Fusion cuisine, blending the flavours of one culture with another, is a popular choice for diners throughout the world. New tableware is taking this marriage of cultures one step further. This fusion cutlery will bring relief to those who struggle to master the art of chopsticks. What are these new utensils that are saving inept chopstick handlers the embarrassment of slopping noodles down their shirts? Called forkchops, they may be coming to a noodle dish near you.
Forkchops were invented by Donald BonAsia, a Los Angeles designer. BonAsia spent five years in Japan where he discovered many westerners could not properly manipulate chopsticks. To aid them while they struggled to slurp up soba, he designed a utensil combining chopsticks on one end and a knife and fork on the other. BonAsia’s innovative design resulted in learner chopsticks that are revolutionizing the act of eating Asian food.
Many westerners are not comfortable using chopsticks and will instead choose the western convention of a knife and fork. However, the texture of Asian cuisine is better suited to the clamping action of chopsticks than the stabbing action of western cutlery. Using a knife and fork also denies the diner the full cultural experience of eating Asian food. Forkchops teach people how to properly manoeuvre chopsticks while allowing them the familiar comfort of a knife and fork. Available online, these nifty new utensils might change the way people look at slippery noodles.
Users should be wary, however, that chopstick etiquette also applies to forkchops. For example, as with chopsticks, in Chinese culture it is considered an aggressive action to point your forkchops at someone. It is also customary to keep chopsticks and other utensils separate. This means the knife end of the forkchop and the chopstick end should not be used together.
If used properly, forkchops give birth to a new kind of harmony. They allow fledgling chopstick users to feel comfortable with chopsticks, while exploring the many elements of Asian cuisine and culture. It also saves fumbling beginner chopstick handlers the embarrassment of dropping their dinner on their laps.