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Chopsticks


itch22
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Laying the hashi across the bowl is just fine.

Many bowls, at least here in the west, have been designed to accomidate this with holes or grooves to hold your chopsticks.

Does anyone use hashi rests on a regular basis? I have several porcelain sets in the shapes of fish and birds that I usually reserve for formal dinners. I don't use them outside of formal dinners because, honestly, I can't be bothered.

-- Jason

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I prefer "Chinese chopsticks", wooden, long, unlacquered, and with non-tapered ends. However, I do have several sets of hashi; short, lacquered, and with tapered ends.

What I do dislike, however, are those giant square plastic ones they have out in a lot of take-out places.

EDIT:

I see lots of references here to Korean metal chopsticks. I am not very familiar with Korean culture, compared to my knowledge of Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Japanese culture. In China and Japan, I thought metal chopsticks were never to be used for eating as they are used to pass bones at funerals. Are metal chopsticks becoming more acceptable? Only in Korea?

Edited by itch22 (log)

-- Jason

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I have only bamboo chopsticks of various lengths in my house. Lacquer, plastic, ivory are too smooth and I have trouble picking up slippery bits of food with them, sometimes.

Sorry, Ben! I must have given you plastic ones! No wonder there was food all over the place :wink::laugh:

yuki:

wooden, mostly for cooking. Although I prefer to eat with wooden chopsticks.

- plastic, everyday eating

- ivory, engraved with our names but are mainly for display

- speical chopsticks used when offering food to the ancestors

I too have different ones in my house. Hubby prefers the plastic ones, I prefer the wooden ones. I was given ivory chopsticks with my name on them when we came to Canada in 1948. I don't use them anymore. They are kept in my curio cabinet so I will never forget how to write my Chinese name!

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Laying the hashi across the bowl is just fine.

Many bowls, at least here in the west, have been designed to accomidate this with holes or grooves to hold your chopsticks.

Does anyone use hashi rests on a regular basis? I have several porcelain sets in the shapes of fish and birds that I usually reserve for formal dinners. I don't use them outside of formal dinners because, honestly, I can't be bothered.

We have those too, Korean celadon. We don't use them because our toddler would hurl them across the room.

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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Laying the hashi across the bowl is just fine.

Many bowls, at least here in the west, have been designed to accomidate this with holes or grooves to hold your chopsticks.

Does anyone use hashi rests on a regular basis? I have several porcelain sets in the shapes of fish and birds that I usually reserve for formal dinners. I don't use them outside of formal dinners because, honestly, I can't be bothered.

We have those too, Korean celadon. We don't use them because our toddler would hurl them across the room.

Same here. We have some, but never use them regularly.

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Chopsticks are optional in restaurants in this area. I was taught about them years ago and there were a few things that were "no-no's"...(like the stabbing, pointing etc)....one that I remember is always resting the chopsticks across the bowl or the rest pointing to the left..anyone know the reasons for this (I was taught by a Buddhist if that is a factor)

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I also learned it was bad manners to retire chopsticks in any other fashion put pointing to the left. At a sushi bar it is a sign of respect for the chef.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

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I prefer "Chinese chopsticks", wooden, long, unlacquered, and with non-tapered ends.  However, I do have several sets of hashi; short, lacquered, and with tapered ends.

What I do dislike, however, are those giant square plastic ones they have out in a lot of take-out places.

EDIT:

I see lots of references here to Korean metal chopsticks.  I am not very familiar with Korean culture, compared to my knowledge of Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Japanese culture.  In China and Japan, I thought metal chopsticks were never to be used for eating as they are used to pass bones at funerals.  Are metal chopsticks becoming more acceptable?  Only in Korea?

My wife doesn't know the history of metal chopsticks in Korea, but they have been used for quite sometime. They are ubiquitous in fact. Metal or silver. My wife's parents insist on using silver. Sometimes the spoons have Chinese characters engraved on them. The handles often have decorative inlays or sometimes real gold accents. There are smaller silver spoon and chopstick sets that are given to children on their first birthdays. These can be quite expensive and they are handed down.

