Do you love cooking Japanese food? Have you ever wished you had a cooking utensil that kept you away from the heat source? Are you sick of oil splashing around when you're deep-frying? Do you wish you had more precision when plating? Then consider Japanese cooking chopsticks! Japanese cooking chopsticks are a must-have kitchen appliance, capable of handling multiple roles, whether it be stir-frying, whisking eggs, or even for deep-frying. There are various types on the market, from affordable everyday options available at 100 yen stores (dollar stores) to higher-end options. However, with many options that vary in size, material, and design, it can be difficult to figure out which one is best for you.
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Japanese cooking chopsticks play a central role in the average Japanese kitchen, and are often the primary tool many home cooks use to prepare meals. Unlike tongs, forks, or whisks, which only serve a single purpose, Japanese cooking chopsticks can do most things, such as picking up food, whisking eggs, stirring things, and can even be used to plate food.
Japanese cooking chopsticks are generally longer than regular chopsticks, at around 30 to 35 centimeters, or roughly 12 to 14 inches, compared to regular chopsticks for eating, which are about 21 to 25 centimeters long, or eight to ten inches. So, why are Japanese cooking chopsticks longer than standard chopsticks?
Japanese cooking chopsticks are used in various types of cooking, such as stir-frying and deep-frying. The additional length helps keep your hand away from the heat source, making them safer and more comfortable to use, so you're less likely to get hot oil on your hands.
While Japanese cooking chopsticks have traditionally been made from materials like wood or bamboo, in recent years, there have been an increase in Japanese cooking chopsticks made from silicone, which are more resistant to heat and are also less likely to scratch non-stick pots and pans.
Keep on reading to learn more about the best Japanese cooking chopsticks!
There are three points you should keep an eye out for when choosing cooking chopsticks.
Cooking chopsticks come in various lengths, so picking the right size for your cooking needs is key.
If you intend on using your cooking chopsticks for deep-frying or stir-frying, it’s better to opt for longer products. When we cook oil on high heat, it's best to avoid the heat from burning our hands as much as possible. Using longer cooking chopsticks allows for a greater distance between you and the heat.
On average, cooking chopsticks are about 11.8 inches (30 centimeters). For deep-frying and high-heat cooking, look for products that are longer than this. Some cooking chopsticks are tailored specifically for deep-frying, which are usually about 13.8 inches (35 centimeters) or longer.
Shorter cooking chopsticks can give you better control if you're looking to use your cooking chopsticks for packing your kid's lunches or detailed plating.
Generally, shorter cooking chopsticks are about 9.4 to 10.6 inches or 24 to 27 centimeters. They're a little less common than longer ones, so if you find one that meets your needs, consider yourself lucky. Otherwise, if you want to try your hand at different lengths, look for sets that include a variety of chopstick lengths. This way, you can see which lengths are suitable for you and your specific needs!
Japanese cooking chopsticks can be made from various materials, each offering different pros and cons. Again, figuring out which one is right for you requires honing in on what you want to use your chopsticks for.
Traditional bamboo cooking chopsticks are light and naturally non-slippery, making them easy to use. Since they've been around for a while, there are also a plethora of options available on the market.
However, since they're often not coated, they can get moldy if you store them wet, damp, or in humid conditions. They also tend to be weaker to high heat, so it may be best to consider them semi-disposable items you purchase for shorter-term use.
We suggest using silicone cooking chopsticks if you've got a lot of non-stick pots and pans or kitchen appliances that you need to handle with extra care. They are soft, flexible, and non-slip and don't transmit heat as quickly, making them more protective during high heat cooking.
Note that some silicone cooking chopsticks can't be used for deep-frying or left submerged in pots as they can melt or deform. Some are also made with different grip or tip textures. For these reasons, we always recommend you check how much heat your silicone chopsticks can withstand before purchasing as well as look for any other design details that may come with them.
Nylon cooking chopsticks are affordable and light, making them useful for detailed plating and controlled food presentation. They're also less likely to scratch your delicate pots and pans.
Beware that many products can have bodies made of nylon but tips made of silicon. This is because nylon tends to be weaker to heat. Some are made with fiberglass, which makes them sturdier than nylon-only products. However, these options are often more expensive, so it might be useful to alternate between them and another affordable option.
Stainless cooking chopsticks are resistant to heat and abrasion, making them a great option if you often cook on high heat or dishes requiring lots of stirring, tossing, and movement. Unlike bamboo or wooden chopsticks, they don't get moldy and are incredibly durable, making them a long-lasting option. They also won't get stained from your food, unlike other materials.
However, they can scratch or damage coated pots or pans. They also tend to be heavier than other chopsticks, so much like the fiberglass and nylon option, we suggest using your stainless steel chopsticks for specific uses only.
As you can tell by now, cooking chopsticks come in a variety of formats. Some of them also offer unique extra features, like an added spoon for taste-testing or mini tongs for easier food transferring at the end of your chopsticks. Still others can come with their own chopstick rests, or even a thermometer.
