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What's the deal with chopsticks?

  • r

A question I've pondered for many years. Why do people insist on using chopsticks to eat Asian food, even in a setting like a corporate cafeteria? These are not people who grew up using them. Isn't it easier to use a knife, fork and spoon?

My theory is that this is an affectation to make one seem more sophisticated and "authentic" than the masses. Thoughts?

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  1. Sometimes it just FUN to eat with chopsticks b/c its not the normal fork and knife.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chv

      I am weird, I eat just about everything with chopsticks at home, I just got used to it and I prefer it, I don't feel that it makes me better than anyone.

    2. This reminds me of one part of Jerry Seinfeld's "I'm Telling You for the Last Time" standup routine:

      Jerry Seinfeld on chopsticks:

      "I'll tell you what I like about Chinese people. They're hanging in there with the chopsticks. You know they've seen the fork. They're staying with the sticks. I don't know how they missed it. Going out all day on the farm with a shovel. Come on. Shovel. Spoon. You're not plowing 50 acres with a couple of pool cues."

      Link: http://elmomonster.blogspot.com

      1. Funny post. Maybe it goes without thought - chopsticks and asian food just go together. Have you seen someone eat sushi with a fork and knife? I have and it makes me wince just thinking about it....

        3 Replies
        1. re: ha ha

          Not to start the whole sushi etiquette thing again, but I was once told by a Japanese person that sushi (the rolls, anyway) is a finger food.

          1. re: Ray

            I thought I read that both the rolls _and_ the nigiri were finger foods (hence the pre-meal towel) and that sashimi is eaten with chopsticks.

          2. re: ha ha

            Sushi is to be eaten with fingers, not chopsticks.

          3. I especially like it when people insist on using chopsticks in Thai restaurants.

            3 Replies
            1. re: FlyFish

              Chopsticks are used in Thailand. But only to eat Chinese food or Chinese/Thai food like noodles..

              1. re: FlyFish

                Actually chopsticks are used for noodle dishes in Thailand. Stir-fried food is eaten with a spoon (and pushed onto the spoon with a fork).

                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  When we had our Indonesian banquest on Sunday, the table service was fork and large spoon. The only appearance of chopsticks was as serving utensils with the Bakmi Goreng Babah, stir fried noodles. They were longer and thicker than the usual sticks for eating.

              2. I was on the amtrak yesterday and bought a cup of noodles - and of course, they served it with a plastic fork. It was just plain weird. I stared at it, almost at a loss for what to do next... I don't know if I've ever before, in my whole life - extending over a half a century - eaten noodle soup with a fork. I actually mulled over using my Waterman ball point and Mont Blanc fountain pens and sticking the ends into the hot, salty, greasy mess... I did think better of that... But I do think that had I had access to a couple of cheap Bics, they would have been my choice for eating utensils at that moment. Chacon a son gout.