Jun 04, 2023
Chopsticks Are An Unexpected Way To Ease Your Salad Experience
Chopsticks are commonly used in Asian cuisine; in the United States, they're available at Asian restaurants and often accompany Asian takeout. They're two thin, long utensils that, when held
Chopsticks are commonly used in Asian cuisine; in the United States, they're available at Asian restaurants and often accompany Asian takeout. They're two thin, long utensils that, when held correctly, make it easy to pick up any kind of food, from dumplings to chicken and even noodles. But chopsticks aren't limited to a certain type of cuisine — you might even want to use them with salad. Those big lettuce leaves can be kept much more under control with a pair of chopsticks, rather than a fork.
Anjali Prasertong told The Kitchn about her chopstick revelation, recognizing that the utensils make far more sense than the speared forks we use for salads in the United States. "Spearing a flat, floppy piece of lettuce with a fork is at best a mild challenge and at worst an awkward way to smear dressing over half your cheek," Prasertong said.
And if you find chopsticks intimidating, you're most likely holding them the wrong way. Once you get the technique down, you'll understand why they're the perfect tool for digging into a tasty salad.
The "how" is best answered by understanding the easiest way to hold chopsticks for maximum agility. Think of how easy it would be to just pick up those lettuce leaves with your fingers; if you know the ins and outs of chopsticks, it's kind of the same thing. Clarissa Wei told Food Network that there's one secret to knowing if you're holding them correctly: They remain parallel to one another "at all times" — even while you're eating.
Start with the lower chopstick; place the back end of the chopstick in that little dip between your thumb and forefinger. Hold it in the crevice, then bring your ring finger around (almost like you're making a loose fist), and let the middle part of the chopstick lie on the ring finger. From there, simply hold the top chopstick the same way you'd hold a pen or pencil. It should be about an inch above the bottom one, and both should be parallel when not touching.
Use the top chopstick to guide the food toward the bottom chopstick, then use the top again to grip the food; the bottom chopstick shouldn't ever move. You'll be able to pick up the lettuce leaves without issue.
When you're using a knife and fork, there are certain etiquette rules to follow, and the same goes for when using chopsticks. If you don't think you can get the hang of eating a salad with these tools, then it's best not to do it. It's poor manners to stab food with chopsticks, so rather than poke holes in the lettuce, you're better off using a fork.
And if you're new to chopsticks, take the material into account. Metal or shiny lacquer can be a little harder to use because your fingers could slide. If you're not well-versed in keeping chopsticks steady, you're better off starting with the wooden kind.
Consider the salad toppings before deciding whether it makes sense to use chopsticks. If the salad is full of smaller pieces, such as finely chopped red onion, it could be difficult for someone inexperienced to eat with chopsticks.