then one day someone told me that it was a horrible goat-raping level of ettiqutte to rub chopsticks together, and was luck the restaurant owner didn’t have the Tang kill me in the night for doing it.

So the only lesson I can offer is that you should ask and see if the dude is okay with it, because the only thing I know is that chopstick ettiquette is really variable, deep, and intense to some people.

I don’t get it. The plastic fake ivory ones are decent enough looking and don’t splinter. They are cheap as chips in bulk and he’d probably be able to kit the entire restaurant out for $20 - 50.

Admittedly, these are Chinese style ones so it goes more for the second post than the OP.

Weird, here rubbing the cheap sticks together is a sign if experience. Everone does it.

No, I don’t think it would be rude. My friends from China all carry their favorite chopsticks with them and use their own. Some of them are heirlooms, and they’re a very personal thing. I wouldn’t dream of asking to use them. When I go to their house, they each eat with the same chopsticks I recognize from our going out, and there’s a selection of “guest sticks” available for yanks and other boorish people who don’t bring their own.

So I think there’s a precedent of BYOC within the Chinese American culture, at least. Who knows, you may even get the “real” menu if the restaurant sees you have your own sticks! :wink:

When my wife and I married, her doctor (of all people),a Chinese man, gifted us with a set his and hers chopsticks. All my Pake friends tell me this is pretty standard for a close family member and I should feel honored that her doctor felt that fatherly towards her.

This reminds me of the time I taught a 30 year old woman born and raised in Taiwan to use chopsticks, as she had never used them in her life. :smiley:

EVerything I learned about cheap chopsticks I learned from Harrison Ford in Blade Runner…I guess that’s a habit I’ll have to break! :smack:


I have always rubbed the chopsticks together without anyone seeing…aka under the table. I don’t want to offend anyone but I really hate those loose splinters from the cheapy chopsticks. At home I don’t have to worry about it because we have a nice set.

Now I feel sort of out of place doing so.

Huh. I learned to rub my chopsticks to get rid of splinters from a Chinese-born friend. She never mentioned that it could be considered rude, and always did it herself when we had Asian food out.

One thing that IS rude is to leave your chopsticks in the food between bites. Always set them down on the table.

I had heard it as:
*Rubbing your wooden chopsticks together when you’re a guest at someone’s home: bad thing. This is because you’re insulting your host by implying that they’ve given you sub-standard chopsticks.
*Rubbing your wooden chopsticks together when you’re at a restaurant: acceptable. Just don’t act like you’re trying to light a fire with 'em. :wink:

As for bringing your own set to a restaurant, I’ve heard everything from “it’s insulting to the owner, implying that they don’t provide their customers with acceptable ones” to “'it’s perfectly fine” and “it’s expected that people will have a favorite set they want to use.” Unforutnately, I haven’t paid that much attention to which advice came from whom: my bet is that it depends on the region they’re from.

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I guess I have goat-raping etiquette because I always remove the considerable splinters from my chopsticks by rubbing them out in public. One might even say I FLAUNT the rubbing. The owners of my regular sushi bar don’t mind. I’m there so often the owners just call me “Chibby.” And make me get my own refills on soda. I should consider bringing in the chopsticks they gave me at christmas. I hadn’t even thought about it and keep them on display on my shelf at home.

You’re gonna break the habit because some guy on the Internet said that some other guy told him it was bad form?

Me, I’ll keep on goatraping until Emily Post comes out against it. Rubbing chopsticks, too.

In case you were wondering, it’s incredibly, pig-blowingly rude not to send me a hundred bucks, now that I’ve given you my opinion. Some guy told me so.


My mum hosts English language students. Just last week I learnt that Japanese and Chinese chopsticks were not the same .The latest Japanese student could not operate Chinese chopsticks…he gave up and used a fork. :eek: Who knew chopsticks could be so different?

Odd, the only difference is that Japanese style chopsticks have a pointed tip while the Chinese style typically does not. (only difference I have ever seen anyhow)

Here are some nice chopstick ettiquite:

1.) Do not stick chopsticks into your food, especially not into rice. Only at funerals are chopsticks stuck into the rice that is put onto the altar.

2.) Do not spear food with your chopsticks.

3.) Do not point with your chopsticks to something or somebody.

4.) Use the tops of the sticks to transfer food from shared dishes- especially if you have used the chopsticks.

5.) When you are not using your chopsticks and when you are finished eating, lay them down in front of you with the tip to left.

6.) Don’t cross the chopsticks.

7.) Don’t lick or suck the ends of chopsticks

8.) Never use chopsticks to transfer something to someone else’s chopsticks or someone else’s plate or bowl.