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Chopsticks vs. Western Cutlery

Which choice is better?


  • Total voters
    22

Plains-Cow

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I've always been interested in the discussion and debate about which is better: chopsticks or western-style cutlery. I think there are a lot of pros and cons of both. For the sake of this poll, we are not assuming that we are living in any other place or time other than the present in the developed world. After all, the most common eating "implement" has always been hands, and they work for just about anything in a pinch, not to mention that knives served double duty as forks for many people in history, too.

Also, it's important to decide what I mean by each term. For this thread/poll, "western cutlery" means a fork, a spoon, and a knife together. Chopsticks can be Japanese, Korean, or Chinese, though if you have a preference for a specific style (metal vs. wood, Japanese vs. Chinese) it's helpful to point out which you prefer if you're on team chopsticks. East Asian cultures use spoons as well when eating, particularly notable in the metal spoon x chopstick combo found commonly together in Korea, but for the sake of this poll, chopsticks are considered to be stand-alone items.

I feel like some of the major pros of each are:

Chopsticks:
-eat smaller bites of food to pace eating and better digestion while still being able to pick up larger foods with enough skill
-easier to carry around for travel, wash, and sterilize (especially the metal ones)
-improves dexterity and hand strength

Western Cutlery:
-easier to use without paying much attention to food, so allows for more absentminded eating
-specialized items for each meal's needs so that a greater diversity of cultural meals can be enjoyed without as much of a need to chop into smaller pieces before cooking
-easier to use for those with hand issues or a disability

What do you all think?

Looking forward to the discussion!

*votes are allowed to be changed
 
Byzantines invented the fork?
Yes. At least as a tool to use while eating - it probably was already used during cooking.

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The concultural cuisines have developed in synch with the eating utensils. Try eating a T-bone with chopsticks.
 
The concultural cuisines have developed in synch with the eating utensils. Try eating a T-bone with chopsticks.
I have seen people eat uncut steaks with chopsticks, though not one of those massive food-challenge-tier steaks. Even seen people pick whole slices of cake up with chopsticks one-handed only to take polite bites from it until it was gone.
 
For this thread/poll, "western cutlery" means a fork, a spoon, and a knife together.
It's kind of unfair to compare 3 utensils to 1. Chopsticks do roughly the same thing as a fork. They bring solid food to your mouth. But a spoon and a knife are different, used for liquids and cutting respectively, which the fork/chopsticks can't compete with.
 
It's kind of unfair to compare 3 utensils to 1. Chopsticks do roughly the same thing as a fork. They bring solid food to your mouth. But a spoon and a knife are different, used for liquids and cutting respectively, which the fork/chopsticks can't compete with.
It's not necessarily meant to be a fair contest. I'm attempting to see if chopsticks can take on the trio of what you'd find at a western-style restaurant vs. an eastern-style one. Spoons are not typically present unless delivered with soups. I think that chopsticks can beat any western cutlery as an individual piece vs. piece fight.
 
Eating styles are certainly dependent upon culture and the food being consumed. I use forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks and fingers regularly depending upon what the food is. When eating food in China, chopsticks are definitely superior. When eating in the Western world, a fork and knife are usually best. Spoons show up everywhere there is soup.
 
I use chopsticks for East and Southeast Asian food and a fork for everything else, but mainly out of a desire to fit in. I think the only food for which chopsticks are mechanically superior to a fork is sushi.
 
My first experience with chopsticks was in 1985, at a Chinese restaurant not far from here. I was part of the concom (convention committee) for NonCon 8, to be held in Red Deer. NonCon was a regional science fiction convention, held on Thanksgiving weekend in various cities in Alberta - usually in Edmonton or Calgary, though we had it twice in Banff and once in Red Deer. The committee included people from Calgary, Edmonton, and Red Deer.

The reason for the dinner at the restaurant was a night-before-the-convention get-together with our Guest of Honor, author John Varley (neither NonCon nor Con-Version ever invited actor guests; it was always authors, editors, artists, or people doing educational programming). My boyfriend (also on the committee) picked me up from my music theory lesson, and we went to the restaurant...

... where the people in charge of the committee had arbitrarily decided that everyone was going to use chopsticks. I'd never used them before, and had no idea how to even start. The people on either side showed me and I honestly did try, but soon realized it was hopeless. Someone asked the waiter to bring me a fork, which was embarrassing, but at least I could manage to eat.

