Korean Chopsticks – What You Didn’t Know!
Every country has their own style and culture, and Korea is certainly no exception to the rule. Koreans typically use Korean chopsticks to eat their favorite food dishes, and the style and techniques that they implement to the table are totally different to their fellow Asian neighboring countries.
To start with unlike other cultures in the Eastern parts of Asia, it is looked on as bad manners to utilize a pair of chopsticks to eat dishes composed of rice. Instead, Koreans use spoons, much the same way that European countries do.
In Korea it’s also frowned upon if one was to pick up , or even contemplate picking up a plate or bowl of food, and draw it towards their mouth, using chopsticks to close the deal to consume the rest of the food. The only exception to the rule is when the native dish naengmyeon is being eaten.
Once chopsticks are put down on to the table alongside a spoon, it’s considered rude and callus to put Korean chopsticks towards the left side of the spoon. The only time it’s acceptable to put Korean chopsticks to the left in food preparation is during a funeral, or memorial service for family members whom have passed away. A service of such is called a Jesa.
So there you have it-what may seem like good manners to some is frowned upon by others. Chopsticks have more to the eye than you could possibly imagine, and with the ever growing number of fast food takeaways and eat out hideaways around the globe, it’s time to step up your chopstick knowledge and make sure that you don’t show yourself up whilst eating out.
Chinese Chopsticks- More Complex Than You Think!
In China chopsticks are an extremely important part of food. Chinese food plays an important role in socializing, and many Chinese eat in large groups whilst indulging over bowls of food. A typical Chinese meal time can take well over an hour and a half, and there are so many different food options available in little portion sizes that you can easily get carried away in a restaurant.
The Chinese chopsticks are called kuaizi, back in the old days they were commonly referred to as zhu. The Chinese have used chopsticks during meal times for over 3000 years and their popularity is only rising!
In China there are 5 main types of chopsticks available to choose from. These varieties defined by the materials that are used to make them metal, wood, bone, stone, bamboo and wooden chopsticks that are now the most commonly used type of Chinese chopsticks. In recent years the government are struggling with over filled landfill areas that are stacked up with disposable Chinese chopsticks.
During meal times when using a pair of chopsticks the Chinese can never beat their food bowl with ticks. In fact this symbolizes behavior used by old beggars in ancient China whilst asking passersby for food. Also inserting the sticks into their bowls in an upright manner is not allowed. This type of custom is used only during sacrifice – and is considered to be extremely bad luck.
In Shanghai there is a museum dedicated to Chinese chopstick history – it’s called the Kuaizi museum and inside they showcase over 100 types of chopsticks. Some of them date back to the tang dynasty period- the museum offer members of the public a detailed history of chopsticks in China throughout the centuries.
All You Need To Know: Vietnamese Chopsticks
To many, chopsticks are simply little sticks that you use to eat food with, but many different countries around Asia have totally different customs when it comes to using chopsticks to eat their food. Each country has their own etiquette of chopstick usage which is intriguing to look at in depth. The different customs are fascinating to read about and Vietnamese chopstick eating is certainly no exception. I’ve taken a look at chopsticks in Vietnam in more detail.
To start with Vietnamese Chopsticks are called dua in the native language. The Vietnamese have some very culturist customs when it comes to eating with chopsticks. For example when they eat their food, the bowl from which they are eating it from has to be pulled up to the mouth area, and shoveled into the mouth using Vietnamese chopsticks.
Unlike the very popular Chinese food dishes Vietnamese rice is typically sticky so it makes it a lot easier to pick up food with the chopsticks, it makes for mess free rice eating! The Vietnamese tend to use both of their Vietnamese chopsticks at the same time, and even use them for stirring.
It’s considered to be extremely rude in Vietnam if you’re caught picking up food from the table with your hands, putting it straight inside your mouth. You have to put the food into your food bowl before attempting to eat it!
The Vietnamese steer well clear from putting chopsticks directly into their mouths whilst picking out their cuisine. Again this is frowned upon, and you should avoid doing so when eating out in Vietnam.
Also if Vietnamese chopsticks are placed into a v shape when one isn’t eating, it’s considered as an extremely bad omen, and a venture that should be steered well clear of!
Japanese Chopsticks – An Outsiders Guide
Depending on the country of origin chopsticks are a whole different kettle of fish. They may look the same, but the way that they are used and perhaps most importantly the way that their usage is interpreted can differ enormously. I’ve written an outsiders guide to Japanese chopsticks and their usage.
• In Japan when eating with chopsticks people should never transfer food to another pair of Japanese chopsticks. Moving items of food in such a manner is comparable to the way that the Japanese transfer bones in Japanese funeral rites.
• The pointed end of Japanese chopsticks should be put on a rest especially made for chopsticks when they are not being used. If a rest isn’t available in the restaurant where you are eating at, then you can make a self made rest by folding the paper that the chopsticks came out of.
• The Japanese reverse their chopsticks to use the clean end to move food along to the group plate. This is frowned upon in terms of manners, but acceptable in today’s society, especially among the young generation. The proper way to approach this move when using Japanese chopsticks would be to ask the waiter for an additional pair of sticks.
• It’s considered rude to rub chopsticks together after they are moved away from each other – it’s an indication that the chopsticks are ‘cheap’! Your host will take this to heart, and you really don’t want to offend someone that went to all the effort of preparing your meal in the first place.
• When putting your chopsticks down, placing them crossed on the table is a symbol of death, as is placing them stuck into the rice in a vertical line. This technique is implemented during funerals.
• Japanese chopsticks should be put in the right- left direction, with the tip on the far left side. Putting them in any other direction is simply looked at as bad manners and you will be frowned on!
So there you go, a little knowledge to gear you up for chopstick eating in Japan.