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Chopsticks


itch22
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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.

In my opinion, that's not rude to the chef or companion(s), but I still think it's in poor taste.

I googled to find what other Japanese think about rubbing waribashi together. I found two webpages that doing so is rude because this means that you are given inferior waribashi. They recommend that if you find any splinters, you remove them by hand inconspicuoulsy. I found several others that say that it's a bad practice. I found none that recommend rubbing waribashi together.

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I googled to find what other Japanese think about rubbing waribashi together.  I found two webpages that doing so is rude because this means that you are given inferior waribashi.  They recommend that if you find any splinters, you remove them by hand inconspicuoulsy.  I found several others that say that it's a bad practice.  I found none that recommend rubbing waribashi together.

This has to be the coolest thing I have learned on eGullet. Never again will I rub my waribashi together!

A.

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I googled to find what other Japanese think about rubbing waribashi together.  I found two webpages that doing so is rude because this means that you are given inferior waribashi.  They recommend that if you find any splinters, you remove them by hand inconspicuoulsy.  I found several others that say that it's a bad practice.  I found none that recommend rubbing waribashi together.

This has to be the coolest thing I have learned on eGullet. Never again will I rub my waribashi together!

A.

Please don't get me wrong. It's just in the eye of the beholder after all. Feel free to do that if you feel you have to (even in Japan).

There are a number of webpages describing Harrison Ford doing the waribashi rubbing in the movie Blade Runner. Some say it's funny, but one person says it's shibui (cool). It's really in the eye of the beholder.

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Rubbing your dispo chopsticks together to rid them of splinters is the equivalent of polishing your cutlery with your napkin. Yes, it's rude, but if you're in the sort of place that you think has provided crappy/dirty eating utensils, well, go for it.

Or you could just eat someplace nice.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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How do these discussions turn from "what are your experiences, observations, knowledge about ________?" into entirely different ones...

Boggles the mind. Did something bad happen at work? Let's stick to chopsticks instead of treading into snide remarks. But then hey, if you need to make dismissive remarks to feel better, more power to you!

Chopsticks please!

Edited by chefzadi (log)

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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Well, so far almost all of the side remarks have been about chopsticks. Threads are much more fun when they wander a bit anyways, you end up covering all aspects of a subject instead of just what was intended.

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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Rubbing your dispo chopsticks together to rid them of splinters is the equivalent of polishing your cutlery with your napkin. Yes, it's rude, but if you're in the sort of place that you think has provided crappy/dirty eating utensils, well, go for it.

Or you could just eat someplace nice.

Which chopstick using culture do you come from?

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 do these discussions turn from "what are your experiences, observations, knowledge about ________?"  into entirely different ones...

Boggles the mind. Did something bad happen at work? Let's stick to chopsticks instead of treading into snide remarks. But then hey, if you need to make dismissive remarks to feel better, more power to you!

Chopsticks please!

Hmmm, I must have missed the part of this thread that didn't talk about chopsticks.

The original question had to do with whether or not Asian restaurants routinely provide chopsticks or cutlery. Tables in Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese restaurants in Atlanta (where I live) are routinely set with chopsticks only. These restaurants cater to a predominantly Asian clientele---restaurants in non-Asian neighborhoods are more likely to set the table with Western-style cutlery, or offer forks to children, but these are the exception.

Much easier to use than Western-style utensils, though my 11-year-old daughter still has some trouble with slippery items.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Rubbing your dispo chopsticks together to rid them of splinters is the equivalent of polishing your cutlery with your napkin. Yes, it's rude, but if you're in the sort of place that you think has provided crappy/dirty eating utensils, well, go for it.

Or you could just eat someplace nice.

Which chopstick using culture do you come from?

Yes?????????

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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Rubbing your dispo chopsticks together to rid them of splinters is the equivalent of polishing your cutlery with your napkin. Yes, it's rude, but if you're in the sort of place that you think has provided crappy/dirty eating utensils, well, go for it.

Or you could just eat someplace nice.

Which chopstick using culture do you come from?

Both practices are considered rude in Atlanta, where knives and forks are used for Western food, chopsticks for Asian food.

It may well be that drawing conspicuous attention to the poor quality of the dining equipment provided is quite the thing in some cultures. I just don't happen to come from one of them.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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My personal experience with Asians is that they want you to enjoy eating the food, first and foremost. If food is love, I've never felt so loved as in an Asian household. Very little of this nitpicking with the proper use of cutlery. Just warme, friendly lessons in differences.

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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2nd warning, folks. No, make that FINAL warning. Next time the discussion turns to the relative worth of each other's cultures, or attacks on the quality of restaurants people visit, this whole discussion goes bye.