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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Another thing that amuses me is to watch people trying to show off their adroitness with chopsticks by eating(?) loose fried rice off a plate

LOL, Ben! Yep, I'm always amused by that scenario.

I like Chinese chopsticks. Bamboo, non-lacquered. I guess I'm a natural klutz, so anything slippery takes more effort than I'd like. I also must apologize to my Korean friends, but I can't stand those metal Korean chopsticks. They're much too heavy for me.

I tend to use chopsticks for many Western foods when I eat at home. I find it so much easier using chopsticks for salad, for instance, because I have more control over what I'm picking up and how it's going into my mouth.

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Kristin,

Really? <she asks wide eyed> Folks in Japan eat spaghetti with chopsticks? Like, the tomato-sauced, sometimes meaty stuff. Parmesan, too?

Well they are usually eating Japanese style spaghetti, which usually doesn't have a heavy tomato sauce. I actually prefer to eat certain Japan spaghetti dishes with chopsticks as well..... :blink:

Thank you Kristin. Funny enough, I've eaten Italian style spaghetti with chopsticks but not Japanese style spaghetti. Like someone else mentioned, what a melting pot America is. :biggrin:

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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Another thing that amuses me is to watch people trying to show off their adroitness with chopsticks by eating(?) loose fried rice off a plate

LOL, Ben! Yep, I'm always amused by that scenario.

I like Chinese chopsticks. Bamboo, non-lacquered. I guess I'm a natural klutz, so anything slippery takes more effort than I'd like. I also must apologize to my Korean friends, but I can't stand those metal Korean chopsticks. They're much too heavy for me.

I tend to use chopsticks for many Western foods when I eat at home. I find it so much easier using chopsticks for salad, for instance, because I have more control over what I'm picking up and how it's going into my mouth.

The Koreans won't be offended. My in laws always have the Japanese kind available for me.

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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Here is more information than you ever wanted to know about chopsticks and their use: Wikipedia article

Mymother taught me to use Japanese lacquered chopsticks when I was a child and I have been known to carry my own with me to restaurants. I don't really like the feel of the disposable sort.

"It is a fact that he once made a tray of spanakopita using Pam rather than melted butter. Still, though, at least he tries." -- David Sedaris
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Here's a slight veerage off the topic. I know a few American Vietnam war vets who told me that in certain actions where quiet is the operative word, everyone threw their metal cutlery out of their packs and learned how to use wooden chopsticks instead. Much more convenient and... quiet.

I can't stand Korean style metal chopsticks, they are either too hot or cold and they hurt when they hit my teeth and they just don't feel right. A personal pair of chopsticks is great when sampling or eating streetfoods in some areas of the world where hygiene is questionable.

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I thought about carrying chopsticks with me, but I thought that here in the west that might seem pretencious. I know in Japan it is acctually quite common and the manufacturing of hashi carrying cases has been elevated to quite an artform.

-- Jason

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Funny, I've often wondered about this myself and have asked both asian and non asian friends about their experiences in asian restaurants with forks and or chopsticks.

In my experience, as an asian american, if the restaurant is patronized by a mix of races, usually there'll be forks as part of the table setting. If it is an establishment that serves mainly asians, you'll usually see chopsticks set out on the table, and forks available by request.

I've noticed that when I visit an asian restaurant that happens to have forks set on the table, the server will usually exchange them for chopsticks without my asking, unless I'm with non-asian guests. My asian friends have experienced the same sort of treatment as well. My non asian friends have reported having their chopsticks exchanged for forks whilst eating at restaurants that cater mostly to asians. Maybe the servers automatically assume that asians prefer chopsticks and that non-asians don't? I dunno.

Lastly, I think chopsticks are highly underrated in general. Since I have a touch of the OCD, I don't like getting my hands dirty, nor licking my fingers whilst eating snacks, and oftentimes, I'll eat chips, cheetos, and popcorn with chopsticks in order to avoid the grease on my fingers. Another situation where I think chopsticks come in handy is for eating any type of salad type dish. I find forks to be incredibly inefficient for leaf-eating and oftentimes wish I had chopsticks when eating salad at restaurants.

