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Kent Wang

How to eat noodles with chopsticks

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What is the proper etiquette for eating noodles with chopsticks?

Do you grab as much as you can with the chopsticks, stick what you can in your mouth and bite off the noodles that don't fit?

Or grab only as many noodles as can fit, then suck all of them in, without biting off any? This is a little messier due to the potential splashing of broth while slurping, and of course the accompanying sound.

Can we learn from the Westerners and twirl the chopsticks?

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I don't know the etiquette, but I don't like slurping noodles (at least not in public). I'll usually grab a small bunch of noodles, pull them up out of the mass and then let them settle in a bundle on top, then grab that bundle and pop it in my mouth. Sometimes there are a few stragglers that I can't get – I'll usually bite those off.


I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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I'm not an expert, but I have traveled quite a bit in China. My relatives were happy to teach me the "correct" way to eat noodles. Biting is not the preferred way, but if the noodles are super long it's acceptable. Pick up some noodles with the chopsticks and put the noodles in your mouth. Hold the noodles in your mouth and slurp them in, but not like a little kid eating spaghetti. Use the chopsticks to grab the bottom of the noodles and continue feeding the noodles into your mouth. If the noodles are long, sometimes you will have to grab them two or three times to get it all in. If you don't slurp people will think you are odd. Eating noodles in a room full of people is a very loud, slurpy, social event.

If you are taking noodles from a family style dish, make sure you grab the noodles and lift them very high, so that nothing that you touched with your chopsticks falls back into the community bowl. I've seen people stand up at the table to raise their noodles high enough. It's considered uncouth to touch something with your chopsticks and not remove it from the plate. Always take food from the side of the dish closest to you, and don't dig around for special morsels; just take what you touch. Then drop the noodles in your own dish and slurp away as described above. Never lick your chopsticks or anything like that, they are just for bringing food up to your mouth. It's polite to take a choice morsel from the main dish and give it to your significant other, but don't do that unless it is someone you are intimate with.

Pouring and drinking tea is even more ritualized.


Edited by Batard (log)

"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

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I do it the way Batard learned. I pick up a gob (for lack of better terminology) put that in my mouth then pick up the trailing part and slurp that in. Gently and ladylike of course :laugh::rolleyes:

If you are doing soupy noodles and it comes with a chinese spoon you can also just lift out a gob, raise it high and settle the noodles into the bowl of the spoon, then eat off the spoon. My aunt, those proper hi-so ladies that they are, do this. Too knitpicky for me I can slurp with the best of them. Though the way my aunts do it is good if you want to get some soup with your noodles.

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I consider myself to have pretty good coordination, but have no idea how you twirl chopsticks... How does that work?

I think it's a variation of pen twirling. I've never been able to do this, but I know a drummer who can twirl chopsticks like a Shao Lin master.


Edited by Batard (log)

"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

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