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National Chopsticks Day


Chopsticks were developed about 5,000 years ago in China. The pieces of food were small enough that they negated the need for knives at the dinner table, and chopsticks became staple utensils. It is also thought that Confucius, a vegetarian, advised people not to use knives at the table because knives would remind them of the slaughterhouse. Chinese chopsticks, called kuai-zi (quick little fellows), are usually 9 to 10 inches long and rectangular with a blunt end. By 500 CE, chopstick use had spread from China to present-day Vietnam, Korea, and Japan. In Japan, chopsticks were originally considered precious and were used exclusively for religious ceremonies. The earliest chopsticks used for eating looked like tweezers; they were made from one piece of bamboo that was joined at the top. By the 10th Century, chopsticks were being produced in two separate pieces. Japanese chopsticks differed in design from Chinese chopsticks in that they were rounded and came to a point; they were also shorter (7 inches long for females and 8 inches long for males). The Japanese usually made their chopsticks out of wood.The Japanese were also the first to create disposable wooden chopsticks (called wari-bashi), which appeared in 1878.

Five fun facts:

  1. In Chinese the word for chopstick -  筷子 means quick little bamboo fellow.
  2. The English word "chopstick" was apparently derived from the Chinese Pidgin English words "chop chop" - which means fast.
  3. In Japanese, chopsticks are called hashi.
  4. Chopsticks are traditionally held in the right hand, even by left-handed people. Although chopsticks may now be deployed by either hand, left-handed chopstick use is considered improper. This practice prevents a left-handed chopstick user from accidentally elbowing a right-handed user seated nearby.
  5. It is a huge breach of chopstick etiquette to impale a piece of food with one.

Recipes to eat with chopsticks:

  1. Tempura Sushi rolls- This is my go-to dinner when I haven’t gone grocery shopping. Who doesn’t have seaweed in the pantry and imitation crab in the freezer? Some people think of sushi as an appetizer, but this is a complete filling meal. I use homemade panko (my leftover challah processed) for the breadcrumbs.
  2. Tuna Stir-fry Over Whole-Wheat Vermicelli- Using cubed tuna in a stir-fry is unusual in a fantastic way. Combined with fresh veggies, edamame and whole-wheat pasta, this dish is teeming with nutrients and fiber. Because small batches are made at a time, stir-fries are a great way to cook for one, four or eight.
  3. Cool Soba with Citrus Chicken and Spinach- Refreshingly light and slightly sweet with a splash of sesame over soba—this is not your grandmother’s pasta dinner.
  4. Spicy Thai Beef Salad- This crunchy salad is nice light way to use leftover beef. Cut down on your chopping prep time by using shredded cabbage and carrots.
  5. Crispy Seitan Stir-Fry for Two - A flavorful sauce and lots of crunchy vegetables make this seitan stir-fry a quick and healthy choice for dinner tonight!

Click for more Asian recipes.

Nutrition Facts per Vegetable Egg Roll:

Calories:  153
Fat: 4  g
Carbohydrates: 25  g
Cholesterol: 0  mg
Sodium:  438 mg
Protein: 5  g