- The English word “chopstick” may have derived from Chinese Pidgin English, in which “Chop Chop” meant “quickly”.
- Another possibility, is that the term is from chow (chow chow) which is also a pidgin word stemming from Southeast Asia meaning food, thus chopsticks would simply mean ‘food sticks’.
Using chopsticks to pick up food was first used by the Chinese. Later, other East Asian countries like Japan, Korea, Vietnam adopt this etiquette. Chopsticks are made of wood, metal, ceramics or even lacquer. If you are looking for a gift idea, a pair of nicely handcrafted chopsticks can be a good option.
In Vietnam, although there are rules when eating with chopsticks, they are quite simple to remember:
- Do not offer food to others using your chopsticks. You have to at least switch direction to the other end to use to offer food. The better way to do this is to use another clean / new pair of chopsticks.
- Do not put chopsticks straight up in a bowl of rice as it is a custom executed in a funeral to make offerings to the deities and the deceased.
- Rest the chopsticks properly on the side to signify a pause during the meals, and rest them on top of the bowl to let people know that you finish the meal.
- Often times, making too much sound when using chopsticks is considered rude and is not recommended.
Using chopsticks can be fun but can also be a hassle if you cannot use them correctly.