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Mar 28, 2006 04:11 PM

Answer me something ... about chopsticks and Asian food?

  • i

Why is it that people insist on using chopsticks when eating anything remotely Asian, e.g. sushi, teriyaki bowls/plates, Chinese takeout, fried rice, chow mein?

This is especially curious to me when the eater in question is NOT proficient with chopsticks.

Having eaten the above items (e.g. teriyaki bowls, sushi, etc.) many times with both chopsticks and a fork, I can tell you that it does not taste any better, or different, with chopsticks.

Now, I can understand it if one is eating a bowl of noodles or ramen, where chopsticks are definitely more efficient, but if the meal in question is, say, for example fried rice, isn't it easier just to use a fork or spoon (or a spork!)?

Sometimes I'll be at my favorite lunch-plate joint and watch as some poor sap tries to eat every single pebble of rice with chopsticks and get so frustrated that he just ends up ripping up the styrofoam bowl and scoops up the rice directly from the bowl sans eating utensil. And this is after watching in a sort of voyeuristic bewilderment the person in question handle the chopsticks as if he were a blind puppeteer -- trying awkwardly to position the two sticks between the correct fingers and thumb, only to have either one or both sticks end up criss-crossing each other ...

Sorry, just something I had to get off my chest.

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  1. I agree, in fact I prefer fork and spoon even though I am proficient with chopsticks. There's a long thread on this topic, link below.


    1. I guess it gives you a feeling of enjoying anothers culture. Also, it slows down a meal for us and gives us lots of talk about, and somehow the food always tastes better. PLUS, how can you get proficient at using chopsticks if you don't practice?

      1. Ease up. We were all "poor saps" at one time with chopsticks. Practice makes perfect.

        Now I am an expert.

        Also, don't be such a lookey-loo. It's not polite to stare.

        1. "This is especially curious to me when the eater in question is NOT proficient with chopsticks. "

          Everyone has to start somewhere...

          1 Reply
          1. re: nja

            you know what's funny... i'm first generation canadian born chinese and guess where i learned how to use chopsticks from? the back of a chopstick wrapper!

            oddly enough i actually use them just as well as very proficient family members now.

            i actually really like eating with chopsticks... and after some consideration i think it's because i don't like having metal in my mouth and that often times spoons and forks are sized inappropriately for me to feel comfortable putting it completely in my mouth. whenever i eat with a fork all my food is at the tip of the tines to pluck off.... with chopsticks i get quite a bit of control in this area.


          2. It is the "placebo effect" in the realm of eating. The food DOES taste better, if you believe it. It doesn't for your because you don't want it to.

            And it's more fun. Just like it's more fun to eat BBQ with your hands.

            Efficiency is not something to worry about when enjoying a meal.