Chopsticks should be a familiar sight at most east Asian-style restaurants. Chinese eateries, Japanese bistros, Vietnamese diners, and, of course, our own Lynnwood Korean BBQ restaurant all feature the continent’s favorite eating utensils. What you might not realize, however, is that not every set of chopsticks is the same. Indeed, the sticks most often used in Korea have a distinct cultural style that sets them apart from those used in other countries.
The average American diner is likely to be most familiar with simple wooden or bamboo chopsticks, since these are cheaply made and resemble styles favored by much of the chopstick-using countries. What most sets Korean chopsticks apart is the fact that they’re often made from stainless steel. These Korean sticks are often on the short side with a slender, rectangular cross section that tapers off into a round tip. The grips of these sticks are frequently decorated with an ornate engraving, making them the easiest chopsticks to identify by culture.