* This post is written by Daniel Nur Sentana, one of the Korea Blog’s Worldwide Korea Bloggers.
Chopstick is mainly use in Asia as cutlery. Sometimes people think that chopstick is just chopstick but it isn’t. There are three main chopstick style in Asia, it’s Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. Each of these chopstick is different. Cutlery that we see now is not made in one day. It has been through a long time period not just years, it even take century. By time goes, people made innovation to make their best and the most suitable tools for them. Culture and food also give influence to the cutlery.
Among of these three main chopstick in Asia, Korean chopstick have it’s identity that indicate “this is Korean chopstick” I also feel this when firstly use Korean chopstick. In Indonesia, common cutlery is spoon and fork. Sometimes use hands for traditional food and sometimes chopstick for noodle. So the first time I use Korean chopstick is surprised. Korean chopstick don’t have round shape but almost flat. Korean chopstick have flat side and the tip form square. It also use metal or stainless steel as their material while gold and silver also available. From my experience this flat shape make this chopstick hold food stronger. Also it easier to take bean with this chopstick than chopstick with round shape.
Arirang have program called WHY DO KOREANS. One of the episodes explain about metal chopstick or known as Korean chopstick. It is said that among three main chopstick in Asia, Korean chopstick is between them. Chinese chopstick is design for take big piece of food while Japanese chopstick is design to eat fish because have sharp edges. Height of Korean chopstick is also the middle. Chinese chopstick has longer chopstick. While Japanese chopstick is shorter chopstick because they eating with hold their bowl.
According to an article in Wikipedia, it is said that in the past, Joseon Dynasty period, chopstick & spoon for king is use silver material that can detect poison. The chopstick and spoon will tarnish when have contact with poison such as sulfur and arsenic. Nowadays, chopstick with gold and silver material is still available and use for gift. The price for these chopstick and spoon can reach hundred US dollars.
Another identity of Korean chopstick is there is carving at the chopstick. It can be words, plant, animal, or flowers. Other chopstick usually not carving on the chopstick just paint on them.
If you often watch Korean drama or Korean TV you’ve must seen this chopstick many times. I experience that eat with this Korean chopstick make me remember Korea. It will feel more Korean if you eat Korean food with Korean chopstick too. Why? Korean restaurant in my university not use metal chopstick but plastic chopstick. I can’t feel something. How about you? What do you think?