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Do any of you guys ever bring your own Chopsticks into Chinese Restaurants/Buffets?

You know, you always get those cheap ones in most Chinese Restaurants that are supposedly made out of wood. They break quite often even before you get them out of the package, therefore I can definitely see other people purposefully bringing in their own. Some can be pretty nice, while others are just decorative. We used to have some really nice ones in the past (hell, we might even still have them, but I don't use them so who knows?) & my Brother just got a new set as a Stocking Stuffer for Christmas. I'd consider bringing in my own if I used them often, but I just don't so I'd like to hear if any of you do. What's your take here?

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  1. High end Chinese restaurants will even store the chopsticks of their regular customers. It's a form of recycling. They should be maxed of bamboo. Never having been to a buffet (just can't imagine food that is supposed to be served fresh with contrasting textures is going to hold up on a steam table). I see no problem with bringing your own chopsticks.

    1. Yes we bring ours. Mainly because ours have the ribbed bottoms. Most restaurants have the smooth plastic sticks and its very difficult to eat noodles with.

      1. No, but I like the idea. I do have a pair of nice plastic ones that I keep in my desk for lunch use.

          1. Just sounds like too much trouble. I can manage perfectly well with cheapo chopsticks or a fork.

            3 Replies
            1. re: kagemusha49

              Yesterday we went for lunch at our favorite Chinese place. They have the wooden ones that you break apart. I did and they were seriously warped :) Got a laugh and a replacement pair.

              1. re: c oliver

                I haven't run across any defective ones of that sort - yet. I generally take them home and use them to repair or extend the perches on my wild bird feeder, so as to save the planet

            2. Buffets no, as do not go to them, but to my favorite Chinese, Japanese, and other Asian restaurants, yes.
              l keep a pair of very old ivory ones in a chopstick box in my glove compartment and use them whenever l can.

              11 Replies
              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                I don't think I've ever seen a Chinese buffet.

                1. re: c oliver

                  C Oliver, there are buffets serving cheap Americanized Chinese food in many strip malls, especially in suburban areas. (Think self-serve Panda Express.) Bringing your own chopsticks to one would be like bringing a sterling silver (or even stainless steel) fork to Popeye's so you would not have to eat the cole slaw with a plastic spork.

                  1. re: masha

                    Yikes, when l eat at my only fast food place, Popeye's, l bring utensils as hate plastic stuff. Boy, am l screwed up.

                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                      When we're in Rio, the KFC has 'real' plates and metal flatware.

                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                        DCM, if you ate the red beans and rice at Popeye's with chopsticks you may get some odd looks.
                        I have shorts with big front pockets perfect for knife, fork, and a bottle of Cholula when I eat at Star Fish in Cortez. I prefer Cholula on the grouper sandwich.

                        1. re: Veggo

                          We bring real butter to Waffle House and the local breakfast place that has great biscuits. Chopsticks would work with hash browns, but not waffles and biscuits.

                        2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                          Actually, I don't think I've ever eaten in at Popeye's. We don't go there often, but there is one within 1/2 mile of our home that we occasionally patronize on our way home from work, when we don't feel like cooking. In those circumstances, we carry out, and, when we get home, eat using our regular dishes and cutlery.

                      2. re: c oliver

                        There are at least four in the closest small city to me, and one in my town. My fiance is from to a buffet family ( :| ) so I've been to each of them. Only one of them is any good, and they are also the one who just does a lunch buffet and then is a regular place for dinner.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          They may be an Eastern thing: out here on the Left Coast Indian buffets are common, and I've seen one Vietnamese one and a couple of Korean ones, but not Chinese.

                          BTW, most Chinese places here have plastic or metal chopsticks, which are washed and reused like European cutlery. I wish they had the cheap bamboo ones: they're not as slippery.

                          1. re: tardigrade

                            We have a noodle place that has long and short plastic ones that are washed.

                            I don't go to the Chinese buffets but it is almost the only thing that we have in this area. :(

                            I have lots of sets at home that we use often. I used to use them for everything that I didn't need a knife and fork to eat. Not so much any more. Maybe I will have to revive that practice.

                            1. re: tardigrade

                              It depends on where you are on the Left Coast - Sacramento is full of Chinese buffets.

                              Most of the Chinese restaurants that I go to, use the disposable wooden chopsticks. I too prefer them to the more slippery plastic.

