Saibashi: Japanese Cooking Chopsticks

Look at yourself, you savage. Stabbing and pinching your meats like they insulted your mother. Those cubes of soon to be gingered pork used to be a living creature with feelings and whatever. The least you can do is treat it with a modicum of dignity. You need to get acquainted with saibashi, Japanese kitchen chopsticks. Not as clumsy and random as tongs, Saibashi are an elegant tool for a more civilized cook space.

Saibashi are different from regular chopsticks, or hashi, in two key points: length and material. Hashi are made of various materials and are generally not much longer than 20 cm (9 in), whereas saibashi are usually made of bamboo or wood and around twice as long as hashi. The heat-resistant bamboo/wood and added length make saibashi well suited for handling food during high-temperature operations such as frying and simmering. Tempura chefs can often be seen using saibashi to pluck their fried delicacies out of pots of scaldingly hot oil and gingerly plate them in Japanese fashion.

Use a pair of saibashi anytime you need to handle hot food both delicately and quickly. It's easy to switch from plucking to stirring to flipping with saibashi. Once you get comfortable with them, they function as an extension of your fingers.

The beauty of the saibashi lies in their simplicity. There are countless ways to use a pair of tapered wooden sticks, limited only by your imagination. Use one to unclog a bottle of ketchup. Keep a pair by your grill instead of tongs. Assemble a make shift drum kit out of pots and pans, using your saibashi as drumsticks. Sometimes I use mine as a back scratcher.

You can find saibashi on if you don't live near a cookware store with an Asian section. They don't need to be fancy; they're just a pair of wooden sticks after all. I wouldn't pay more than $5 for a pair. I got a set of 3 pairs for less than 300 yen at my local 100 yen store.

No comments:

Post a Comment