Chopsticks, the essential item, the entry point, to a life long romance with Chinese food. A pair of chopsticks is so much more than just a little pair of wooden or metal sticks. Using a pair of chopsticks requires a certain etiquette; a chopsticks master can be poised and elegant, while an under-educated user may appear crude and unsophisticated. Hell, proper use of chopsticks is a known method to easily attract members of the opposite sex (ok, maybe not that). Yong Wen Yeu, a graphic design student, produced a clean and easy handbook about chopsticks called, simply, Master of Chopsticks. This informative infographic can help you along the road to mastering chopsticks.
Yong Wen Yeu first introduces the history of chopsticks, and why the Chinese shied away from putting knives on the table, instead seeing chopsticks as the more peaceful tableware.
Contrary to common misconception, although many Asian cultures use chopsticks, the chopsticks are not exactly the same. For instance, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean chopsticks vary in material, size, and length. Yong Wen Yeu lists the words different countries use for chopsticks, below:
There are certain superstitions regarding how chopsticks should or should not be handled, and Yong Wen Yeu shows the dos and don’ts in his drawings. Old people often tell their children that the place where you hold the chopsticks is how far away your future spouse will live (and accordingly how far away you might have to move from your family). If your fingers are placed at the end of the chopsticks, that means you will marry somewhere extremely far-off.
One big taboo is standing your chopsticks upright in the bowl. When you are not using them, you should always either put them on the bowl or lie them on the table (or chopsticks rest if there is one). Standing them up in the bowl resembles the practice of standing incense in bowls for the dead.
Yong Wen Yeu ends his handbook with the basic chopstick skills. With these different ways of handling chopsticks, you can pick up rice, noodles, and even beans. You can also beat eggs with a pair of chopsticks, and break pieces of food apart. A little practice and you can soon be a chopsticks master
Image courtesy of Yong Wen Yeu on Behance.