                        2. I don't, because the idea of bring my own chopsticks never occurred to me before.

                          29 Replies
                          1. re: CookieCookies

                            But now that the idea HAS occurred to you after this point, will you bring your own chopsticks?

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              No. I don't mind using whatever is provided by the restaurant. Usually the cheap chopsticks only get broken near the top, which doesn't really affect its usage. However, if there's quality control issue (e.g. dirty chopsticks or cups or plates), I would avoid going to that restaurant again.

                              1. re: CookieCookies

                                I just found the following information. I think you will enjoy reading them. Chopstick bra and chopstick glasses:



                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                    Which one? Chopsticks bra or chopsticks glasses?

                                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                        So you are saying that you want to take me to your next Chinese Buffet. :D

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          Love to, but will probably be a long wait.
                                          Actually went to one in Florida as other choices were a lot slimmer, walked in , looked, walked out.

                                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                            I believe it was you? who mentioned that if there's ever a cuisine that doesn't lend itself to buffet it would likely be Chinese food.

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              Not me but certainly true, Chinese on a steam table, l think not.

                                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                But sometimes it is good to eat greasy salty garlicky mushy food. I try to eat Chinese buffet once a year, whether I want to or not.

                                                  1. re: alegramarcel

                                                    <I try to eat Chinese buffet once a year, whether I want to or not.>

                                                    Yes, I do that too. It is part of my training.

                                                    1. re: alegramarcel

                                                      Wasn't that part of Cain's training at the Shao Lin temple in Kung Fu?

                                                      1. re: kagemusha49

                                                        In addition to moving the blazing hibachi with his forearms

                                                        1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                          That only happened because he forgot his chopsticks

                                                        2. re: alegramarcel

                                                          Kinda sounds like you try to go to Prison even though you'll be put to shame…lol.

                                                    2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                      Dcm, I was a guest at one in Bradenton that was hilarious. Each time a steamer tray of snow crabs came out, a surge of morbidly obese in their 6-tired wheelchairs went after them like a demolition derby. In the parking lot after I left, I noticed a bumper sticker that read "fat people are harder to kidnap".

                                        2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          Ya know, CK, I might just start carrying some when I go for dim sum. Our fave place in SF has plastic ones and some of those dumplings and the chicken feet especially can get damn slippery :)

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            < Our fave place in SF has plastic ones and some of those dumplings and the chicken feet especially can get damn slippery >

                                            Sure. But do you think your personal chopsticks will do a better job? :)

                                            Yeah, chicken feet can be bad. Actually, beef tendons are pretty slippy too, probably more so.


                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              My chopsticks are wood and I do think wood gives a little traction that plastic doesn't. I have been known to surreptiatiously 'stab' a chicken foot with one of the sticks. In a way that anyone nearby wouldn't be able to tell cause I was ashamed :) at not being able to grab that sucker. Ditto re beef tendon.

                                            2. re: c oliver

                                              I carry a pair of wood chopsticks in my purse for my 5 year old daughter. We eat pho and dim sum often and the plastic ones are too slippery for her. When she was littler I had a special pair of kid's chopsticks and a small pair of scissors to cut up noodles and dumplings.

                                              1. re: srr

                                                You're raising that child right!

                                                1. re: srr

                                                  My son had child sized chopsticks that were a gift from a friend living in Japan. They had little birds on the top, so cute. His hands are too big now to use them.

                                                  Purse scissors are so useful for prepping food for younger eaters.

                                                  1. re: srr

                                                    I was just wondering if my daughter's "training" chop sticks count! :)

                                                  2. re: c oliver

                                                    c oliver: I so agree with you - detest those slippery plastic chopsticks! I try to remember to bring my own bamboo ones in with me, but usually forget, even though I have a supply in my car... So I generally ask for a pair of the "take out" wooden ones!

                                              2. lemme get this straight,
                                                in your opinion the food served at chinese buffets is acceptable but the chopstick quality is not??????

                                                2 Replies
                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                    Try the buffet at Bacchanal (at Caesar's Palace in Vegas).

                                                    Definitely worthy of BYOC, and no chopstick-age.

                                                  2. I've never had a restaurant-supplied pair break on me or otherwise be troublesome, so no. I'm sure I'd lose mine if they left the house, anyway!

                                                    1. No. But when I visit China next year I plan to take my own silverware when I visit American restaurants.

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: CaliforniaJoseph

                                                        Are you saying that non-Chinese restaurants in China only use chopsticks? That seems really odd. And if I'm allowed a followup question, why would you want to eat American food in China?

