Our Quest is primarily focused on what is ON your chopsticks. We Quest to find the best Chinese restaurant on Long Island and New York City. Lest we take those “primitive” utensils for granted, let’s give them some of our love. For without chopsticks, what would we do? Eat with our hands? True, spareribs and egg rolls are meant to be eaten with your hands. But, pretty much everything else you’ll find in a Chinese restaurant it made to eat with chopsticks — if you want the authentic experience. Otherwise, of course you can use a fork. And a spoon is definitely required for soup!
So, let’s examine those chopsticks a little closer. Have you ever given them a second thought? Have you ever wondered what they’re made of? I thought you’d never ask! Well, let’s examine some of the materials used to make chopsticks.
Materials Used to Make Chopsticks
Bamboo or Wood – Bamboo and wood chopsticks are relatively inexpensive, low in temperature conduction and provide good grip for holding food. They can warp and deteriorate with continued use if they are of the unvarnished/unlacquered variety. Almost all cooking and disposable chopsticks are made of bamboo or wood. Disposable unlacquered chopsticks are used especially in restaurants. These often come as a piece of wood that is partially cut and must be split into two chopsticks by the user (demonstrating that they have not been previously used).
Plastic – Plastic chopsticks are relatively inexpensive, low in temperature conduction and are resistant to wear. Due to their composition, plastic chopsticks are not as effective as wood and bamboo for picking up food because they tend to be slippery.
Stainless steel – Stainless steel chopsticks are durable and easy to clean, but metal is slippery.
Gold – Truly just a show of wealth. Kind of like the Rolex watches of chopsticks. A Timex watch will tell the time just as well as Rolex; Wood chopsticks will pick up food just as efficiently as gold chopsticks. But, if you have to keep up with the Wong’s, then gold chopsticks is the way to separate you from the ordinary.
Porcelain – Another fine, durable material, used to make chopsticks. They stand the test of time. Just remember to floss daily. and brush your chopsticks after every meal!
Silver – Silver chopsticks are commonly used by wealthy families. Silver-tipped chopsticks were often used as a precaution by wealthy people, as it was believed that the silver would turn black upon contact with poison.
Ivory – Save an elephant. Please. Just stick to porcelain or plastic if you must, especially if you’re entertaining guests from PETA.
Jade – Jade chopsticks are green of course. If you’ve got green eyes, or lots of dough (green), these are the sticks for you. Otherwise, leave the jade to the artisans so that they can create museum quality chopsticks.
I have a feeling you’ll never look at, nor take for granted, your chopsticks the same way ever again.
Ever wonder what to do with leftover chopsticks? Red Hong Yi has made some magnificent works of art with chopsticks. And rumor has it that next year’s Questie’s will be made out of chopsticks!
How do you prefer to eat your Chinese food?
Humbly submitted for your consumption,
–Mee Magnum (“Chop! Chop!”)