But here's another rule. If you think another poster is being disrespectful or snide, DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT, burden the rest of us with a public sniping match. Report the post, using the mechanism provided or PM myself or another Site Manager. If you fail to do so and take a discussion off-topic to make that kind of point, you're creating a problem just as surely as the person you are battling and we will act just as decisively to end this whole thing.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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My questions:

A decision to use chopsticks should be based on A) the menu, B) where you are (in the world), C) whatever you like, or D) all the above?

Does anyone else find that chopsticks are not getting their just respect, even at Asian restaurants?

To Asian eGulleteers, do you ever have to ask for chopsticks at Asian restaurants?

Anyone in Asia have to ask for a knife and fork to eat Western food?

itch22,

To answer your questions: D, not necessarily, sometimes.

Because I live in Southern California, I expect chopsticks to be placed in Chinese restaurants. The only times I had to ask for chopsticks was in towns where the Chinese community was relatively small.

The last time I ate in a Chinese restaurant outside of SoCal was in the Carson Valley area (near the CA/NV border). I remember asking for chopsticks. I got chopsticks, but no rice bowl. Eventually, I ate my Chinese food with a fork, while enjoying the meal with my wonderful friends. It didn't bother me.

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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...

The last time I ate in a Chinese restaurant outside of SoCal was in the Carson Valley area (near the CA/NV border). I remember asking for chopsticks. I got chopsticks, but no rice bowl. Eventually, I ate my Chinese food with a fork, while enjoying the meal with my wonderful friends. It didn't bother me.

jwong: Just to clarify, is it usual for each individual diner to receive/use a separate rice bowl for any type of rice accompaniement?

I saw the discussion earlier in this thread but still wasn't clear.

If so, would it be appropriate to ask for a rice bowl in a chinese restaurant if none were offered?

(I'm pretty handy w/chopsticks, but sometimes have issues with the last rice, etc on the plate... On the other hand, it is nice to soak up sauce with the rice if they are together on the same plate...)

Thanks in advance.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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jwong:  Just to clarify, is it usual for each individual diner to receive/use a separate rice bowl for any type of rice accompaniement?

Yes, each diner should have a place setting of one pair of chopsticks, one rice bowl, one Chinese tea cup (no handle on the side), and one medium-size plate (about 8 inches).

If so, would it be appropriate to ask for a rice bowl in a chinese restaurant if none were offered?

(I'm pretty handy w/chopsticks, but sometimes have issues with the last rice, etc on the plate...  On the other hand, it is nice to soak up sauce with the rice if they are together on the same plate...)

Thanks in advance.

Yes, if you plan to eat your rice in the rice bowl. If I go to a Chinese restaurant that tends to accommodate more Western sensibilities, I'll eat my rice that's on the plate with a fork. Admittedly, eatting rice on a plate with chopsticks can be frustrating. :blink:

As a librarian, may I recommend a Chinese cookbook? I use it as a personal reference resource: The thousand recipe Chinese cookbook by Gloria Bley Miller.

It's not only a cookbook, but a handbook, answering the who, what, where, and how of Chinese cooking.

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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I use three different types of eating chopsticks at home.

gallery_10138_538_17993.jpg

The brown bamboo ones on the bottom are the ones I use most. They came in a package of five pairs.

The middle ones are stainless steel. I presume from reading this thread that they are Korean. I bought them at the Wok Shop in SF Chinatown for less than $3. I use these mostly if I'm having a late night snack and I know I'm going to be too lazy to wash them before going to bed. I don't have to worry about ruining them with moisture and can toss them into the sink. :biggrin:

The ones on top are unusually thick. I thought they might be interesting to try. I can't say they bother me much and I have small hands.

The brown and stainless steel pairs each weigh 18 grams. The black pair weighs 30 grams.

I also use cooking chopsticks when I'm cooking small pieces of things in a pan that need to be manipulated individually. I like the chopsticks better than tongs for this.

I'm Caucasian and never ate with chopsticks at home growing up. However, the fact that a third of people in this part of the Bay Area are Asian means that there are plenty of Asian restaurants and lots of non-Asian people know how to use them. I learned young how to use chopsticks from eating out. Ironically, I think I see fewer people using chopsticks in Chinatown because so many people there are tourists!

I prefer Japanese chopsticks because they taper to a narrow point. The ones I hate are those plastic sticks at some pho and Chinese places. It's like sticking two fingers into your mouth. Why?

Edited by esvoboda (log)
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I agree, the plastic slippery ones, particularly those without tapered ends are particularly difficult to use. Pretty much any other sort is fine, so long as they are long enough (my hands are fairly large for a woman) and the coefficient of friction between the material and the food is high enough. I like the wooden ones because the coefficient of friction will be high no matter what you're eating. The disposable ones are also great to pack for lunch boxes.