Eventually I did sort of manage to figure out chopsticks. Barely. Not well enough to risk humiliating myself in public, but I tried them at home. And that was back when my hands and fingers had good dexterity from lots of writing, sewing, typing, and music.

I couldn't possibly manage them now. These days it's a challenge to pick up a pen and write my own name.


On the issue of forks... in the SCA, purists don't include forks in their nef kits (feasts are always a bring-your-own-dishes affair). A standard nef kit consists of a plate or trencher, bowl, goblet, tankard, or drinking horn, a couple of candles + candleholders, a tablecloth, and whatever your cutlery is. My trencher and bowls were made of wood, my goblet was stoneware, I used regular 20th century candles (but got a nifty couple of sets of candlesticks at a swap meet for a whopping 50 cents each), and I decided that I would use normal cutlery - including a fork, thankyouverymuch. No eating daggers, and no mucking around with fingers when a fork would do the job.
 
It's not necessarily meant to be a fair contest. I'm attempting to see if chopsticks can take on the trio of what you'd find at a western-style restaurant vs. an eastern-style one. Spoons are not typically present unless delivered with soups. I think that chopsticks can beat any western cutlery as an individual piece vs. piece fight.
I think fork vs. chopsticks would be a much more interesting vote than you think it would. I think fork would win, but if this was posted on an asian forum, chopsticks would easily win. Bias to what one is more familiar with (I vote fork).
 
voted chopsticks, but only under the assumption that i could have all the food i eat cut into more manageable sized chunks during the pre-serving phase. like, cook a full steak, then cut it into chunks, then serve, then eat with chopsticks. i already prefer chopsticks for a bunch of finger foods that get one's hands messy like barbeque ribs and cheetos because sensory issues, so id much rather have to precut some things i otherwise wouldnt need to, than deal with getting bbq sauce or cheeto dust on my fingers. as for soups, i'd just lift the bowl to my face like its a really wide mug, and any solids id eat with chopsticks
 
I think fork vs. chopsticks would be a much more interesting vote than you think it would. I think fork would win, but if this was posted on an asian forum, chopsticks would easily win. Bias to what one is more familiar with (I vote fork).
Surprising. I feel like chopsticks are superior to forks in just about every way aside from if you have a hand disability of some kind.

I use chopsticks for East and Southeast Asian food and a fork for everything else, but mainly out of a desire to fit in. I think the only food for which chopsticks are mechanically superior to a fork is sushi.
Do you have a preference for a type of chopstick?

voted chopsticks, but only under the assumption that i could have all the food i eat cut into more manageable sized chunks during the pre-serving phase. like, cook a full steak, then cut it into chunks, then serve, then eat with chopsticks. i already prefer chopsticks for a bunch of finger foods that get one's hands messy like barbeque ribs and cheetos because sensory issues, so id much rather have to precut some things i otherwise wouldnt need to, than deal with getting bbq sauce or cheeto dust on my fingers. as for soups, i'd just lift the bowl to my face like its a really wide mug, and any solids id eat with chopsticks
I don't really use spoons as-is and prefer to sip from the bowl like it's a cup. I also like those meal mugs that make it even easier.

Eating styles are certainly dependent upon culture and the food being consumed. I use forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks and fingers regularly depending upon what the food is. When eating food in China, chopsticks are definitely superior. When eating in the Western world, a fork and knife are usually best. Spoons show up everywhere there is soup.
Well, what if you have to choose between the three regardless of where you are?
 
Well, what if you have to choose between the three regardless of where you are?
While I was in China, I had no choice and used chopsticks (and sometimes fingers) everyday for 6 weeks. When I was in England I used forks (and knives when cutting was called for). When I am at home, I use forks, chopsticks and fingers as appropriate.
 
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While I was in China, I had no choice and used chopsticks (and sometimes fingers) everyday for 6 weeks.
Same for me when I was in Korea, and I became quite proficient with them. Nowadays when the family gets Chinese they like to use chopsticks, presumably for the novelty, but I use western utensils as I've no desire to use chopsticks anymore.
 
Forks all the way.

Chopsticks can never give you the satisfaction of stabbing something. Unless you try WAY too hard.
 
As Fork-certified I simply have no choice but when it comes to apples - nothing, I mean nothing beats eating slices of it directly from knife =))
 
I've been using chopsticks since the 70s and enjoy them as an eating tool.
 
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