Is it Rude To Eat Rice With Chopsticks?

Eating food in Asian countries, or with Asian friends and family, typically includes at least one dish of rice. 

If you aren’t paying attention, you may not notice that there is something different about the way that many Asian cultures gather rice from the main container to their own plate.

So, is it rude to eat rice with chopsticks? If not, how are you supposed to do it? Read on below and discover the truth!

Is it Rude To Eat Rice With Chopsticks?

It isn’t rude to eat chopsticks at all! Even in Asian countries, it is not rude to eat rice with chopsticks… it is expected. 

What is important to know, however, is that it may be considered rude to eat rice with chopsticks from a certain angle. 

Inserting your chopsticks into a dish of rice from the side (vertically) is offensive in Japan, as it reminds the people of a common funeral tradition (leave a bowl of rice with a pair of chopsticks sticking out of the side of the rice vertically).

How Rude Is it?

Eating rice with chopsticks rates 1 out of 10 on the rude meter. The only time that it is usually seen as rude to eat rice with chopsticks is when you insert your chopsticks into the rice bowl vertically. 

Why is it Not Rude?

There is nothing rude about eating rice with the use of chopsticks. In fact, the large portion of rice-eating countries eat their rice with chopsticks on a regular basis.

What is rude is, in some nations, sticking your chopsticks into the dish of rice from a vertical angle (sideways).

Other Options to Do Instead

The only thing you need to keep in mind when you are eating rice with chopsticks is that you shouldn’t stick the sticks into the dish of rice from the side. 

In other words, when eating rice with the use of chopsticks, attack the rice from the top, but never directly from the side.

Common Questions

Why is using sideways chopsticks in rice offensive?

Using chopsticks in a vertical or sideways manner, specifically to collect rice from the main dish, is taboo in many Asian cultures, including the country of Japan. The reason this act is taboo is that it represents the recently deceased, and is a reminder of death.

In what countries is it rude to eat rice vertically with chopsticks?

Japan and Korea are the main countries where eating rice with chopsticks are rude. In Japan, it is taboo to stick chopsticks into the rice from the side. But, in Korea, it is rude to stick them into rice period.

Is it ok to use chopsticks in rice?

It is ok to use chopsticks in your rice, even in Asian countries, so long as you do it from the top. Never stick your chopsticks into the side of the rice bowl if you wish to be as respectful as possible. If you are unsure if it is offensive to eat rice with your chopsticks, just look around and see what other people are doing (and copy them).