You can call a spade and spade, but Korean chopsticks aren’t quite similar to other chopsticks. In fact, Korean, Chinese, and Japanese chopsticks each have their own differences. For one, Korean chopsticks are the only ones in Asia that are made from metal.
The use of such chopsticks goes back to the Baekje period when royalty used bronze implements. Dated about 1200 BC, chopsticks were most probably taken from China during an invasion and later introduced in other Asian countries.
Here are 10 interesting facts about Korean chopsticks:
1. Colour-Changing Chopsticks: In ancient times Korean Royal families used chopsticks made of silver as silver changes colour when it comes in contact with poisonous ingredients.
2. Koreans believe that it is more hygienic to eat with stainless steel chopsticks.
3. Korean chopsticks are only laid on the left side when the food is being prepared for the funeral or the memorial for a deceased family member.
4. Korean chopsticks are flat exactly like the handle of a fork or a spoon, rather than square or round like other chopsticks, because it helps in holding the food with a stronger grip.
5. Unlike the Chinese chopsticks which are soft in the end, Korean chopsticks have been roughed up on the end so that the food doesn’t slip out and they have a better grip.
6. Korean chopsticks are shorter than Chinese chopsticks but longer than Japanese chopsticks, their length is in the middle of the two. Korean chopsticks are shorter in length as Korean meals are always family-style, so a medium sized chopstick works fine.
7. When resting chopsticks down on the table next to a spoon, Koreans never place the chopstick on the left side of the spoon.
8. Korean chopsticks are always paired with a spoon, as Koreans usually use a spoon to eat rice.
9. Korean chopsticks are made out of stainless steel.
10. Like most Asian cultures, Koreans never stick their chopsticks in rice as it is representative of incense sticks placed upright in a bowl at funerals for ancestral worship, which is known to be an offering for the spirits.
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