Some recent products even added the ability to operate touchscreens. Imagine being able to reference a cookbook with your smartphone or tablet using your cooking chopsticks!
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Kai Stainless Steel Cooking Chopsticks Dh-7102
Versatile Cooking Chopsticks That Are Great for Cooking and Plating
share with Kurihara harumi Set of Three Pairs of Cooking Chopsticks
A Simple but Versatile Set of Cooking Chopsticks
KAI SELECT 100 Stainless Steel Chopsticks DH-3104
Long Stainless Steel Chopsticks With Great Stability
Cooking Sticks Saibashi
Tapered Cooking Chopsticks for Lighter Foods and Precision Work
Nichinichidougo Natural Bamboo Set of Two 30cm Cooking Chopsticks
Classic and Versatile Bamboo Cooking Chopsticks With Tapered Tips
Bamboo Cooking Chopsticks With Tapered Ends for Maneuvering Smaller Foods
Kiso Hinoki Cypress Cooking Chopsticks
Gorgeous Handcrafted Japanese Cypress Cooking Chopsticks
Tempura Deep-Frying Chopsticks With Thermometer
Longer Cooking Chopsticks With Attached Thermometer for Deep-Frying
KEYUKA Silicone Cooking Chopsticks
Versatile, Easy to Hold Silicone Cooking Chopsticks
White Bamboo Cooking Chopsticks
Excellent Chopsticks for Plating
Kai's Stainless Steel Cooking Chopsticks Dh-7102 are made with stainless steel and ergonomically-shaped plastic handles for controlled grip and heat protection.
Though they can be a bit heavy, they are a great standard length, and their handles allow for great control for cooking and detailed work. Since the tips are textured with non-slip grooves, it was easy to pick up slippery noodles, Japanese fried chicken morsels of different shapes and sizes, and even small beans.
When we tested how easy it was to use the chopsticks to check the doneness of simmered food, we were impressed by how well the thinner tips could poke the food without breaking it apart. Its slight heaviness also didn't impede its ability to be used successfully for detailed plating and presenting. We recommend adding this very versatile chopstick to your collection of appliances!
Hyozaemon's share with Kurihara harumi Set of Three Pairs of Cooking Chopsticks is made in collaboration with Japanese culinary researcher Harumi Kurikhara.
The three different cooking chopsticks each serve different purposes: the navy chopsticks, which have non-slip grooves at the tips, are for simmered dishes and noodles, and the brown chopsticks, which lack non-slip grooves, are for stir-frying. Finally, the green chopsticks, which have tapered tips and are shorter in length, are intended for plating.
While these cooking chopsticks look pretty simple and appear to lack any standout features, they were incredibly easy to use. Each pair of cooking chopsticks was light and felt great to hold, and offered a stable grip when picking up food.
The navy chopsticks were able to hold even a small amount of noodles, which is less grippy than when picking up a large number of noodles, as well as was able to pick up greasy fried chicken. We were also impressed by the green cooking chopsticks, which allowed us to pick up beans, proving its handling abilities.
Kai SELECT 100 stainless steel chopsticks are slightly longer than standard cooking chopsticks, at 13 inches or 33 centimeters. They're made of sturdy stainless steel and have a unique hexagonal handle that provides an excellent grip.
Since they're longer and heavier than your average cooking chopsticks, they do take a bit of getting used to. However, they're incredibly solid. Scooping out Japanese fried chicken from hot oil was no problem as we didn't have to worry about heat transferring or food slipping.
Though they may look a bit bulkier and industrial, the tips are heavily tapered and textured for non-slip abilities to accommodate detailed work, allowing us to quickly pierce potatoes to check how done they are, as well as allowed us to pick up slippery beans.
When plating and arranging food, we noticed that it's easier to maneuver when holding the chopsticks closer to the tips. Because the handles are longer, you're given the freedom to adjust your hand placement for various situations.
Fukui Craft's Cooking Sticks Saibashi are made of durable PBT resin, the same material often used to make toothbrush bristles. They offer seven different color options which mimic the colors of everyday fruits and vegetables.
The tips didn't have non-slip grips, so they couldn't pick up noodles very well. Another notable disadvantage was that these chopsticks bent a bit when holding heavier food. For these reasons, our testers found it tiring to use these chopsticks for heavier foods.
However, the lightness and standard length of these cooking chopsticks allowed for easy handling of lighter foods. The tapered tips allowed us to pick up beans easily, and they were also easy to use to check the doneness of simmered food.
Yamaki's Nichinichidougo Chopsticks set of two are made of carefully selected bamboo that was sourced only during the fall and winter months. Since they don't have any added coating, you can enjoy the natural texture of bamboo with these chopsticks.
These standard-length chopsticks are light and fit comfortably in the hands, but because they don't come with non-slip grooves, picking up slippery noodles was a bit strenuous. Though it became tiring to pick up heavier foods with these, their tapered tips did allow for easier handling of Japanese fried chicken.
These chopsticks were the best at presenting and plating food. With the ability to pick up smaller beans with little force, their tapered tips could hold up and maneuver food as desired without slipping out or falling apart.
