1

In English we have specific words for the main eating utensils:

  • Fork
  • Knife
  • Spoon

These are specifically what we place into our hands for eating. I am not too aware of what it is like currently in other cultures. The only other one I am aware of is:

  • Chopsticks

Then we have the surrounding eating utensils (Dishes like Cup, Plate, and Bowl). We also have cooking utensils, of which there are a lot (Prongs, Grader, Pots, Pans, Stove, Spatula, etc.). But those aren't necessarily used for eating itself. There are also many variations on these basic structures (like the Butter Knife, or the Soup Spoon), but here I would just like to focus on the basics. Finally, there are tools used to clean up the mess, like the Napkin or Toothpick, but not too focused on that here either.

For part of the question I would like to know what are all the various main types of eating utensils for the hands, across cultures, of which I can only think of these:

  • Fork
  • Knife
  • Spoon
  • Chopsticks

Then as part of the history, it would be interesting to know roughly when these were developed if it's not too complicated.

2

China/Japan In China there are two main utensils for eating, there are chopsticks and spoons. Chinese chopsticks are longer than most other chopsticks because in China sharing meals is more prominent so when reaching for food having longer chopsticks is helpful. To accommodate for large gatherings Chinese dining tables also tend to be On the other side of that coin Japan has shorter chopsticks because usually Japanese people have their own dishes so therefore longer chopsticks are unnecessary.

In Chinese and Japanese cultures the most common form of spoon is the soup spoon because Chinese and Japanese people like to drink soup. The most common types of Chinese soups usually have chicken broth or noodles and for Japan they usually have miso or some noodle based soup. Both cultures rarely ever use forks and almost never use knives.

(By the way I think this question would be more appropriate on the cooking portion of this network because it does not pertain to history that much.)

Sources: (personal experience) for the origin of chop sticks go to https://www.history.com/news/a-brief-history-of-chopsticks

  • Thanks, didn't realize there was a cooking version. – Lance Pollard Sep 22 '18 at 2:03
  • It's official name is seasoned advice but most people refer to it as cooking – pErs0nZ Sep 22 '18 at 6:24
1

I live in Thailand. Most commonly used are spoons, forks, and chopsticks. Knifes are a (fairly recent) addition. Today you can get a knife almost anywhere, but not that long ago (about 25 years) you had to ask for it in many places.

In restaurants serving western dishes knives are always placed on your table. In restaurant serving Thai or Chinese meals, it varies. Upscale restaurant have everything, in more affordable restaurants or along the street with vendors you sometimes have to ask for a knife.

You didn't mention condiments. In Thailand that's almost obligatory. You will always find four jars (often on a tray) with nam pla (brine water), sugar, ground peppers and vinegar with peppers to spice up your meal. Salt is only served in western restaurants. Thais prefer brine water on Thai and Chinese food.

I've eaten plenty of meals without knifes, but never without the jars with the condiments.

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