Chopsticks University 101

Chopsticks have long been a part of Asian dining as a helping hand. But on top of their distinction and function as a staple Asian eating utensil, they are regarded as a means of honoring the food, the diner, the guest, the place, and the occasion for which they are used as dining implements, as well as prized as a symbol for friendship, unity, abundance, and prosperity. Chopsticks are made to make eating, serving, and cooking Asian foods so much easier. With their pair of attractive sticks with equal lengths, you will have the perfect tools to grip, pick, stir, or rip your favorite Asian foods, like fish, sushi, dumplings, noodles, vegetables, sweet cakes, rice, and a lot more.

Brief History of Chopsticks

The history of chopsticks can be traced back to the ancient times about more than 5000 years ago when the Chinese invented them probably from twigs that were cut off from trees for the purpose of stirring and nipping foods from their steamed and boiled dishes, which were cooked in large pots. Then, chopsticks were known as Zhu – a term, which was synonymous to a Chinese word that means Stop – and they were long enough to reach deep pots of boiling oil or water. Alongside their popularity during the Xia Dynasty in the 13th century B.C. as cooking utensils, chopsticks were made in various shapes and in16th century during the Shang Dynasty, they were created as pairs of 6 to 13-inch sticks of the same length using materials, like bamboo, bronze, silver, wood, and ivory.

By 500 A.D., the use of the chopsticks has spread to other Asian countries, like Vietnam and Japan. During the Han Dynasty, the Chinese people started to use the chopsticks as eating utensils and during the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644 A.D.), they were used for serving foods on the table and for eating, they acquired their present shape with blunted ends, and they were started to be referred to by the Chinese people, especially by the fisher folks of the Zhejiang Province in China, as Kuai Zi, which means swift or quick and which term was coined from the words for bamboo, the most popular material that is used for making chopsticks, and cooking utensils, the original use of the chopsticks.

According to the Rites of Zhou, which is an ancient ritual text from the Zhou Dynasty, the chopsticks were used as eating utensils on happy occasions and as such, they were typically made of hawthorn wood while the special varieties, which were reserved for the guests, were made of mulberry wood. Over the centuries, the chopsticks were not only made from many different types of materials like wood and bamboo being the most popular, metals like silver and gold, precious stones like jade, and even from animal bones, they were also painted, engraved, and adorned with pearls and other expensive embellishing, to become functional works of art.

Parts and Types of Chopsticks

Here on, we make it easy for you to distinguish your chopsticks in three (3) parts: The tip, which refers to the part which may feature a design; the handle, which is the middle part and is used to hold the chopsticks, and the end, which refers to the part that is used to grip food. Occasionally, we use the term profile to refer to the part of the chopsticks between the tip and the handle.

Traveling and dining across Asia, especially in the East and Southeast Asian countries, you will find the chopsticks in various forms, lengths, and designs but certain features distinguish the three (3) main types of Asian chopsticks one from each other:

  • Chinese chopsticks (Kuaizi) have rounded or square profile, they measure about 10.5 inches long, and taper to a blunt end.
  • Japanese chopsticks (Hashi) have non-rounded profile, e.g., square, triangle, or faceted, are 7 to 8 inches long, and they taper to a fine end or with a sharp edge.
  • Korean chopsticks (Jeotgarak) are typically made of stainless steel, have ornately-carved profile that is almost flat, have square ends that are rough, which offset the slippery nature of steel, and they are used together with a spoon.

Using Chopsticks for Dining and Gifts

Chopsticks present many exciting uses for your dining, cooking, entertaining, and special occasions' gift-giving needs.

As eating utensils, you can take advantage of their colors, as well as their painted, engraved, and embedded motifs to make your food and table setting look more interesting. Certain chopstick styles, for one, look simple yet perfect for casual and everyday dining, as well as for simple table setting styles, which are meant to flaunt the delicious color of an Asian dish. For your special occasions and entertaining needs, there are also the Double Happiness chopsticks, Dragon chopsticks, personalized chopsticks, and other chopstick styles that are decorated with motifs that are regarded auspicious for the occasion or which appear to honor your guest.

As a gift, chopsticks are highly regarded by Asians as a lucky symbol for prosperity, good health, and abundance, thus getting a pair of chopsticks, whatever the occasion, often sends a feeling of elation as such pair of chopsticks is believed to shower the recipient with an abundant supply of foods and graces to enjoy his or her chopsticks with. In the Chinese culture, chopsticks are regarded as symbols of happiness, thus it is customary to bring out the best set of chopsticks for the birthday, Chinese New Year, and special occasion's feast, as well as to give family, friends, relatives, business partners, loved ones, and acquaintances chopsticks for gifts.

How chopsticks go in pairs make them an auspicious symbol for a couple's unity, thus parents, relatives, and friends give chopsticks as wedding gifts with a wish that the happy couple will never part from each other and give birth to a baby soon after the wedding. Business partners and friends are also believed to be showered with the wishes for unity with the gift of chopsticks. Chopsticks are certainly for all not only for dining, but also for sharing happiness, memories, and the blessings of abundance between each other.

Shop your perfect chopsticks here on, as well as get exclusive insights on how to use chopsticks to jazz-up your everyday meals and special occasion's table setting, how to personalize chopsticks, and many more!