Chapter 1103: Japanese, Chinese and Korean Chopsticks

Chopsticks! Although I was born and raised in England, I’ve always preferred using chopsticks over a knife and fork. As young as can I remember, my parents courage me to use chopsticks but I was a clumsy child and resulted in using a wooden spoon for a very long time. Whilst my other Asian friends were using chopsticks like a pro, I was more comfortable using a wooden spoon. When I was little I had a phobia of metal cooking utensils. This was thanks to a classmate at play school. We were 4 years old at the time and we decided to play ‘House’. I was the baby whilst she took on the role of the mummy. She forced me to chomp down on a metal ladle even though I told her I rather pretend than do it literally. She wasn’t happy with me and made a fuss by telling the teacher that I refused to play properly…After getting told off, I did it against my will. Till this day I still cringe whenever I recall the memory of my teeth hitting the metal ladle, not once but she did it to me twice.
Anyways…one day….I can’t remember when but I started using chopsticks and never looked back.
First I’d like to introduce my favourite type of chopsticks. The Japanese chopsticks. It distinguishes itself from the others by its shorter length and pointy tip. The tip is made sharp/narrow which makes it easier to pick out fish bones and grip onto smaller pieces of food. The shorter length also gives the user better control and precision. I have small hands, maybe that’s why I prefer this style. The white plastic pair is very old, I’ve had it since 2006. The wooden pair with the red painted top were bought around 2015 when I started my first official office job. The job was far away from my home and I would have to leave the house by 6am to get to the office by 9am. The location was in the middle of nowhere. I remember there being only 1 McDonalds next to the station and the rest of the area was made up of grey warehouses. Buying food was difficult so I’d always prepare a bento box for lunch which was usually made up of last nights dinner. The final pair is from Sanrio, it was actually a gift I received a few years ago from a friend who visited Tokyo. The size is labelled L for large and features Hello Kitty. Unlike the other two, it’s 21.0cm long and features a non-slip rough wood finish towards the tip which helps stop food from slipping away.
Ah yes, I love having a little container exclusively for the chopsticks. It makes lunch time a wonderful time. Especially if you don’t have access to a kitchen sink to wash them after eating. You can just pop it back into its container so it doesn’t get your bag dirty, then just wash them when you return home. It’s compact and convenient.
The shortest pairs are about the same height as one of my smallest plushies (15-16cm). Shinobu from Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is my favourite character from the series!! She’s so cool and pretty, I love her so much!!
At first glance the Chinese red pair resembles the Japanese styled chopsticks but…
…the tip is actually blunt just like this old wooden pair I have. Chinese chopsticks tend to be longer and have a blunt/wider tip. Both were bought from my local Chinese supermarket. In Chinese culture, people are known to share food thus having longer chopsticks makes sense when reaching for a dish further away and/or picking up food to place it onto someone else’s bowl.
I remember being told a fiction story when I was a kid. It was about a big table full of delicious food, the people sitting around the table could only get the food by using the extremely long chopsticks. The selfish people were the ones trying to only feed themselves but they’d always miss and then ended up starving. In contrast, the kind and smart people sitting at a different table would use the extremely long chopsticks to pick the food then feed each other, thus they were able to have a good meal. Sharing is caring.
Oh yes, another reason why Chinese chopsticks have a blunt and wider tip is because it allows the user to pick up more food. In general, when it comes to steamed rice you can use something I would call ‘the-rice-shovel-technic’. By lifting your bowl to you mouth, then use your chopsticks in a shovelling motion to sort of scoop the rice into your mouth. Rice bowls are purposely made small so it can fit your hand. This way you can clean your bowl and not waste any random loose grains at the end of your meal.
Korean chopsticks are usually paired with a spoon. The Korean chopsticks are probably one of the most interesting designs. Nowadays, it’s common to have them made in stainless steel. In history it was made out of silver for the royals or people with nobility and wealth. Apparently silver can detect poison. True or not true? I’m not sure. But it’s definitely very interesting.
My set has turtles. It’s aesthetically prettier than the other chopsticks and I love the design. Unlike Japanese or Chinese chopsticks, Korean chopsticks tend to be flat. Being made from metal, handling food may be more challenging because it’s much more slippery and fiddly. Another thing is that the length of Korean chopsticks tend to sit somewhere between the long Chinese chopsticks and short Japanese chopsticks.
In Korean culture, a spoon is used for when eating steamed rice, soup and stews. I think this is the main difference when eating rice. Japanese and Chinese people usually eat steamed rice using chopsticks. But not fried rice, that’s when a spoon is usually used because once rice is fried the grains don’t stick together anymore so using chopsticks would be a little tricky. Or curry example, a spoon is usually used in most cases. Most people will know Asian rice tend to be stickier (typically Japanese rice) so it naturally clumps together making it easier to pick and eat with a pair of chopsticks.
Chopsticks originated from China and it can made from a variety of different materials like bamboo or porcelain. But it’s far more common to find ones made from plastic, wood, bamboo and stainless steel in your local Asian shop. Chopsticks for life!!

—Tofu

8 thoughts on “Chapter 1103: Japanese, Chinese and Korean Chopsticks

      1. It is of course what you are used to. My husband whom I call, the Moth (Man of the House), is left-handed and rarely uses a knife, but instead uses a fork like a ‘splade,’ chopping at soft food with the side of the fork. He won’t change because he has been doing this his whole life and it is comfortable for him.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Interesting! Though I often use chopsticks, I didn’t recognise the differences between the Japanese and the Chinese chopsticks. I think both are widely used in Vietnam. For me, the Korean chopsticks are the most difficult to use, quite heavy 🙂 Btw, beautiful Insect Pillar 😛

    Liked by 1 person

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