Chopsticks for Cooking
From top: Agebashi, saibashi, manabashi
and regular chopsticks
Chopsticks play an essential role not only during a meal, but also while cooking and presenting Japanese food. Depending on ingredients and preparation methods, chopsticks of varying materials, thicknesses and lengths are used. Cooking chopsticks are referred to as saibashi, the most common of which are made of bamboo or wood. Saibashi are normally about 30 centimeters long—much longer than chopsticks used for eating—in order to keep hands far from the cooking flame. Most households use them for a variety of food preparations, including stirring and mixing. Serving chopsticks called manabashi are about 18 centimeters long. These have pointy tips and are made of metal or bamboo, and are used to place and lay out food such as sashimi on serving plates. Manabashi made of bamboo are used with lacquerware and other delicate dishes. Chopsticks used when frying, called agebashi, have handles designed not to retain heat and metal tips to prevent the absorption of oil.