Who doesn’t like using chopsticks when eating their authentic Thai, Japanese, Chinese or other Asian style of dish? I know I do. Ever since I was taught as a child, using chopsticks was always a pleasure and made the meal taste better.
But the big question is, what types of chopstick do you use?
In this guide we will look at different materials and review some of the best chopsticks including beginner friendly models.
Buy Chopsticks Like A Pro – Types Of Chopsticks
What do you need to look for when buying chopsticks? The biggest selling point is the material they are made from. Bamboo naturally fights bacteria, but it does need extra care and the occasional rub down with mineral oil to keep the fibers strong.
Unfinished wood is something which should only be used when you’re planning on throwing away the chopsticks afterwards. They are sterile when you open the pack, however, once you use them, bacteria seeps into the wood making them impossible to clean and re-sterilize.
Then there is lacquered wood and bamboo. Both are reusable but must be washed with care.
Steel and titanium are not only sleek in design, but are heat resistant and dishwasher safe. This would be an amazing option if you plan on cooking with chopsticks, but they do tend to be slippery when trying to eat with them.
Plastic is another dishwasher safe option, but I always have my doubts when it comes to cooking with a plastic utensil.
Don’t forget about shape. This can make a difference to how you handle the chopstick as well.
Square chopsticks are easier to hold and can be less slippery than their rounded counterparts. They also sit against the side of the bowl a lot more comfortably, preventing your sticks from rolling around the bowl’s edges.
However, if you are experienced and have confidence in your chopstick handling abilities, then the rounded chopsticks do give an elegant and sophisticated look.
Compare & Review: Top 7 Best Chopsticks
1. FinessCity Titanium Chopsticks
These chopsticks come with a strong aluminum case which allows for easy storage and travel, so great to take with you on camping trips and while on the road.
You can even choose the color of the case – pink, grey, purple, orange or blue. The bottom of the case has two divots that the tips of the chopsticks rest in to prevent them from falling out when you crack it open.
They are dishwasher safe, so easy to clean. These sticks taper to a nice fine point but aren’t sharp at the ends. Because they are metal, you will find them “slippery” with food.
However, they are at risk of fading and not keeping their shiny, silver coloring.
2. Totally Bamboo Reusable Chopsticks
Coming in a pack of five, you’ll find some serious value for money here for the whole family. Being bamboo, they need a little extra care when it comes to cleaning and maintenance for reuse. Hand washing only – no quick dishwasher option here.
You’ll also need to periodically apply some Totally Bamboo’s mineral oil to keep the fibers strong and looking pristine. These are lighter to hold and a beginner chopstick user may find grasping them a little difficult to begin with.
I wouldn’t use these to cook with, as the heat from cooking can warp the bamboo. For eating, they do have a little more grip on the food over metal chopsticks.
Be careful where you purchase these, as people have ordered “Totally Bamboo” chopsticks and received a cheap, knockoff, no-name brand which are lacquer-coated.
3. Youmi Japanese Natural Wood Chopstick Set
First, this set looks amazing. The different colored wood options certainly appeal to me greatly, and with five different color variations per box – definitely a winner!
They are lightweight and easy to hold, so great for someone with less refined chopstick skills. To make them reusable, they are lacquered with food-grade lacquer from a lacquer tree. This always concerns me, because the lacquer peeling after a few washes is always a real concern.
Because they are lacquered, gripping food can be a little more challenging due to the slippery surface of the chopstick.
To help keep the lacquer from peeling, they need to be hand-washed and kept away from hot water. This also means they would not be ideal for cooking, due to the high heat.
4. Stainless Steel Chopsticks Metal Chinese Chopsticks
Coming with a lifetime guarantee – an instant attraction – these chopsticks are 9.45-inches in length. They are lightweight, reusable and dishwasher safe.
With 10 in the packet, this set is great for the larger family, or for someone who is a regular user and wants a few pairs handy so they’re not washing every day.
They aren’t super slippery with food, but it’s still a bit of a risk when using stainless steel chopsticks that you will lose a little bit of grip.
They have an anti-hot design, which means they shouldn’t transfer heat through the length if you decide to cook with them, which is a big bonus.
Made with commercial grade stainless steel, they should last you a lifetime, and importantly, won’t warp or bend out of shape when you wash them.
5. Travel Chopsticks (Black Pink Sakura Cherry Blossom)
If you want something stylish with great looks, then this set will certainly capture your attention. The sticks themselves are black with gorgeous sakura blossoms painted on them –matching the design and color on the case.
