They are essential in the daily lives of Koreans. It’s what we use when eating foods! A spoon is for scooping rice or eating soup and chopsticks are for picking up side dishes. When setting the table, a spoon and chopsticks must be placed together. Using a spoon and chopsticks together as a set is a unique custom in Korea.
Aren’t there other countries that use spoons and chopsticks?
Yes, a lot of Asian countries do actually use both of them, but they tend to use chopsticks more often. And they are usually wooden ones. But in Korea, it’s standard to use both a spoon and chopsticks whenever having a meal. And they are usually metal ones. Also, a spoon is not just for soup but also for rice.
Look how different other countries’ chopsticks look like!
(A photo from korea.net)
The history of metal spoons and chopsticks traces back to the 18th century BC during the Three Kingdoms Period. Silver spoons and chopsticks were found in the royal relics of Baekje Kingdom. During this period of time, the royal families used silver spoons to check if there was any poison in their food. Silver can detect poison and change color! Then, the common people started making and using metal spoons and chopsticks that looked similar to silver ones.
They are thin, flat, and slippery. You have to grab it quite strongly to actually pick up the food.
Korea has a lot of side dishes, different in shape and ingredients. Some of them are tiny, some are marinated, and some are slimy. Metal chopsticks are great for picking up all sorts of side dishes. Also, they are strong against stains and easy to wash.