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Chopsticks are a mealtime staple on many tables in China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam. They're one of the most ancient utensils, dating back to 1200 B.C. in China (and spreading across East Asia by 500 A.D.). Beyond cooking, chopsticks could be used to reach into hot oil or water, allowing the user to pick up food as deftly as they could with their fingers. Today, chopsticks are used around the world in restaurants and at home and come in a variety of styles and materials, from fancy contemporary designs in stainless steel to basic silhouettes in disposable, eco-friendly bamboo.
"Chopsticks are probably the most used tool in our kitchen," says Eugene Lee, co-owner of Oakland-based Noodle Belly. From eating and cooking to adding delicate garnishes to a plate, a pair of chopsticks can function in myriad ways and are a must-have at home—not just for those who enjoy Asian cuisine.
If you're looking to add a pair (or several) to your flatware collection, we've gathered up our picks for the best chopsticks for every occasion.
Best Overall: Goldage Fiberglass Chopsticks
Slender silhouette may slip through dishwasher holder
These chopsticks by Goldage are a best-seller for a reason—they’re the perfect combination of stylish and sturdy at a great price point. Made of food-safe fiberglass, these are super lightweight and durable; they won’t bend, melt, or crack. This material is heat-safe up to 356 degrees, making it suitable to pick up foods from a frying pan or deep fryer (though we would recommend getting dedicated cooking chopsticks if you want to cook with them regularly).
The Chinese-style silhouette means they are rounded at the tips with a square body to prevent rolling on the table. The tips also have some texture to them to provide some grip when picking up noodles or flipping pan-fried tofu. The sleek black finish will retain its look for years, even with daily use and washing.
Material: Fiberglass alloy | Length: 9.25 inches | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | Style: Chinese
Best Wooden: HuaLan Japanese Natural Wood Chopstick Set
Available in a variety of finishes
Hand wash only
The HuaLan Natural Wood Chopstick Set comes with five pairs of Japanese-style chopsticks, each made from different types of wood (Rosewood, Ebony wood, Boxwood, Chestnut wood, and Cherrywood). Crafted from natural wood and varnished with eco-friendly, food-grade lacquer, these delicately tapered chopsticks are a beautiful addition to any dinner table setting. Just shy of 9 inches long with a textured surface, these provide plenty of control for picking up your favorite sushi rolls or tempura, though the pointed tips might be a little challenging for less-experienced users.
To maintain the wood, gentle hand washing will be the best way to preserve the finish, according to Lee. The manufacturer also cautions against letting them sit in water and advises that you air dry them after washing.
Material: Wood with lacquer finish | Length: 9.72 inches | Dishwasher Safe: No | Style: Japanese
"The more delicate [the material], the more you want to hand-wash them as wood and heat don't like each other." — Eugene Lee, Co-Owner of Noodle Belly
Best Bamboo: Totally Bamboo Twist Chopsticks
Made from sustainable materials
For those who want an eco-friendly option, these chopsticks from Totally Bamboo are a perfect choice. Made from hand-twisted bamboo, they are incredibly sturdy and easy to clean—simply wash by hand or wipe them down with a damp cloth. The twist detail adds a little bit of grip assistance, and their 9.75-inch length is great for digging into a deep bowl of ramen noodles or hot pot.
Bamboo is a renewable resource that doesn’t require pesticides or clear-cutting; entire forests can regenerate within five years, so these chopsticks are not only gorgeous, but they're also better for the environment than many other options.
Material: Bamboo | Length: 9.75 inches | Dishwasher Safe: No | Style: Chinese
Best Metal: Hiware Reusable Metal Chopsticks
Doesn't absorb odors
Might be difficult for beginners to use
Metal chopsticks are a stylish option that will appeal to those with contemporary tastes. Made of food-grade 18/8 stainless steel, this style from Hiware has a spiral thread design along the handle that makes it anti-slip. They are eco-friendly, odorless, and more durable than wood versions, which makes them a great choice for households that use chopsticks often.
The tapered ends have grooves that provide some grip assistance when it comes to grabbing food, and the metal construction lends itself to use with hot dishes or while cooking. For dine-in, Lee chose this style of chopsticks because of their durability and ability to withstand high-temperature sanitization. At home, you can clean these easily by simply hand-washing, but they will also hold up well to the dishwasher.
Material: Stainless steel | Length: 9 inches | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | Style: Chinese
"We chose metal chopsticks [for our restaurant] because we can put them through a high-temperature sanitizing method, making them the cleanest choice." — Eugene Lee, Co-Owner of Noodle Belly
Best for Beginners/Kids: Edison Training/Helper Chopsticks
Designed for every ability level
Helps develop motor skills
Top-rack dishwasher safe
Might feel short for some users
Material slippery for some
Loops relatively small for larger fingers
If your chopsticks skills could use some practice, try the Edison Training/Helper Chopsticks (also available in a left-handed version). Edison is known for its easy-to-use designs that keep your chopsticks aligned, allowing you to learn how to correctly hold and maneuver them. The patented three-loop design puts your fingers in the right places and trains your hand to get comfortable with holding the utensils at the right angle.
Lee's thoughts on helper chopsticks? He says, "An entire continent of people that use them to train their kids can't be wrong." While many chopstick users didn't have this option growing up (including Lee), the use of training chopsticks helps kids learn quickly so they can graduate to regular chopsticks sooner, with less frustration along the way.
This style of chopsticks is also useful for anyone whose fine motor skills or grip aren’t what they used to be. Made of food-grade plastic, these are easy to clean and don’t absorb stains or smells. While this particular model can be used by children, Edison also makes a variety of kid-specific designs (find on Amazon here and here).
