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Fork Over Chopsticks



  • Each of a pair of small, thin, tapered sticks of wood, ivory, or plastic, held together in one hand and used as eating utensils, especially by the Chinese, the Japanese, and other people in eastern Asia.


So you enter a restaurant, you’re quickly seated at a small table and given a menu covered in grease and maybe some leftover food from the guest before. Unable to speak the native language you’re given the menu that’s reserved for children who can’t read which includes pictures J As you look over the myriad of choices your waiter/waitress is impatiently standing closely, waiting for you to decide although you just turned the first page. After waiting more than thirty seconds without a reply, they leave and continue working about in the establishment. Finally seeing what your tummy really desires for this meal, you wave your hand to grab the waiter’s attention (yes, you wave it’s not rude) and point with a finger your soon to be meal. Ten minutes later they rush back with a delicious, oily looking dish of noodles (miàn​tiáo) with small pieces of chicken (jī ) and veggies (cài). Excitedly you reach down, only to see you’re not grabbing for the familiar metallic tool of choice, but instead two identical black plastic chopsticks. What would have taken maybe eight or nine minutes is now becoming a tiresome task requiring serious hand-eye coordination and advanced motor functions. You make the attempt; it’s hard, they fall, you must align them every so often. You look over your shoulder to see some locals watching and fighting back a bit of a chuckle at your expense. But, eventually you get down to a couple of noodles, which at this point is impossible to pick up because of their slipperiness, so you decide to call it quits and end this culinary workout. You sit back and bask in the triumph with your full tummy.

Way to go lǎo​wài, way to go.


After first getting to Asia and having to really start using chop sticks, I asked another expat while having dinner, “what’s the proper way to use chopsticks? Like, how are you supposed to use them?” Canadian Miya laughed from across the table with a mouthful of food and responses, “dude you’re picking up food with two wooden sticks and putting it in your mouth, it’s a miracle that it even works”. Touché

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