Made from lacquered wood, these chopsticks are not good for cooking with. I wouldn’t recommend throwing these in the dishwasher either – the lacquer peeling off and warping of the chopstick could be a real risk.
However, they do have texture on the tips to help grip your food, so would be a lot easier to eat with than most other chopsticks.
If you travel, the case is a lovely bonus to help protect your chopsticks while in your bag. Overall, a pretty good choice if you take the time to hand-wash them after use, but keep in mind you only get the single pair with this purchase.
6. Reusable Luxury Chopstick Set (Melamine Chopsticks)
These chopsticks are longer than the previously mentioned versions, measuring in at 10.6-inches (or 27-cm) in length. Coming in a set of five, this is a one-time purchase for any sized family.
The big question – what is melamine? It’s a white, crystalline chemical – different from plastic – however, it’s mostly combined with formaldehyde to create a type of plastic, so it’s not resilient to high temperatures.
I wouldn’t use a plastic spoon to cook with, so I personally wouldn’t use a plastic pair of chopsticks to cook with either. It might be the best option to hand wash these instead of throwing them into the dishwasher.
They can be a little slippery to eat with as well, so keep that in mind if you are looking at these for strictly eating.
7. Foster (Goldage) Fiberglass Dishwasher-Safe Chopsticks
Made of fiberglass, these chopsticks are dishwasher safe, lighter in weight than metal, and easy to use. With a promise of a two to five-year lifetime, these chopsticks are seriously sleek in design and have an amazing look about them.
They are square in design, so easy to hold for the inexperienced chopstick user, as well as the more experienced. They have textured tips to avoid food slipping away from you as well, although they have been known to still be a little slippery.
The ends aren’t as small as some of the previous chopsticks and are a little bulkier. If your preference is for a smaller, sharper tip on the end, these won’t be you.
Can You Reuse Wooden Chopsticks?
If they are lacquered, then yes. If they are bare wood, then bacteria can seep into the wood and cause some issues down the line.
Bamboo, however, naturally fights bacteria, so this would be a better option than unprotected wood. Keep in mind, lacquered wood requires some care when washing and bamboo chopsticks can also require some regular oil treatments to keep them in great condition.
Are Lacquered Chopsticks Safe?
If they are well looked after and hand-washed, then yes, they are. They should be washed immediately after use in warm, soapy water.
Long exposure to water or heat, can cause the lacquer to start peeling away from the wood. If this happens, the chopstick should be thrown away.
Why Are Chopsticks Slippery?
Round chopsticks tend to be slipperier than square chopsticks, due to the fact that they can’t naturally get a good grip on food.
Wood chopsticks tend to be less slippery, as the natural texture of the wood gives them something to grip the food with. This is why metal chopsticks can be more difficult to use, especially if there is no textured pattern on the bottom of the stick.
What’s The Difference Between Japanese vs. Chinese Chopsticks?
Japanese chopsticks tend to be shorter and have a tapered end towards the end of the stick which is used to pick up food. Traditionally, they are made of wood or bamboo, and are often lacquered for protection and to make them reusable.
They can also be made of ivory, bone, and other materials for special occasions or guests.
Chinese chopsticks are usually made of unfinished wood, and are square with a blunt end. They also tend to be longer and thicker than Japanese chopsticks.
Are Chopsticks Dishwasher Safe?
Metal and fiberglass chopsticks are all dishwasher safe. Unfinished wood chopsticks should not be reused, and therefore not be washed. Treated wood and bamboo chopsticks, usually finished with a lacquer, should be hand-washed immediately after use.
The extreme heat in a dishwasher can cause the lacquer to crack and peel, and cause the stick itself to warp and lose its shape.
I love the look of steel, so in my bias I would go for a shiny pair over a wooden pair. If I was to ignore the looks, I would split my decision based on what I was planning to use my chopsticks for.
For cooking, it would have to be the Stainless-Steel Chopsticks Metal Chinese Chopsticks because they won’t warp, peel or become damaged with the heat from cooking. However, they will heat up so you need to be extra careful with them.
However, for eating purposes, the Youmi Japanese Natural Wood Chopstick Set takes my top pick because of the gorgeous coloration of the wood. I would personally just need to remain disciplined when it came to hand washing these chopsticks, instead of throwing them into the dishwasher.