BYO Chopstix

Did you know that China produces 68Bn disposable chopstix per year? That is roughly 60/person. Most of these are sold to small restaurants implying that the average chinese eat out once out of every 6 days. Hmm, I don’t think KFC uses chopstix nor does McDonalds so that would even increase the number of times the Chinese eat out.

In fact, this rise in usage of chopstix has really taken the country’s environmentalists at heart. The Go Green environmental policy has taken ahold so strongly in China that Li Yuchun, last year’s China Supergirl winner, (China’s rendition of American Idol) sang a song about the need to stop using disposable chopstix to save the environment and she won. I feel the Chinese are starting to hate on chopstix…

I personally hate those disposable chopstix because I occasionally would break them unevenly such that I would poke myself with a shredded piece of wood in the side of my mouth or unfailingly would flip one off my rice dish onto the floor and ask for another pair. Dui Bu Qi, Qing zai lai yi ge kuaize. My chopstix ratio: meals eaten were well over 2:1 during my time in China.

So after reading this, it made me think if I were to choose my own chopstix to carry around with me and eat out with which ones would they be?

Would they be the delicate, well-designed, and delightful Japanese chopstix that are so pointed on the end they could be used to thread a button on a sleeve or as a discreet Samurai weapon? During my Sunday night dining fests with my host family, I used to poke myself so much that I could only drink miso soup on Mondays. On another note, you’d better not bring those, there are some things that the Chinese and Japanese have tremendous competitive spirits over and one odd thing is their chopstix. I once had a Shanghai girl tell me, “I’d never eat with Japanese chopstix; I’d rather starve to death.”

Perhaps the cold, silver, steel, kimchee stirring chopstix from Korea would be a good option? Afterwards, you could use them as a pair of nunchuks. How about the dark wooden Yew Taiwanese chopstix that preserve the taste of dan dan mien so sumptuously that your tongue cannot stop linking them? It is kind of like you how can’t stop licking your fingers after eating glazed Krispy Kreme Donuts and 3 hours later you have a quick lick hoping to get the taste just one more time.

Don’t forget the Vietnamese who have made plastic chopstix so that pho broth will bead up on it like a raindrop on a lily pad and bean sprouts will stick to one of them magically, without falling. I always had the feeling if I waived them around enough, something magical would happen.

Well, at last, I guess you could always use the porcelain chinese chopstix which have a square end by your hand and a round dull point at the end and break when you drop them on the floor, like everything else does in China. Or better yet, bamboo chopstix from Tibet which I once shot a spit ball through at my buddy Nate while drunk in a Tibetan jaozi shop which we remembered because we thought they were ‘jaws’ of some animal.

Well, there is no point to this other than my amazement of how many chopstix are used in China and how well I remember the different chopstix in Asia. If you go for the Olympics, save the environment and bring your own, but definately not the Japanese or you may go hungry.

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