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The Chopstick Topic: Your Favorites


Peter Green
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this started up in the Korean Etiquette thread, but I think it deserves a thread of its own.

To kick it off, here are my favourites; metal (silver) and solid (so you don't have to worry about stuff getting stuck in there, as in some of the cheaper Vietnamese versions I've seen), heavy in the back, with a bit of corrugation added to the tips to give better grip.

gallery_22892_3828_45891.jpg

I had these made in Phnom Penh from a modification of a Vietnamese design I'd seen.

What other sets do we have out there?

And who prefers wood (or lacquer, or plastic...) to metal?

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Ivory. My mother has them...from way back then. But I think the ivory trade is now banned (?) hence the difficulty of finding chopsticks made from ivory.

I don't have a preference for any particular chopsticks because I don't use them often enough. If I do buy them, it's for the aesthetics, not the handling.

TPcal!

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Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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I'm very particular about chopsticks. Black, no lacquer, heavy wood (denser than water), Chinese style shape (square upper half, cylindrical lower half, no tapering). Does anyone know where to purchase a good set? I bought some in Shanghai but they turned to be really even inferior wood. They're lacquered but the lacquer has already started to come off after only six months of use.

My parents have a set that they received as a wedding present and are over 20 years old. They use them every single day and they are still wonderful, no warping or fading. Only sign of wear is that the edges have rounded out a bit. I really treasure that set and hope to inherit it.

Edited by Kent Wang (log)
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I'm very particular about chopsticks. Black, no lacquer, heavy wood (denser than water), Chinese style shape (square upper half, cylindrical lower half, no tapering). Does anyone know where to purchase a good set? I bought some in Shanghai but they turned to be really even inferior wood. They're lacquered but the lacquer has already started to come off after only six months of use.

My parents have a set that they received as a wedding present and are over 20 years old. They use them every single day and they are still wonderful, no warping or fading. Only sign of wear is that the edges have rounded out a bit. I really treasure that set and hope to inherit it.

One of my friends had a very nice set of black wooden chopsticks from Vietnam that they'd had from the 60's. I went looking for a similar set when I was there ages ago, and thought I had found them. But when we sat down to dinner weeks later to use them, everybody started noticing black shoe polish on their fingers.........

A set of ebony chopsticks would be really cool. Maybe if you brought the wood with you and had them made to order?

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My personal preference for everyday is Japanese bamboo chopsticks, although we use lacquer chopsticks for fancier meals. I hate plastic chopsticks!!!

I've used metal chopsticks in Korean restaurants, but they don't especially appeal to me; it seems that they transfer a metallic taste to the food, much like a metal spoon does.

We have one pair of ivory chopsticks that was a gift, but never use them as we don't have other pairs for other members of the family.

I also like Japanese fragrant wood (such as cedar) chopsticks for summer cold noodle dishes.

SuzySushi

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I have given silver chopsticks and ivory chopsticks to my mother (who promptly displayed them in her antique display case).

I personally like the korean metal ones over the plastic chinese ones. I used to find it really hard to manipulate them, now I can even eat slippery noodles with them. :)

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

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My parents, sibling and I all have ivory chopsticks with our names on them. Mine are in my curio cabinet with other ivory objects (boats, pagodas) that came with us when we immigrated. We used them for a long time, but when ivory was no longer allowed, we decided to put them away as keepsakes.

Friends have given us metal chopsticks. I can't stand them against my teeth.

Most of the time, we use plastic or bamboo chopsticks. I kept many packages of chopsticks from my restaurant days. Bamboo ones are great for guests who use chopsticks infrequently. Most of the time, I don't re-use them. They are great for propping up plants or as kindling. :biggrin:

I do prefer ivory chopsticks. We sometimes bring them out for special occasions.

I was checking out a couple of Chinese products websites, and her is a link for black wooden chopsticks. It doesn't give much detail tho'.

http://www.goodorient.com/Black_Wooden_Chopsticks_Set_P18521

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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I have used many, many types of chopsticks but I have always returned to the bamboo Chinese style chopsticks. I absolutely abhor metal ones; lacquer, ivory and plastic ones are too slippery, other than poplar wood, most other woods introduce extraneous flavours which are not usually pleasant.