Kobo-Aizawa's Serving Chopsticks are made of bamboo and have square tips to improve grip. Unfortunately, we found that this didn't provide enough traction to pick up slippery noodles.
However, we liked the length and weight of these cooking chopsticks, and our testers noted they were easy to hold and maneuver. It could pick up Japanese fried chicken with no issue, and it passed the simmered food tests with flying colors.
Its tapered tips were also great for plating. This is where the square tips came in handy, as they allowed us to pick up many different foods, including small beans, without the fear of slipping or mishandling.
Azumaya's Kiso Hinoki Cypress Cooking Chopsticks are individually hand-crafted by professional craftsmen. Made with Japanese Kiso Hinoki cypress, these chopsticks have a uniquely gentle and natural texture.
Our testers found these chopsticks to be an elevated version of the classic disposable wooden chopsticks. Unfortunately, though they felt great in our hands, they weren't able to hold heavier foods stably, and it felt a bit straining to apply force onto them.
They also didn't perform very well in the simmering test, as potatoes fell apart once being poked with these. They were also too thick to pick up individual beans one by one. However, they were able to hold lighter items without them slipping out.
Pearl Metal's Chopsticks for Deep-fried Tempura conveniently has a thermometer attached at the top of the chopsticks. With these chopsticks, you can cook deep-fried food while measuring the temperature of your frying oil at the same time.
As the product description suggests, these chopsticks are long and sturdy enough for deep-frying. However, they are heavier and thicker, so you may feel that deep-frying with these can feel tiring and straining after long periods.
They performed decently in the simmered potato test, but they couldn't pick up noodles very well. Picking up smaller items was difficult because it was hard to gain good control of these longer and heavier chopsticks. All in all, we recommend these if you frequently deep-fry.
Kawajun's KEYUCA Silicone Cooking Chopsticks are made of silicone and carbon steel which means they can be used for both gentle cooking and deep-frying. They can be used to make tempura, for example.
These cooking chopsticks have a comfortable weight to them, making them easy to hold and handle. Their ridged tips also helped prevent food from slipping. However, they bend a bit when holding up heavier items, which strained our hands a bit.
When we used them to check the firmness of a simmered potato, the ridged tips got caught in the potato and made it difficult to assess how done they were.
Chikusai Honpo's White Bamboo Cooking Chopsticks are made from bamboo, which is naturally slightly rough in texture, increasing grip.
The handle is fairly thick but tapers heavily towards the tips, making it a bit difficult to apply lots of pressure. Additionally, these chopsticks couldn't grip noodles, and it was easier just to stab fried chicken than to attempt to pick it up.
However, where these chopsticks were indispensable was with simmered dishes and plating. The heavily tapered tips slid right into our simmered potato, allowing us to check its doneness without breaking it. It also excelled at picking up beans with minimal effort. If you want a pair of chopsticks dedicated for detailed plating, these are a great option.
We gathered the 23 best-selling products available on e-commerce sites such as Amazon, Rakuten, and Yahoo! Shopping and tested them all.
We tested each product for the following:
We also tested each product specifically on how well they could execute the following four tasks:
Among the four tasks, we found the somen noodles and deep-fried food tests to be the most insightful, since this is where we saw the biggest difference in the products. We gave specific scores for their ability to grip and hold up slippery noodles and safely deep-fry food without getting oil burns.
When we had our Japanese testers hold their cooking chopsticks, we observed that naturally, most held their chopsticks around 3.9 inches below the top edge. This only left about 9.8 inches, or 24 centimeters, from the edge of their hand to the pan, which felt a bit too close. For the ideal hand-to-pan distance for optimal and safe cooking, opt for about 11.8 inches or more, or 33 centimeters.
In addition, higher-ranking products tended to have non-slip tips to better grip things like slippery noodles and fried chicken.
Since cooking chopsticks are an appliance that gets daily use in Japanese households, making sure they're easy to clean is important. Specifically, we gauged how easily our chopsticks could be cleaned after rounds of heavy deep-frying.
We didn't find any glaring issues while washing our Japanese cooking chopsticks. All of them cleaned off quite easily. That being said, we don't recommend leaving them dirty for long periods of time; it's always best to clean them as soon as possible.
Be especially careful with wooden or bamboo cooking chopsticks. They get moldy easily, so avoid storing them away in humid spaces right after washing.
Now that you've gotten a pair of Japanese cooking chopsticks, here are some more useful Japanese cooking utensils to help make cooking even more fun and easy!
No. 1: KAI Corporation｜Kai Stainless Steel Cooking Chopsticks Dh-7102
No. 2: Hyozaemon｜share with Kurihara harumi Set of Three Pairs of Cooking Chopsticks
No. 3: KAI Corporation｜KAI SELECT 100 Stainless Steel Chopsticks DH-3104
No. 4: Fukui Craft｜Cooking Sticks Saibashi
No. 5: Yamaki｜Nichinichidougo Natural Bamboo Set of Two 30cm Cooking Chopsticks
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The descriptions of each product are referenced from content available on manufacturer, brand, and e-commerce sites.
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