Chopstick FAQs - Answers to Common Questions

Chopstick Descriptions

To help you select your chopsticks we have included descriptions of the upper handle profile and tip design features for all the chopsticks in our store. Use this guide to choose the style of chopstick that best suits your needs.

Profile - The handles of chopsticks come in a variety of shapes. Most chopsticks are a blended shape of round with a slight squaring of the faces.

Square: Square to mostly square with some rounding of the edges.
Round: Perfectly round handles.
Triangle: Triangular shaped with rounded edges.
Blended: Almost round with some slight squaring of the faces.

Tips - Some chopsticks have carving or texturing of the finish to help grip foods. If no description of the tip is given there is no texturing or carving on the chopstick tips.

Grooved: Grooved rings have been carved around the tip for about the first 2 inches.
Textured: A slight texture or roughness has been applied to the finish for about the first 2 inches.

How many chopsticks am I getting? - We only sell PAIRS of chopsticks. So if you order a quantity of 1, you will receive 1 pair of chopsticks.

Chopstick Origins

Traditional Style Differences

Chopsticks from different parts of Asia traditionally have distinct differences in style and construction. Japanese chopsticks are typically about 9 inches long, generally have anything but round profiles (meaning square, rounded square, hexagon, triangle, octagon, etc.), taper to a fine tip, and feature sophisticated lacquer and finish. Chinese chopsticks traditionally are about 10.5 inches long, feature round or square profiles, have a larger tip that is frequently cut and not rounded, and have lighter lacquer finishes. Chopsticks from Thailand and Vietnam are long like Chinese chopsticks, have round or square profiles, have tips more tapered than Chinese but less than Japanese chopsticks, and relish in their wood and exotic material inlays with no finish except hand polishing of the wood.

Modern Manufacturing Differences

Today China creates a seemingly endless array of what we would call "everyday" Japanese style chopsticks for the export market. "Everyday" Japanese style chopsticks are those that use primarily a decal for the design and are mass produced for use in everyday eating. Many Chinese made chopsticks have the same designs as Japanese made counterparts. However in our experience the Chinese made Japanese style chopsticks tend to have inferior or at least a different level of attention given to the finish work and construction quality, showing blemishes in the lacquer, use of softer woods, inconsistency of shape and poorer quality design of the overlay decal. For this reason we generally sell Japanese made Japanese style chopsticks which cost a bit more.

We do not see Chinese made Japanese style chopsticks in the hand-made and specialty finished chopsticks, which generally includes most Japanese chopsticks priced $8 and up. In fact each region or country's more unique, elaborate, handcrafted styles still come only from their fine indigenous craftspeople.

Instructions for use and care of chopsticks

• After use, wash with hot water and wipe dry with a soft cloth.
• It is possible for warping or discoloration to occur, so please store the chopsticks out of direct sunlight.
• Regarding protecting the paint or designs on the chopsticks, do not place the chopsticks in or near fire or extremely hot water.
• Please do not use brillo pads or abrasive cleansers on the chopsticks.
• Do not use the chopsticks with dish washers, dish dryers, or microwaves.
• If the chopsticks' paint becomes chipped or cracked, please replace the chopsticks as soon as possible.
• The ends of the chopsticks are sharp, so children should be especially careful when using.
• Please do not use the chopsticks for anything other than eating.

How Do You Spell Chopsticks?

We've been around chopsticks for a very long time and we seen chopsticks spelled in many a creative way - such as chop sticks or chopstix. In English they are generally spelled "chopsticks." The origins of the English word chopsticks is believed to come from Chinese Pidgin English from chop chop meaning "quickly." The earliest known written English use of the word appears in William Dampier's 1699 book Voyages and Descriptions though the Italian traveler Ricci Matteo in his book Notes on China about 100 years earlier was one of the first to describe chopsticks to Europeans.

In Japan chopsticks are called hashi (??). When the accent is on the HA of hashi it means chopsticks. When the accent is on the SHI of hashi, the word means bridge. The are also commonly known as otemoto (????) which you may see printed on wrappers of disposable chopsticks.

In China chopsticks have been called by many names. Over 2,000 years ago during the Qin Dynasty they were called jia. Later in the Han Dynasty they were called zhu and their character was a combination of the radicals "bamboo" and "assistance." Later zhu became a combination of "bamboo" and "cook." During the Ming Dynasty the word zhu took on a taboo as it also meant "stop" and "shipworm" so the name changed to what is now kuaizi (?) meaning "quick bamboo."

In Korea the word is jeotgarak (???) a combination of jeo "chopsticks" and garak "stick."