Two Chopsticks: the New Normal in Manila's High-End Chinese Restaurants

Metro Manila restaurants are now preparing for re-opening as the National Capital Region transitions to the less strict Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ). Let me also prepare you as to what you might encounter when you dine at your favorite high-end Chinese Restaurants.

Aside from table distancing and contactless transactions, you will also notice that each diner will be provided with two sets of chopsticks. The second pair of chopsticks (a colored one) will replace the communal serving spoon provided per dish. This is to avoid cross-contamination among diners using the same serving spoon.

So, which is which? The chopsticks placed closest to your table (natural, white, or black) are the ones you use for eating while the chopsticks placed away from your plate (colored or decorated) are the ones you use to get food from the dishes. NEVER use the same chopsticks for eating and serving.

Here is a little bit of history for you, something you can share with your family and friends while dining at your favorite Chinese restaurant in Manila. The practice of using two sets of chopsticks originated in Hong Kong after the SARS outbreak in 2002-2004. This practice was applied by high-end restaurants in Hong Kong and was later-on adapted in other progressive cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Taipei, and Singapore.

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