The Origins of Chopsticks
Did you know a third of the world uses chopsticks every day? Here at Kabuto we of course love our Asian food, and this means that we’re pretty familiar with our chopsticks (although maybe slightly inadept at using them)… But beyond enjoying the satisfying “snap” of breaking a fresh pair, or challenging your friends to accomplish the knack of using them, have you ever wondered where they originate from? Read on and you’ll have some interesting facts to tell your friends over your next bowl of noodles.
A long, long time ago…
Chopsticks were first used around 5000 years ago in the Zhou Dynasty, (most probably made out of twigs). When populations in China boomed and resources became scarce, people started cutting their food into smaller pieces. These bite sized pieces made table knives obsolete, but were perfect for eating using chopsticks; thus a trend was born!
A silver lining?
Traditionally chopsticks are made from cheap material such as bamboo or coconut wood, but you can also get varieties made out of silver. During the Chinese dynastic times it was believed that using these silver chopsticks would prevent food poisoning as they would turn black if they came into contact with any toxins. But of course, we know now that the cause of the silver turning black wasn’t gone off food, but more the sulphur and hydrogen in food such as garlic or onions causing a chemical reaction…
The English word chopstick comes from the term “chop-chop” which means “do it quickly” in Chinese Pidgin English; a language that was spoken by English seamen in the 1800s picked up from the Chinese workers at sea. “Chop-chop” is a phrase still used today!
Chopsticks = Love
In the Chinese community you’ll see chopsticks given as gifts to lovers and newlyweds with the idea that the power of a single chopstick is weak and can easily be broken in half, but together they become strong and will live forever as a couple.
Size does matter…
Although always of equal length, when it comes to chopsticks, size does matter… Length and style varies depending on region. If you’re eating at a restaurant in Japan you’ll get a standard size of about 8 inches (men’s will differ from women’s) with pointed ends. Whereas Chinese chopsticks are about 10 inches long with blunt ends.
All caught up on your chopstick knowledge? Did you know you can get your very own Kabuto chopsticks? Click here to see Kabuto’s full merchandise collection.