How to Break Chopsticks Evenly

March 28, 2008 / Culture, Daily Life / 15 Comments

You go to an Asian restaurant. From the corner of your eye, you see the waiter bringing over that delicious food. You quickly pick up those wooden chopsticks and break them apart then….crap. It’s uneven.

At least for me, I will be sulking for the rest of my meal. Not because I’m such a perfectionist. It just brings back an embarrassingly painful memory. I was around 4 when I visited Japan with my parents. Wanting to wolf down my food hungrily, I recklessly tore the chopsticks apart. It was completely uneven. I was left with 3/4 of a chopstick on one side. I shrugged and continued to shove the udon down my mouth when the splinters from the 3/4 of a chopstick pierced through my thumb.

The pain. The anguish. Those freaking chopsticks!!!!

After that experience, I’ve tried my hardest to break chopsticks properly. Unfortunately, 90% of the time, I failed… until I watched this anime called Azumanga Daioh (where a slow Kansai girl is taught how to break them apart properly because she thought they could only be broken perfectly by luck)! So, here’s the trick:

Break the chopsticks while holding the tip of the chopsticks – not the stem.

It’s never failed me once since then. You Asian kids are probably laughing so hard right now coz it’s common knowledge to you all. But it’s an enlightenment for a non-chopstick-wielding Asian like me, okay? 😉 Where I was born, we eat with our hands!! *sulks*

And here’s a clip from Azumanga Daioh of how NOT to break chopsticks.

  • No offense, but isn’t it common sense? 😛

  • Id

    “Where I was born, we eat with our hands!!”
    Me too! Except I can barely even use my own hands to eat. Ask me to eat with my hands and I guarantee you the entire dining table will turn into a Jackson Pollock piece.

    I tend to use the stem to break my own chopsticks too but I didn’t seem to have much of a problem getting them to break evenly. Well, more or less evenly. At times I get the entire stump/stem in one chopstick. (Good morting! Asian here too! Haller!) So the tip you shared is new to me also.

  • k

    hey thanks for the tip! i didn’t know that too, but then i rarely use chopsticks back in singapore (in korea i use it everyday though) and i almost never use the wooden ones. heh.

  • Hey thanks for the tip! I usually break the chopsticks while holding the stem, and most of the time it more or less splits quite evenly. Shall try your method soon!

  • Melle’s comment made me laugh 😛 haha! Anyway being an ethnic Chinese myself I feel so shamed that I didn’t even make it an effort to break chopsticks evenly… I am particularly bad a that, usually my chopsticks end up like what you’ve got when you were younger. I usually just leave it to luck and probability and have my eyes closed when I break them 🙂 I remembered once that instead of splitting them I ended up breaking them into half (as in, horizontally and not vertically). My parents sure had a good time laughing at me 🙂

    Thanks for the tip! When I go for sushi next time I can avoid the embarrassment 😀 thanks!

  • Thanks for the tip. I have chopsticks at my house that I don’t use. My brother got them from China and they are really nice….to look at.

  • I remember my experience in a chinese restaurant last last year, hahaha I was trying to break the chopsticks apart but then I didn’t knew how to break them apart 🙁 HAHA.

  • LOL. I often go to Japanese restaurant with my boyfriend and we often compare our chopsticks. If I broke the chopsticks, I’d just take a new one! haha.

    at home, I eat rice with my hand. so much easier, yeah! xD

  • Haha I saw this on your rss feed on mybloglog and laughed. I am so bad at this, I always end up with one chopstick with the other half stuck on the top, and it gets in the way of the other chopstick when I eat…yeah I’m kind of a klutz. But I will try remembering to pull from the ends next tine…. : )

  • Megan

    OHEMGEE ! xD
    That’s where I learned how to break my chopstciks evenly too !