Edited by ellencho (log)

Believe me, I tied my shoes once, and it was an overrated experience - King Jaffe Joffer, ruler of Zamunda

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Is it just me or does anyone else have problems with waribashi, those disposable chopsticks that you have to break in half first? I find them too short to use comfortably, I don't think my fingers are that long or anything and of course I also break them badly end up poking myself with a splinter for the whole meal.

I can use the Korean metal ones but prefer my Japanese wooden ones with a tapered point. I do not like the ones they offer in Chinese restaurants here, they are made with plastic (but to look like ivory) and are huge! both long and thick and then slippery to boot, how do people eat with these? :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Waribashi-

I've seen some pretty decent quality ones. A single snap, clean break in two, smooth wood, sturdy enough to finish a meal. The really cheap ones I cannot stand. It's like eating with splintered toothpicks.

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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Quick trick to splitting them disposable chopsticks easily and evenly is to use the wrapper to split them.

Fold the wrapper into a a wedge (by folding into halfs, then half again and then half again)

Place the wedge in the middle where the split is.

Move it up along the split.

It should split almost evenly.

Then clean the edges by rubbing the splitted edges together.

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For those disposable chopsticks: A friend told me it was proper ettiquette in asian nations to rub them at a 90 degree angle against each other on all sides, to smooth the wood (looks like you are trying to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together). Is this actually done, or was he pulling my leg and have I been making a food of myself for years?

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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For those disposable chopsticks:  A friend told me it was proper ettiquette in asian nations to rub them at a 90 degree angle against each other on all sides, to smooth the wood (looks like you are trying to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together).  Is this actually done, or was he pulling my leg and have I been making a food of myself for years?

I don't know about the specific angle degree that's concerned proper, but rubbing the chopsticks together to smooth the wood is pretty common practice.

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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I have no problem with other people using other utensils to eat Asian food but just do it in a way that will not harm the food or bring more trouble to yourself. It just seems wrong for me to stab a piece of sashimi with a fork or eating rice off a plate with chopsticks.

I think this is why I prefer to eat Chinese/Japanese/Korean foods with chopsticks. Aesthetically it seems like these cuisines evolved in a way that is flattered by the use of chopsticks -- everything is so carefully cut and assembled. I don't feel like I am getting the full sensory experience if I am attacking it with a knife and fork.

Also, I always eat with a knife and fork, and it feel a little silly holding the knife since I don't have to cut anything, and it also feels weird pushing stuff onto my fork, because either you get a piece of chicken that falls off, or else you get a wad chicken and rice sludge which isn't all that nice either. If I stab at stuff, the knife doesn't get used.

Obviously I've given this far more thought than it deserves?? :huh:

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I think that the waribashi that comes with a konbini (convenience store) bento is too short for anyone. Other waribashi are long enough (a little shorter than regular chopsticks) and I can handle them with ease.

As for the rubbing waribashi together.

Some Japanese used to do that, and I think some still do. I sometimes did that, but not any longer. I don't think it's such a good practice. I googled and confirmed that it is one of the don'ts (in Japan):

http://www.astro-bio.com/id/manner/manner0103.html

(Japanese only)

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I think that the waribashi that comes with a konbini (convenience store) bento is too short for anyone.  Other waribashi are long enough (a little shorter than regular chopsticks) and I can handle them with ease.

As for the rubbing waribashi together.

Some Japanese used to do that, and I think some still do.  I sometimes did that, but not any longer.  I don't think it's such a good practice.  I googled and confirmed that it is one of the don'ts (in Japan):

http://www.astro-bio.com/id/manner/manner0103.html

(Japanese only)

Is it considered rude? Like your telling the owner of the eatery you were given cheap chopsticks? The rubbing is smooth out ragged edges.

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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How OTHER parts of the world work.

Hashi. Stuck in rice.

Fork. Stuck in potato.

If we do this, it doesn't much matter where we are, we're a doof and take that with us until we learn to look up and see what's around us.

Universals in regards to manners? Maybe I'm missing something in your statement. I've said several times a genius in one cuisine is an ape in another. We're all doofs in one context or another.

Yes, indeed. Especially as to the finer points.

But there are behaivours that are found generally egregious and are not subtle at all.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

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Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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