Material: Food-grade plastic | Length: 7.2 inches | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | Style: Japanese
Best for Travel: Snow Peak Wabuki Carry-On Chopsticks
Smart, stowable design
Made from bamboo and stainless steel
Carrying case included
These Japanese-designed chopsticks are an elegant and functional option for those who want to bring their own reusable chopsticks for workplace lunches or while on the road. Made of bamboo and stainless steel, the Wabuki Chopsticks by Snow Peak have an innovative nesting design that allows the wooden half to slide inside the steel section and collapse to a length of 4.5 inches. The chopsticks also come with a carrying case that you can wear around your neck when traveling, camping, or road-tripping. When hand-washing isn’t immediately available—just wipe down well with a wet cloth.
Material: Stainless steel and bamboo | Length: 9 inches | Dishwasher Safe: No | Style: Japanese
Best for Families: HuaLan Fiberglass Alloy Chopsticks
Length provides extra reach
Heat-resistant to 400 degrees
Might be unwieldy for beginners
If you’re searching for Chinese restaurant-style chopsticks to use at family dinners, try HuaLan Fiberglass Chopsticks. At nearly 10 inches long, these chopsticks provide extra reach to grab that last dumpling or piece of roast pork from across the table.
This longer length also lends itself well to cooking, and the fiberglass construction withstands heat up to 400 degrees—great for plucking wontons or tempura out of a deep fryer. The non-absorbent material helps prevent staining or retaining odors and makes them easy to clean (they’re dishwasher-safe, too). The textured treatment at the end of the chopsticks provides a better grip, while the grooves on the top offer a non-slip feature for your hand.
Material: Fiberglass alloy | Length: 9.9 inches | Dishwasher Safe: Yes | Style: Chinese
Best Disposable: CiboWares Disposable Bamboo Chopsticks
Made of sustainable bamboo
Arrives already separated
Tapered tips might be slippery for beginners
These bamboo chopsticks by CiboWares are a convenient option for parties, picnics, and packed lunches. You won’t need to worry about splintering when breaking them apart, as each pair comes already separated and wrapped in a paper sleeve that also has usage instructions (a fun feature for beginners).
With sustainability in mind, Lee researched disposable chopstick options and settled on bamboo since this fast-growing wood is an easily renewable resource compared to other disposable styles. Once you’re through with them, you can dispose of them with compostable items since they’re completely biodegradable.
Material: Bamboo | Length: 9 inches | Dishwasher Safe: No | Style: Chinese
"Disposable chopsticks are a sustainability nightmare. We wanted to make sure we do our part to protect our planet, so bamboo seemed to be a better choice over the standard wooden chopstick." — Eugene Lee, Co-Owner of Noodle Belly
For a high-quality set of chopsticks that won't break the bank, we recommend the Goldage Fiberglass Chopsticks (view at Amazon). They're sturdy, stylish, and made of food-safe fiberglass that holds up against cracks, high heat, and more. But if you're in search of a wooden option, check out the HuaLan Japanese Natural Wood Chopstick Set (view at Amazon). Made from natural wood and covered with a food-safe lacquer, these chopsticks are sturdy enough to use during meals and will look great on your table.
What To Look For When Buying Chopsticks
Chopsticks come in various materials, ranging from disposable wood to more elegant lacquered wood or metal. The material will determine how you care for your chopsticks and their durability. Metal and fiberglass alloy versions will last the longest and are typically dishwasher safe. Wood versions, both finished and unfinished, tend to wear faster and are more susceptible to warping over time. But you can keep most chopsticks for years, as long as they are cared for properly.
The three most common chopstick styles are from China, Korea, and Japan. Other countries have variating shapes, but the general rundown looks like this:
Chinese-style chopsticks tend to be fairly long and have squared or rounded sides with blunt, flat tips. They are typically made from lacquered wood or melamine plastic.
Korean-style chopsticks are often made from brass, silver, or metal and are a medium length with flat, rectangular tips.
Japanese-style chopsticks are typically made from bamboo or lacquered wood and are shorter with very tapered tips.
Picking a style might take some trial and error to see what feels most comfortable for you, so don't be afraid to try different lengths, tips, and materials.
How do you use chopsticks?
Using chopsticks can be a bit tricky if you've never done it before, but anyone can learn. Find step-by-step visual instructions to using chopsticks in this helpful How To Use Chopsticks guide.
What can you eat with chopsticks?
From rice and noodles to stir-fried veggies and meats, you'll be able to pick up anything that doesn't require cutting—and you're not limited to Asian fare. You can use chopsticks to eat anything bite-sized, which is particularly useful if you don't want to get your fingers dirty. Chopsticks and fries, anyone?
Are fiberglass chopsticks safe?
As long as they are marked "food-safe," then yes. Fiberglass is durable, stands up to higher temperatures than melamine and other plastics, and can go in the dishwasher but is heavier than other materials.
Where did chopsticks originate?
Chopsticks originated in China as a cooking tool, dating as far back as 1200 B.C. As people from China moved around Asia, the popularity of chopsticks spread to other surrounding countries. Today, chopsticks are the primary utensil used in China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Taiwan. There is some usage of chopsticks in other Asian countries, like the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia, but it is not the main utensil used.
Can chopsticks be recycled?
It depends on the material of your chopsticks and whether or not your city accepts them for recycling. Wooden chopsticks can typically be composted or put into a green bin (when allowed). Plastic chopsticks are biodegradable if made out of recyclable plastic (typically numbers one through six).
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
The author of this piece, Bernadette Machard de Gramont, specializes in global food and wine content. As the granddaughter of immigrant restaurant owners, she grew up cooking her family’s Chinese and Filipino recipes and has been a proficient chopstick user since four years old. She interviewed one expert for this piece, Eugene Lee, co-owner of Oakland-based eatery Noodle Belly.