                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                              I was thinking of a comedian I heard years ago who did sort of a cynical biting stand-up routine. (Carlinesque) "white people brag about chop sticks... Do you think people in China brag about using forks and spoons when they order American food?" I couldn't resist.

                                                              1. re: CaliforniaJoseph

                                                                < Do you think people in China brag about using forks and spoons>

                                                                They do.

                                                                (No, I am kidding. They don't).

                                                                I think it is mostly because chopsticks have a steeper learning curve.

                                                        1. re: CaliforniaJoseph

                                                          I'm sure they'd have McDonald's, so I guess you're going to McDonald's then, right…lol?

                                                        2. I haven't done this in years, but actually I used to keep chopsticks in my purse at all times, as to avoid any disposable utensils (forks/chopsticks/whatever).

                                                          Mine were lacquered and beautiful, though about as slippery as plastic. That was good for my purse though because I could just wipe them clean and throw them in the bottom.

                                                          New year's resolution to resume this habit??? I am thinking so.

                                                          Plus disposable chopsticks ARE made from wood and are a significant source of deforestation in China! (If they are bamboo, it is better because bamboo grows fast and is highly sustainable.)

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: alegramarcel

                                                            You make a point that I forgot to. The chopsticks we get for takeout are bamboo.

                                                          2. Has anyone really broken the bamboo give aways? I like the bamboo type, give me lots of grip. Shar's ribbed models sound handy too (ribbed for my pleasure?) My fancy chopsticks are too damn smooth to manuver. And before anyone gets all al gore here, wood and bamboo are renewable and sustainable, duh

                                                            1. Dim sum places, as someone has mentioned, have those plastic guys that I guess are supposed to emulate ivory, too slippery to pick up much of anything. We have some good wooden ones, and if I remember to I'll stick a pair of those in my shirt pocket. The bamboo ones are best for truly slippery things, like the big wet floppy rice noodle that those nice shrimp come enrobed in.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Will Owen

                                                                You do like the toddlers I've seen in dim sum places do: grasp the chopsticks tightly in one hand, and use the fingers on the other hand to convey food to the general vicinity of the mouth.

                                                                Another solution is to ask for a rice bowl you can put your food into: it makes eating with slippery chopsticks a lot easier.

                                                              2. Haven't, but many years ago, we used to bring a little fork and knife and napkin when we went shopping at a faraway, as in an hour away on a good traffic day, mall. (We lived in BFE) NSO (no shopping opportunities)

                                                                This was because the very good BBQ place in the food court cheaped out on the cutlery (tiny, fragile, wafer-thin plastic forks that shattered when they hit the meat), but oh my, the food was good. We also brought a little bottle of Tabasco, because, bless the owner's heart, he didn't know from heat.

                                                                1. No

                                                                  But then I never take knives and forks to restaurants either. Not even my antique ones.

                                                                  1. I have a nice pair of metal chopsticks that come in a small case the size of my palm. You screw them together to use. I only have them in my lunchbox though. I don't see the need to eat with them in a restaurant.

                                                                    The wooden ones shouldn't be breaking on you, maybe you are pulling them apart too forcefully?

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: sedimental

                                                                      Sedimental, you have the ones from REI ?

                                                                      They now have a new kit (ooooh, titanium) that includes a spoon :-)


                                                                      Might pick meself up this kit next time I'm down.

                                                                      1. re: LotusRapper

                                                                        No, not from REI. I got mine from uwajimaya (I think). It is a very small little metal case and the chopsticks are in 4 pieces. Very cool, but a bit "slippery" because they are metal.

                                                                    2. I have a pair of these:


                                                                      That I only bring to, and use at, local Asian malls' food courts, where the vendors usually supply you with these useless overgrown toothpicks as chopsticks:


                                                                      These aren't the type that are attached at the top, but already separate and are maybe 3mm in diameter, which makes it tough to hold and pick up anything.

                                                                      1. I do this all the time, and I live in Taiwan.

                                                                        On campus, they charge extra for disposables, to encourage you to bring your own.

                                                                        Here you can easily find collapsible chopsticks. They're each in two pieces (metal or plastic or wood) and screw together to form a full sized choptick. When you're done, you wipe them off, unscrew them, and they fit back into the little carrying tube.

                                                                        They also sell sets with chopsticks/fork/spoon in a soft case.