Call me a crotchety old traditionalist. BAMBOO.

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Well, I use chopsticks for just about everything, including eating salad, beating eggs, stirring cream into coffee, etc., and since I grew up with Chinese bamboo ones those are the ones I still prefer. They're not slippery or heavy (I hate Korean metal chopsticks), and they're cheap enough so that when I burn them while toasting marshmallows over the gas burner I don't cry.

Of course I break out the purty Japanese lacquered chopsticks for company, but otherwise it's bamboo for me!

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I've lived with a series of housemates who, while posessed of many excellent qualities, can't be trusted to not lose tableware down the trash or disposal, or absentmindedly run non-dishwasher-proof pieces through the dishwasher, or otherwise beat 'em to crap. In particular, such housemates have had a distressing knack for losing one half of any matched pair of chopsticks. :rolleyes:

I therefore took to buying cheap-but-reusable chopsticks by the package at restaurant supply stores, so that I could avoid the heartbreak. (And it also allows me to feel carefree about using one to poke around in clogged-up blenders and other hazardous kitchen situations.)

I prefer the Chinese shape, and don't mind the slipperiness of the plastic jobbies. I still have a couple pairs of semi-nice laquered wood Japanese ones, which I guard carefully so that they stay pairs. Now that I think of it, I don't think I've ever used, let alone owned, Korean-style sticks; I'd be interested in trying them out sometime just to see what they were like.

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I usually use Japanese wood lacquered chopsticks at home. I avoid disposable waribashi, although sometimes I've sacrificed some disposeables when handling Japanese charcoal. I don't guard them jealously because, well, Japanese dinnerware is meant to be used, and I can always get replacements if they start chipping. They're not terribly expensive ones, though; I think one set of five pairs were about 800-1200 yen.

The other thing that makes me avoid guarding them jealously is that my collection keeps growing over time... I received the first pair as a gift about 11 years ago, a set of five was given to me as a gift on a trip to Japan about 6 years ago, and the third set of five was given as a gift fairly recently. Strangely, every time one of my old pairs starts to suffer from scarring, I seem to end up with a new set.

I also have 2 pair of sujeo (Korean spoon and chopstick sets, metal) which are very extravagantly decorated, that a friend gave me as a gift. I usually use the metal ones when I've made Korean foods.

I'm not a fan of plastic chopsticks, but there's probably a pair or two in my drawer from takeout several years ago. I've seen a Japanese interpretation of plastic chopsticks that actually worked fairly well, but the common Chinese shape seems guarantee to send a few pieces of food flying. I have a few pair of wooden chopsticks with a Chinese shape that see occasional use.

I also have 3 pairs of differing length saibashi, simple long wooden chopsticks, for cooking purposes.

Jason Truesdell

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I can't handle chinese chopsticks for picking up small items, like the korean banchan dish of seasoned black beans. They are just not narrow enough on the bottom. However, they are great for cooking with, because they are really really long. I like them for flipping over bacon. Japanese chopsticks are nice because they taper down at the bottom, but there is something about putting plastic or wood in my mouth that I dont like. This is similar to eating ja jang myun with disposable wooden chopsticks. by the time I am done eating, the chopsticks are completely black.

Seeing as how I've been using korean chopsticks my entire life, they are obviously my favorite. I can't believe they impart a metallic taste to some of you egulleters...I have never noticed this. I bet I am going to look for this metallic taste when I eat dinner tonight, and I will be forever turned off JUST KIDDING

Has anyone mastered the art of picking up acorn jelly with korean chopsticks? It takes me 3 or 4 tries to pick up one jelly.

BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
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I have a few sets of chopsticks. I use the Chinese style sometimes, and sometimes the Japanese style.

I do have a pair of antique "muttonfat" jade chopsticks, from China, that were given to my great grandmother as a wedding present in 1861 - they were old then. I have them in my safe deposit box.

