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Jun 10, 2022 | Samuel Albert
Intensely passionate about Chinese food? A pair of chopsticks is the ultimate solution and also an excellent addition to your existing cutlery collection. However, eating with chopsticks is a different story altogether, which is a skill that needs to be practiced and mastered. Let's think about it later, and first, get you a pair of chopsticks that suits your needs.
Finding the right pair of chopsticks that suits one's needs largely depends on the cuisine of choice (Chinese, Korean, or Japanese), the material of choice, and the frequency of their usage. Plenty of chopsticks are available in the market. Some of the most common ones are made of traditional wooden, bamboo, stainless steel, titanium, fiberglass, melamine, etc.
With so many different types and varieties of chopsticks available in the market, it is difficult to pick the right one that best suits our needs. So, before making the final decision, let's read further to see which chopsticks would fit the cuisine that we are likely to serve.
Chopsticks originated from China and spread out worldwide. So, let's talk about Chinese chopsticks first.
The Chinese chopsticks are usually round and are longer than their Japanese and Korean counterparts. They are also thicker at the tips, making it easy to grab big pieces.
Mealtimes are a family affair in China, and the Chinese dine at a round table with plenty of dishes. The long chopsticks are designed to help you grab your favorite dish from the other part of the table quickly and easily without disturbing the dining scenario.
Shining our spotlight on Japan, we find that the chopsticks are an all-rounder here. They use them for cooking, eating the main course, dessert, and even at funerals!!
Sporting a pointed end, they are ingeniously crafted to eat their staple food, fish. The tapered ends help remove the fish meat from the fish bones easily. Also, they are comparatively shorter than the Chinese ones, which provide better finger dexterity and function.
Moving on to the Korean chopsticks, these ones sail somewhere between the Chinese and Japanese chopsticks lengthwise. They are made from metal (usually stainless steel) for hygiene purposes. The flat surface makes them both convenient for gripping and for holding food. It is interesting to note that Koreans always use a spoon to eat rice besides their chopsticks.
Let's narrow down our search further and check out some crucial factors.
Life: If longevity is what you are looking for, opt for the Korean-style metal chopsticks, which can last forever. But beware, they might be a little heavy for your fingers.
If it is love at first sight with metal chopsticks, opt for the hollow metal ones, which are lightweight.
If you don't prefer the clamoring noise of the metal over your porcelain plates, wooden or bamboo is the next best option.
Natural: Wooden and bamboo chopsticks are not just quieter options for chopsticks, but also they don't heat up when handling hot food. This versatile option has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some of the benefits are that the grain of the wood makes it suitable for picking and holding food and for gripping the chopsticks with the hand.
As for the downside, they are susceptible to mold and other contaminants and get warped or bent with use. They can also get stained and can pick up odors easily.
You can find bamboo chopsticks that are lacquered. However, lacquering doesn't warrant you to be careless. Once used, they must be hand washed and stored properly; otherwise, the lacquer will peel off too soon.
A word about bamboo: Bamboo grows fast and doesn't need chemicals. Being an eco-friendly and natural option, they can easily be a good alternative for wood, taking off nature's burden through deforestation. So, opt for a bamboo one if you care to contribute to the planet's ecosystem.
Nevertheless, it is crucial to maintain them if you are looking forward to using them in the long term. So, care for your chopsticks, as you would care for your wooden spoons and other wooden utensils in the kitchen. If you want a natural option, these are your best bet as they are free of chemicals and toxic substances.
Seafood: Is your kitchen cooking seafood almost every day? Then, buy the Japanese chopsticks to easily grab and debone your fish with their pointed tips.
i) Disposable chopsticks - renewable, biodegradable chopsticks.
ii) Melamine Plastic Chopsticks - High heat resistance, no staining, and no odor make them a desirable choice. But remember not to leave them in when you microwave your food.
iii) Beginner Chopsticks - These chopsticks stick together on one side and are made from melamine. Training a kid with a pair of these is a fantastic idea. However, I am afraid they might be too small for adults looking to get started on using chopsticks.
iv) Metal Chopsticks - These are designed hollow to reduce heat transfer from the hot food to the hands. Very clever design, indeed!
v) Fiberglass Chopsticks: Some sought-after special features are lightweight, sturdiness, odor resistance, heat resistance, and tips designed to efficiently handle food.
vi) Titanium Chopsticks: This lighter metal option with a sturdy build is what you need when you pack your own set of chopsticks while traveling.
Long chopsticks were used to stir and cook food in big vessels in the olden days. But since they got super convenient, they have earned a place for themselves at the table over time.
In oriental cuisine, the food is cut into small pieces before it is cooked, making chopsticks a fantastic choice for tableware. You can pick and eat the food right away using chopsticks, which is why chopsticks are a famous choice for Eastern cuisine.
Now that you have chosen your chopsticks, let us find a place for them in your kitchen. Chopsticks require little to no room for storage. Hence, they have not just successfully moved from East to West but have found a place for themselves in our homes and hearts too!