Chopsticks, Korean style [EXPERIMENT] – Day 4

I ate my first meal with Korean chopsticks today: rice with stir-fried vegetables and chicken. Not exactly a Korean meal, but closer than hamburgers or burritos.

Here are my notes:

  • I felt a little awkward at first, but it wasn’t as bad as I assumed it would be. Turns out when you’re hungry, you find ways to sharpen your skills in a hurry.
  • The vegetables and chicken were pretty easy to eat. Like I said before, I’d say I’m an intermediate chopstick user with wooden chopsticks, but I’m back at the beginning with metal chopsticks. That said, my grip strength was more than enough to pick up everything on my plate, which was something I was worried about.
  • Like with wooden chopsticks, each bite tends to be smaller than it would be with a fork or spoon (or maybe I just take large bites). The result, though, was that I took more bites in the same amount of time. That’s probably why people eating with chopsticks always look like they’re eating so fast. They have to take a lot of bites because each one is small. That, and in some cases, they just are eating fast. :)
  • The rice was harder to eat than it should have been because the meat and vegetables were cooked with say sauce and garlic and ginger. The sauce made the rice slippery. So even though the rice started out sticky, it wouldn’t clump up with the sauce on it. That left me with a bunch of little rice kernels at the end.

I’ve been told that in Korea, unlike in China or Japan, it’s bad manners to pick up your bowl or plate. In the other countries, I would just pick up my bowl and push the rice off the edge of it straight into my mouth with the chopsticks. Even though that’s foreign to US culture (at least what I’m familiar with), I would have appreciated that option.

Still, overall I think I like the “all bowls on deck” rule of Korean dining. It’ll just take more practice because at this point, I’m not sure how to finish all those individual grains of rice.

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