I had them appraised 20-some years ago and since they are easily transported, I thought it would be safest to keep them there.

One has an enlongated tiger spiraling around it, the other has a dragon (no wings) and at the top of each one there is a strip of gold inlaid into the stone.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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My family's chopsticks, together with waribashi (disposable chopsticks) for use by guests:

gallery_16375_5_10366.jpg

(Sorry for the photo.)

Our chopsticks are all made of wood and are coated with resin. (I forgot the type of resin used.)

Mine, bought by my wife, are dishwashable and have a textured surface near the tip, and are relatively expensive (around 500 yen). It's about 23 cm in length, which is probably the standard length for adults. My children's chopsticks are about 100 yen each and about 12.5 cm in length, which is again probably the standard length for children. My wife's are much cheaper, because they are from a pack of five pairs sold at the 100-yen shop.

I think that most Japanese now use wooden chopsticks with resin coating.

The waribashi is 20.5 cm in length, probably the standard length.

Chopsticks for cooking purposes:

gallery_16375_5_14663.jpg

They are all made of bamboo. They vary in length from 24 cm to 32 cm.

The bottom pair, made of wood, was once made by someone, but because it is not of a coated type, it is now used for cooking purposes.

Special chopsticks for making tempura:

gallery_16375_5_25751.jpg

They are made of wood, and cost me about 500 yen. It's about 37 cm in length.

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BTW, a cursory glance at eBay shows ivory chopsticks (antiques, of course) for sale quite frequently.

In the $100 range...

There is a very strict federal law that states no individual may sell or buy elephant ivory, walrus ivory, or sperm whale teeth. The ivory can be seized and the fines are substantial, particularly for "intent" to circumvent the federal laws.

There are specific exceptions, certified antique ivory artworks with a clear provenance showing they were created prior to the act. Raw ivory imported prior to the act with the appropriate customs stamps and original sales invoices. Also ivory harvested from dead animals by official game officers of countries that have a structured protection and conservation program supported by these sales.

Another specific exception is fossil ivory purchased from licensed members of native tribes in Alaska.

Having seen one dealer arrested and his stock seized at a gem and mineral show in 2004, I know that the federal agents constantly monitor these shows and I would assume they do the same with ebay and if the companies are doing business, I doubt it is real ivory. It's just not worth a $5000.00 fine.

Fake ivory is manufactured in slabs from an epoxy resin and finely ground tagua nut, also known as vegetable ivory. They have even learned to "comb" it with very fine needles in a frame, to produce the growth rings seen in natural ivory. Tricky and dishonest.

It is then milled into various shapes, carved and stained.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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My chopsticks in regular use.

gallery_17399_60_141068.jpg

The two pair at the left live in the box at the top of the photo and that box is always in the bottom of my purse. Just in case!!!

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I know that this is off-topic and has been discussed in the General Food Topics before, but I'd like to ask this question:

In Japan, chopsticks are personal belongings. Every member of a family has their own chopsticks, that is, chopsticks are not shared among family members. Besides, I think it's rather unusual for someone to have more than one pair of personal chopsticks in the house at one time.

So..., what do you think?

Corrected "usual" to "unusual".

Edited by Hiroyuki (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Ivory or elephant bone. Square on top, tapering very slightly to cylindrical on bottom, but not pointy. They're not too heavy as metal ones tend to be and they feel comfortable if they hit the teeth. Some plastic ones do approximate the weight and feel well.

Edited by Seitch (log)
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Has anyone mastered the art of picking up acorn jelly with korean chopsticks?  It takes me 3 or 4 tries to pick up one jelly.

I can do it. It took me a long time to perfect it, you have to grasp the jelly with just the right pressure and the angle has to be right too. But when you get it right on the first try it is so satisfying.

eating udon with lacquered Japanese chopsticks is quite difficult.

I keep lacquered chopsticks and cedar waribashi on hand. The ones I used everyday however are plastic chopsticks from an izakaya chain. They have a sort of textured tip that helps you grip things. Sometimes I eat with saibashi too, as long as no one is looking.

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