Vietnamese chopsticks and how to use them
In Vietnamese as well as other Asian countries, chopsticks are the main dining utensils. However, for those who come from Western ones, it might take a long time to know how to use chopsticks. If you’ve ever wondered why the Asians eat noodles with chopsticks but not the forks as the Italian use to eat pasta, start scrolling down for the answer!
It can’t be an Asian meal without chopsticks
Chopsticks are not only eating utensils but also the soul of some Asian nations. They are the familiar items in the culinary life of many Asian countries like Thailand, China, Vietnam, and so on. However, chopsticks in different countries have their own characteristics due to different cultures. Chopsticks were invented around 1800 BC. At first, people used big chopsticks to cook until 200 BC, the oriental people knew how to use chopsticks as the main eating utensils.
The Japanese developed their chopsticks in a distinctive way. They have special types of chopsticks for different purposes with different names. Otemmoto is the chopsticks for eating while ryoribashi is the one for cooking. To transfer the cooked food to the dishes, the Japanese use a type of chopsticks called saibashi. Generally, Japanese chopsticks are sharp and pointed and often made of wood or bamboo. Because fish is the main menu of the old Japanese, the chopsticks here must be pointed so that diners can use it to pick out the fish bones.
Meanwhile, the Chinese chopsticks seem to be the longest (about 27 centimeters) and thickest. The original design is the square or round shape at the beginning and ending in either wide, blunt and flat tips. The Chinese chopsticks are long because, in the past, the Chinese lived with their big family with a large number of members and they often have dinner together. Since the dining table was very big, the chopsticks must be long so they can reach the dishes at the center.
On the other hand, the Korean chopsticks are flat and made of metal (usually silver). Back to the Choseon dynasty, the maid in the palace used silver to test whether the food was poisonous. However, the silver was too expensive for them to afford the round shape so they decided to make it flat for cost-saving. That’s how the flat silver chopsticks were born in Korea.
The Vietnamese learn how to use chopsticks since they were children
In Vietnam, chopsticks are made from metal (gold, silver, stainless steel), wood, bamboo, plastic and exquisitely decorated. The average length is about 25 centimeters and 0.5 centimeters thick. Meanwhile, the cooking chopsticks are longer (about 40 centimeters) and thicker (1 centimeter) so that they can protect the chef from the heat. In addition to that, in Vietnam, “chopstick culture” also expresses the care and love among people. At the beginning of the meal, one of the first steps is using clean chopsticks to offer food around. Besides, if you’re in search of some souvenirs to bring backs home, chopsticks can be a great idea.
While in Western families, parents let their babies enjoy their meals on their own, Vietnamese parents prefer feeding their babies until they go to school. As a result, one of the milestones of maturity here is when the kids know how to use chopsticks. In addition to that, Vietnamese people eat and cook mostly by chopsticks. Even with steamed rice or cakes, all of the tongs, spatulas, etc are replaced by a pair of chopsticks.
How to use chopsticks
Vietnamese food is no doubt one of the best food on earth. Like its neighbors, the Vietnamese use chopsticks with most of its dishes (except for soup). As a result, if you want to get a deep discovery in this cuisine, the very first mission is learning how to use chopsticks.