Your Guide to Chopsticks
Chopsticks. Those frustrating yet fun tools for the eater. Whether you are eating at the lame Panda Express (tastes good but still lame), the “next level” Asian restaurant (think Chinese Dragon in Spokane, or any other predominantly-Anglo town), or even the ethnic Asian (a la Yang’s Dumpling House or Henry’s Taiwan in Bellevue), chopsticks can either be your friend, or your worse nightmare. Confused as to size, shape, and ability? Here is a quick guide:
Chinese: longer sticks that are either square or round in the cross section where they are held, and round in the cross section where they contact food, ending in a blunt tip.
Japanese: short to medium length sticks that taper to a pointed end. Japanese chopsticks are traditionally made of wood and are lacquered. Some chopstick sets include two lengths of chopsticks: shorter ones for women and longer ones for men. Child-sized chopsticks are widely sold.
Korean: short to medium length stainless-steel tapered rods, with a flat rectangular cross section. (Traditionally, they were made of brass or silver.) Many Korean metal chopsticks are ornately decorated at the grip. They are sometimes used to put food on a complementary spoon, which then brings food to the mouth.
Vietnamese: long sticks that taper to a blunt point; traditionally wooden. A đũa cả is a large pair of flat chopsticks that is used to serve rice from a pot.