When visiting a Korean restaurant, someone’s home for dinner, or traveling, you’re likely to see metal chopsticks like these above. Most Westerners are used to chopsticks being the cheap, breakable ones you see in teriyaki restaurants (waribashi 割り箸 in Japanese), or the long, thick ones you see in Chinese/Vietnamese restaurants.
The first time I ever seen or heard of metal Korean chopsticks was in Ireland. My wife became friends with a Korean family living there, and they invited us over for some good, Korean home cooking. This was years before I got interesting in Korean culture, etc, by the way. We were happy to meet other expats there, especially ones from Asia. Anyhow, I was totally surprised to see metal chopsticks, but the wife replied that these were pretty common in Korea.
Later, I saw them again when we went to Shin-Okubo for the first time:
Oftentimes, such chopsticks are a bit flat. They’re not a perfect rectangle as you see in other chopsticks. So, at first, they feel a bit awkward to use, plus they’re heavier and have a different “balance”. But after a while, you get used to them.
I’ve used them a few times since then. Lately, I find I like using them more and more. Because they are stainless steel, they fill more hygenic, and they won’t develop a smell or stain, which is useful when you eat lots of spicy foods. Plus, they’re fairly “sharp”, so it’s easy to grasp soft foods too.
The ones above were a gift we got from long ago, and we started using them more regularly now. You can find them in Korean markets for pretty cheap: $2-$3 for basic ones, and they’ll probably last you a long, long time.
Have readers used them before? What do you think?