So you think if you’ve seen one pair, you’ve seen them all? Wrong! Chopsticks vary greatly from (Asian) country to country – in their design and the way they are used.
Each year, some 25 million trees are felled to produce chopsticks in China alone. A single tree provides 4000 chopsticks, which are generally 27 centimeters long – longer than elsewhere in Asia.
Skewering is a no no
Japanese chopsticks are shorter and more delicate. Ideally, they measure one-and-a-half times the distance between thumb and first finger. Whatever you do, don’t skewer your food or stand your chopsticks upright in the rice. The latter is only done at memorial services.
Spooning is better
In China and Japan, it’s perfectly acceptable to raise your bowl to your lips and shovel rice into your mouth with chopsticks. In Korea, it’s considered bad manners, so the bowl stays on the table and everybody uses a spoon.