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Chopsticks are eating utensils that were invented in China over 5,000 years ago. Today, they are popular for enjoying Asian cuisine all over the world. Some different types include bamboo or wooden, disposable, plastic, stainless steel and training chopsticks.
Bamboo and wood are the most common materials used to make chopsticks. Different wood tones may be combined to give an elegant look to the utensils. Fancy ones may have special symbols or animal figures carved on them.
Disposable chopsticks are made of wood or bamboo and are seen as an environmental issue because of the amount of wood used to make them that becomes garbage. Some manufacturers use only recycled wood or wood pieces left over from other uses.
Plastic chopsticks are seen as more environmentally appealing as they can be washed and reused. They are strong and last a long time, and this type are used by many Asian restaurants.
Stainless steel or silver chopsticks are popular in Korea. These metal utensils are often much flatter in shape than other types. Since steel is so strong, ones made of this material work well with the heat of Korean barbecue cuisine.
Japanese chopsticks are made in different thicknesses, weights and lengths for men, women and children. Training chopsticks known as Magical Chopsticks or the Chopsticks Assistant have a loop and notch system. Children practice with these them until they can master the regular ones.
Chopsticks can be very plain with no ornamentation whatsoever or be very ornate and intricately carved masterpieces. Another kind of chopstick besides the ones for eating are the type used for cooking. These are usually sturdier and longer than those used for eating. Cooking chopsticks are used for tasks such as stirring and deep frying. Chopstick rests serve the same purpose as spoon rests and keep the table and counter surfaces clean by holding the chopstick tips up.
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