Most traditional Japanese cuisine is made in a way so that it can be held and cut off using chopsticks. However, there are certainly some dishes that are easier than others to eat using chopsticks.
If you're a novice, try some of the dishes mentioned below to improve your chopstick skills. With a little practice, you'll soon be ready to say "Itadakimasu" ("enjoy your meal") with confidence that you can handle chopsticks like a pro.
One of the mainstays of many Japanese restaurant menus, tempura consists of different seafood and vegetables that are dipped in a light batter and then deep fried. They are often served with salt or tsuyu, a tempura dipping sauce, as well as a dish of grated ginger and daikon radish. Due to their textured nature, tempura is easy even for chopstick novices to handle and pick up.
Some people eat sushi as a finger food, but it's also often eaten using chopsticks. One big advantage of using the chopsticks is that you won't feel like you have to wipe your fingers all the time - especially when you're eating the sushi that features fish like salmon and tuna. We have quite a selection of sushi restaurants on Deliveroo, including London's Mori and Liverpool's Kokoro.
Sashimi (raw fish) is served with all the pieces of sashimi on one plate, alongside a smaller dish that contains a portion of soy sauce. Wasabi can be mixed into the soy. This is a relatively easy dish to eat with chopsticks, as you simply pick up a piece of sashimi, dip it into the soy and bring it up to your mouth. As the sashimi is already cut into bite-sized portions there's no need to try and "cut" the food using your chopsticks.
Pick a sushi set from Yo Sushi and you'll have plenty of chopsticks practice to hand. For instance, the large salmon and tuna box features salmon and tuna nigiri (sushi), salmon and tuna maki, a Yo! roll and salmon and tuna sashimi. By the time you've finished the box, you'll be a chopstick-handling pro!
When eating ramen noodles you can mix and match between using chopsticks and using a spoon. Start off with the chopsticks, giving them a slight twist as you grip the noodles to keep them from slipping off the chopsticks. There will definitely be some slurping involved - it's almost unavoidable when you're eating noodle soup!
For many diners at Wagamama, the go-to dish is ramen noodles and their house special Wagamama Ramen will offer you plenty of easy wins with your chopsticks, as it features grilled chicken, pork, shell-on prawns and mussels, as well as half a tea-stained egg and pea shoots. When you've cleared the floating delicacies and noodles from your bowl, you can enjoy the rest of the broth with a spoon.
Once you've got a handle on using chopsticks, add some finesse to your Japanese table etiquette by following these unspoken rules of Japanese dining.
- When eating a Japanese meal, it's polite to first pick up the bowl and then pick up your chopsticks. When you change to a different bowl, put your chopsticks down first.
- If you put your chopsticks down during a meal, never lay them across the top of a bowl - this is considered to be impolite. You should use a chopstick rest on the table, or rest them on a saucer.
- It's perfectly acceptable to eat rice with chopsticks - if you've mastered them enough to do so. But you should always lift the bowl up from the table before starting to eat. If you bend over the bowl while leaving it on the table, this is generally seen as rude - as Japanese custom says this is the way a dog would eat!
Feeling ready to practise your chopstick skills on some Japanese dishes? Order with Deliveroo and you can practise unobserved at home!