I do find it frustrating eating rice off of a flat plate with chopsticks, but the usual offered solution is not much better: a fork only. Without an accompanying knife (which is often not supplied in U.S. Asian restaurants) I'm left chasing food around my plate.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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I guess I'm the only strange one who is adverse to using black bamboo chopsticks? Funny, even though I was born in the States, when I look at black bamboo chopsticks I think it's bad luck. OK, I'm just strange! =)

Chopsticks are the best thing to use when eating instant noodles from a cup. And for breading shrimp - don't have to get your hands dirty.

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I do ask for chopsticks, and often use them at home as well.  I also sometimes ask for a small rice bowl, so that I can hold it under a bite of food to catch drips.

My understanding is that Thais only use chopsticks for noodles, and forks and spoons otherwise.  Oh, and I've also been told that it's rude in a Korean restaurant to hold a bowl in your hand, which I tend to do with soup and rice.  If this isn't correct, somebody please straighten me out!  I like to know how to be polite, even if I don't always manage to do it.

It is not only rude to hold a bowl in your hand, but you are not supposed to use chopsticks to eat rice either. They give you a long spoon for that. I always have to stop myself from using chopsticks with the rice when eating out Korean locally. Most places use metal rice bowls as well, which are used to keep the rice hot. Not being brought up to eat in this manner, I find the no chopsticks in the rice personally very awkward, because the Banchan type stuff IS eaten with chopsticks, and you can deposit it on your rice with chopsticks, but once it is ON the rice, its spoon territory. Its the transition between the two that is hard to get used to.

Korean eating etiquette is totally different from any other Eastern culture. What's right in Chinese and Japanese and Thailand/Vietnam/Cambodia/Malaysia is totally wrong to do in Korean. And as mentioned earlier, Korean chopsticks are also very difficult to eat with, because many restaurants use metal ones, which are very slippery and narrow.

To make matters even more complicated, if you are eating Korean Chinese food, do you eat Korean style, or Chinese style? Is it ok to pick up the bowl or eat rice with chopsticks? I dunno.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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heh! i usually eat Asian food with chopsticks and western food with fork/knife.

BUT...I like eating Nigiri Sushi with my hands.

Oh..when eating with chopsticks..do not stick them vertically in the rice bown while eating.or even after eating.

Do not expect INTJs to actually care about how you view them. They already know that they are arrogant bastards with a morbid sense of humor. Telling them the obvious accomplishes nothing.

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I guess that I have transgressed many a time when I travelled to Korea. Being of Chinese heritage and imbued for 60+ years with the customs and manners of said culture, I found it difficult "in extremis" to eat rice without holding a bowl in my hand, especially if a bowl is provided. What do you do? Constantly switch from chopsticks to spoon etc? Not being mannerly to pick up a rice bowl in one's hand would imply that one cannot dine without a table or suitable flat surface to rest your bowl, which would preclude picnics on a blanket in a park, a sylvan glen, etc. Also what would one do with the idle left hand if you're right handed and vice versa. Ahhh, those inscrutable Orientals. :raz::rolleyes:

I believe that the use of metal bowls would not hold heat better than porcelain or china bowls. Metal is a better heat transfer medium.

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I guess that I have transgressed many a time when I travelled to Korea. Being of Chinese heritage and imbued for 60+ years with the customs and manners of said culture, I found it difficult "in extremis" to eat rice without holding a bowl in my hand, especially if a bowl is provided. What do you do? Constantly switch from chopsticks to spoon etc? Not being mannerly to pick up a rice bowl in one's hand would imply that one cannot dine without a table or suitable flat surface to rest your bowl, which would preclude picnics on a blanket in a park, a sylvan glen, etc. Also what would one do with the idle left hand if you're right handed and vice versa. Ahhh, those inscrutable Orientals. :raz:  :rolleyes:

I believe that the use of metal bowls would not hold heat better than porcelain or china bowls. Metal is a better heat transfer medium.

Regarding the use of metal bowls. A bit of trivia.

Traditional Korean homes typically had one heat soure in the kitchen. A charcoal heated hole in the ground (there's a better way to describe it I'm sure but it escapes me at the moment) basically, behind the hole was a tunnel that led to the sleeping quarters. During the winters the opening to the whole was left open to heat the room. Of course during the summer the opening of the tunnel was left closed.

Anyway, during the cold months (long long ago) my MIL would cook the rice first, portion them into the metal bowls with lids, and tuck them between warm blankets in the heated room to keep the rice warm while she finished preparing everything else.

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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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?

Actually, I believe they assume non-Asians don't know how to use chopsticks. My non-Asian friends gets quite insulted when they're handed forks! ;)

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A similar arrangement is found in northern China. The cookstove is usually a massive brick or masonry fixture that is used as the main source of heat for the home. The family would sleep on the warm surface during the night. I think that the Chinese (Mandarin) word for it is "k'ang".

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