What are Chopsticks?
are traditional eating utensils used in many Asian countries. This type of utensil is made up of two tapered sticks of the same length. Chopsticks are used by positioning one of the sticks between the middle finger and the thumb while the other stick is placed on the forefinger and the thumb. Chopsticks then be maneuvered to grasp and pick up the food.
Brief History of Chopsticks
The term Chopsticks
were derived from a Chinese Pidgin English chop chop
which means quickly. In the earlier times, the word chopsticks have been banned on ships primarily because it sounded like stop.
It was eventually replaced to mean quick or fast little fellows. Consequently, the term, chopsticks, began to grow in popularity as more and more Chinese started using this word. The history of chopsticks dates back in Ancient China. As early as the Shang Dynasty, people were recorded using chopsticks as tools for eating. They were excavated in the provinces of Anyang, Houjianzhaung, and Henan.
Although originated in China, chopsticks
also prove to be very popular in other Asian countries. In fact, chopsticks are also considered traditional eating utensils in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. They are commonly used for eating rice, meat, and vegetables. In countries such as Tibet and Thailand, chopsticks are exclusively used for eating noodles.Chopsticks
vary in length and materials. Some chopsticks measure about 30 to 40 centimeters. Long chopsticks are often used for preparing and cooking foods. In Japan, it is often used for deep fried cooking. These types of chopsticks referred to as saibashi. Because of its length, this type of chopstick is very practical in handling hot food. Shorter chopsticks on the other hand, are generally used for eating, but it can also be used for cooking.
comes to materials, they can be made from metal, jade, bamboo, plastic, wood, porcelain and ivory. chopsticks made from wood or bamboo are cheap and inexpensive. They are also ideal for handling matte food surfaces. This type of material is also disposable; thus, bamboo chopsticks or disposable chopsticks
are ideal to be used in restaurants and eateries. Similarly, chopsticks made from plastic also prove to be inexpensive. However, its slippery and glossy texture makes its ineffective to pick up food. Apart from this, plastic chopsticks are also not ideal for cooking since high temperature can easily damage the material. Other materials used for making this utensil include ivory, gold, silver, jade, and porcelain chopsticks
. These types of chopsticks are considered luxury items and are often given as gifts and heirlooms.Chopsticks
may also vary when it comes to embellishments and tapering. For instance, some chopsticks are designed to either have a blunt or pointed end. Blunt chopsticks offer a greater grip for holding food while pointed ones allow the user to easily pick out parts of the food such as fish bones. Conversely, chopsticks also have different embellishments. Wooden chopsticks for example, are often painted or lacquered in order to make them waterproof. There are also times when chopsticks are roughened to allow greater food grip.
Much like the use of silverware, using chopsticks also comes with certain rules and etiquette. One of the most common chopsticks rule is that these utensils are not used to create noise or draw attention. Creating sounds with chopsticks or playing with them is considered vulgar and ill mannered. Likewise, Chopsticks
are also not used to pierce food. Most traditionalists consider this practice a taboo and is considered rude and offensive.
Chopsticks etiquette may also vary depending on the country. In Chinese culture for instance, it is acceptable to eat by holding the bowl with the chopsticks near to one’s mouth. In Hong Kong, the eldest family member has the privilege to hold and use the chopsticks first. It is also customary to use serving chopsticks to transfer food from the serving dish to one’s plate. In Japanese etiquette, chopsticks are placed in chopstick rests when not in used. In some cases when chopstick rest is not available, it is acceptable to use a tissue or the chopstick case. In Korean culture, it is considered ruse to eat rice using chopsticks. Thus, spoons are used instead while chopsticks are reserved for eating noodles and other dishes.
World Foodie Guide (2009).
Chopsticks Etiquette and other tips. Retrieved February 19 2010