Where to buy chopsticks?
May 7, 2010 10:52 AM   Subscribe

Where should I buy chopsticks, and what should I look for?

I'm okay with online shopping, but if there's a store in Phoenix, AZ I could go to, that would be preferable. I'm looking for something cheap-ish, but durable.

Thanks, MeFi!
posted by reductiondesign to Shopping (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Find an asian supermarket. They will have plenty to choose from.
posted by sanko at 11:04 AM on May 7, 2010

Outside of the free chopsticks that come with takeout, I can't think of any chopsticks that aren't durable.
posted by Carillon at 11:12 AM on May 7, 2010

Here's my suggestion. We just wash and re use our chopsticks. I recommend if you look in person that you visit your local international district and aim for heavier, reusable wooden chopsticks. Avoid lamination -- it is pretty but makes your food slide away from you.
posted by bearwife at 11:16 AM on May 7, 2010

Best answer: If you don't really care about appearance/fashion, I'd recommend ironwood chopsticks. They tend to be pretty cheap, and more durable than standard wooden chopsticks. If you do care about looks, however, most cheaper lacquered chopsticks tend to see their paint wear, discolor, or chip over time. Like most things, it's a continuum. Durable chopsticks are cheap, pretty chopsticks are cheap, but durable pretty chopsticks are probably going to be $15+/pair which is leaving the cheapish range especially if you're buying multiples.

You might want to consider the collapsible titanium chopsticks that some online camping stores sell; they're not particularly cheap but they're certainly durable and will go just about anywhere with you.
posted by Phyltre at 11:21 AM on May 7, 2010

I suggest either un-laminated wood or plastic. Either would be available at any Asian grocery store and they are almost always incredibly cheap.

Plastic, or laminated wood can be a little harder to use, but honestly its not like it is actually difficult to eat with them, you just need to practice a bit.
posted by BobbyDigital at 11:21 AM on May 7, 2010

Buy Korean metal chopsticks. They are very flat that fit nicely for your thumb and index finger to grab them, they are still light, and they are very durable. They usually have matching spoons.
posted by sanskrtam at 11:22 AM on May 7, 2010

Agreed, Korean metal chopsticks are the way to go. They have slightly less gription than plain wood ones, but last much longer and go right in the dishwasher with your other utensils.
posted by mkultra at 11:34 AM on May 7, 2010

Thirding Korean steel chopsticks. Not merely are they indestructible, for ~$3 you get them in a set with a Korean soup spoon, the prince of utensils.
posted by scruss at 11:39 AM on May 7, 2010

Best answer: Check out Lee Lee Oriental Market, they have an entire aisle that's dedicated to plates and chopsticks.
posted by arianell at 11:51 AM on May 7, 2010

Cost Plus World Market has some nice ones. I've never bought them there myself, but have friends who ahve, and they use them daily and love them. They'll be more expensive than ones from Asian markets, but perhaps more decorated also.

There's one at 1750 East Camelback in Phoenix, and also one in Tempe
posted by caveat at 12:00 PM on May 7, 2010

Seconding Lee Lee. They definitely have a giant selection of chop sticks.
posted by The Potate at 3:05 PM on May 7, 2010

It really depends on what kind you want. Chinese chopsticks are different from Japanese chopsticks are different from Korean Chopsticks are different from Vietnamese chopsticks are different from Thai chopsticks (oh, wait). If there's anywhere local that you can go to actually feel the chopsticks in your hand, that's the best way to buy them, IMO.
posted by Lexica at 9:06 PM on May 7, 2010

The short version: go try out everything the store offers. If you can, hit multiple ethnic groceries or restaurants, because they should have different options. Find comfort. Materials are second.

The long version: What Lexica said about being the world having very different, and phooey on all of you who think the Korean chopstick is the ideal. (Personally, I find that after years of Japanese chopsticks, I really don't like the fat-fingered Chinese ones as much, and have never liked the Korean ones.) If you are really into the bento-fashion, you might also look for the mai-hashi eco-chopsticks that come in their own little case, and many of which unscrew into two separate pieces for more compact travel.

After finding a good shape, get a good length. Most of mine are about 23 cm. You should also consider a long set, about 40 cm, for cooking.

Materials-wise, I don't see chopsticks as long-term investments (though a good pair of wood-with-mother-of-pearl-inlay can easily run $100 in Japan), and advise you to get what you like. Things that are painted or patterned with plastic can have a shorter life, but if you like them, get them anyway. My favorite chopsticks are Japanese style with pointed non-business ends, colored to look like pencils. EVERYONE LOVES THEM and I use them all the time. I have also had a variety of wooden ones over the years.
posted by whatzit at 11:42 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Get these. They are awesome.
posted by misozaki at 1:39 AM on May 8, 2010

Yeah, I think you should just go to the store and try them. I'm pretty good with chopsticks and really don't like using the Korean metal ones. It probably depends on what kind of grip you use.

You might look into a couple pairs with ridges on the food end, which are usually used for cooking but can be nice just for eating slipperier foods or doing minor kitchen tasks--and yes, a long set with the ridges on the end as well are really wonderful. I find they've replaced tongs and spatulas much of the time for me, when I flip, turn, and pick up certain things.
posted by wintersweet at 1:56 PM on May 8, 2010

Korean metal chopsticks are the best. Plastic is the worst.
posted by smorange at 7:13 PM on May 9, 2010

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