Restaurant Hack: How to Use Chopsticks

Attention, chopstick-challenged folks: We found the trick to help you enjoy an Asian meal at a restaurant (almost) like a pro. No more fumbling with those pesky sticks, trying to grab onto your sushi roll like a clumsy panda, only to end up dropping it right before it reaches your mouth. All you need is a humble napkin and 15 seconds of your time.

It couldn’t be simpler: Lay a napkin on the table, then place the two chopsticks on it so their tops face each other, leaving a small gap. Roll the napkin and gently squeeze to bring the chopsticks together. Voila! You’ve got yourself a pair of connected chopsticks that will pick up anything. From a tiny strand of carrot to the most slippery dumplings, you will never miss a piece of food again.

This hack works with almost any type of napkin, so don’t worry if you’re not dining at a fancy schmancy restaurant with cloth napkins. Just keep in mind that tougher napkins (think cloth napkins) will create a sturdier bridge, so if you have a choice, go for the strong stuff. And here’s a pro tip: Leave just enough space between the chopsticks so you can bend the napkin bridge without turning it into a floppy noodle. When in doubt, the space about the diameter of the chopstick top should do.

You won’t find a neater chopstick hack!

chopsticks with napkin connecting them

So, how does this hack work? The napkin keeps your chopsticks in line, preventing them from crossing or sliding apart. It also allows them to pivot like a pair of food tongs. That makes it easier to open and close the chopsticks and grab onto the food. This hack works in the same way as training chopsticks, which often have a connector at the top — except you can create and customize your own temporary napkin chopsticks right at the table without having to buy or bring any fancy gadgets.

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You might be thinking: “There must be a catch!” Sure, this technique isn’t following any napkin etiquette rules. But other than that, we can’t really think of a practical downside to this hack. You can even reuse the napkin once you’re done with the chopsticks, so you’re not wasting anything! Plus, your newfound chopstick skills might just make you the talk of the table. Don’t be surprised if other noobs at the restaurant start copying your technique. And if they don’t? They’re probably just jealous of your ingenuity.

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