Vietnamese Chopsticks – All About “đũa”

Vietnamese Chopsticks – All About “đũa”

In Vietnam, chopsticks are as common as fork, knife and spoon. This is due to the mixture of the East and West eating habits. Vietnamese people use chopsticks a lot as some of the common dishes that the consumed are rice, noodles and cakes, which are served in bowls or plates.

What is đũa?

The Vietnamese chopsticks are called “đũa” ( in Vietnamese) by the locals. The word comes from the Chinese “zhu” (箸 in Mandarin), which was the word used there until the 100-300 AD.

How do chopsticks in Vietnam look like?

The standard Vietnamese chopsticks are similar to the ones from China. They are flat, around 9 inches long and with a blunt tip that is tapered. For cooking the grand chopsticks called “đũa cả” (奇) are being used. They have the same shape as the standard ones but are even longer and thicker and traditionally made of lacquered wood. These sticks are used to service rice from a hot pot and they protect the cook from not burning his hands.

What materials are used?

The chopsticks in Vietnam are most commonly wooden. Popular woods are bamboo, palmwood or south coconut wood.

Vietnamese chopsticks etiquette

A Vietnamese dish with noodles that is about to be eaten with chopsticksThe Vietnamese style of eating has a lot in common with other East Asian countries such as China, Korea, Japan and Thailand. In the middle of the table, there are lots of dishes and each person picks the good that wants to eat. Of course, there are some rules to be followed so these are some of them. Learn these and you will not be wrong following the etiquette when using chopsticks in Vietnam:

  • do not spear food;
  • do not lick your sticks;
  • do not use them to cut food;
  • do not point people with the sticks;
  • do not return food from your bowl to the shared dishes;
  • do not dig for food in the shared dishes, but take from the top;
  • do not make sounds or play with the sticks when being on the table;
  • do not try to move any dishes or bowls with your sticks on the table;
  • do not pick up food first before the oldest person on the table has done so;
  • do not try to pick food from communal dishes at the same time as someone else is doing so;
  • do not place the sticks in the form of the letter V after being full, place them on top of the rice bowl;
  • do not put them sticking upright from your bowl of rice, use the chopstick holder or put them on the tray;
  • do not pick up food from the communal dishes and place it into your mouth directly, but use your bowl first and then eat it;
  • do not refuse food that your Vietnamese host is picking and putting on your plate, because this would be a sign of disrespect;
  • do not hold use the chopsticks as toothpicks or hold them in your mouth while doing something else with your hands on the dinner table;
  • do not use your chopsticks to pick rice from the bowl and eat, but raise the bowl to your mouth and push the rice to your mouth with the sticks;
  • do not dip your chopsticks in the shared soup bowl, but use the reverse ends of your sticks to pick food from shared dishes, if no communal utensils are provided.