A friend and I were traversing Manhattan’s Chinatown the other evening on the way to one of Mark Bello’s wonderful pizza parties when we spotted it–a storefront on Mott that seemed exclusively devoted to chopsticks! Once inside, we were regaled with an unbelievable selection of the sticklike eating implements, many in colorful presentation boxes. What’s more, many of the chopstick sets came with their own ceramic chopstick rests, and many of the boxes had themes to them.
As I tried to take photos for you to better visualize the wonderfulness of the chopsticks, the proprietor came running up to me waving his hands, “No photos, no photos!” as if the place were a maximum security institution filled with state secrets, and I was a chopstick terrorist bent on chopstick mayhem. We did manage to get off a few surreptitious shots however.
While many of the presentation boxes ran as high as $100 or more, the chopsticks therein coated with gold leaf or inlaid with mother of pearl, I quickly fixed on one of the more modest offerings–a boxed set of two pairs that had an “Eat Your Veggies” theme, maybe aimed at picky-eater kids. The chopstick rests were a pair of yellow and pink beets, at least I think they were beets. I snapped it up for $14 plus tax.
I’m not sure which foodie friend I’m giving it to, but I delight to think of her sometime next year sitting in her favorite Japanese sushi parlor in the East Village. As the sushi assortment arrives, she whips out her own private chopsticks and chopstick rests, as the other diners watch enviously, looking down disdainfully at their own disposible chopsticks.
Inside the magnetized cover of the box, which snaps shut with a smart “Click,” is a poem that extols the chopsticks in a few lines of cryptic verse:
The Love Lavender Chopsticks of
Yunhong Chopsticks write a romantic
Song of praise, murmuring the beauty
And romance of love. It immerses
You in a purple wonderland, which
Is full of lavender. It keeps you and
Your lover from the noisy and
Annoying of the mortal
World and brings you to a land
Of tranquil and peace.
Gee, and I just wanted them for picking up morsels of food…
Yunhong Chopsticks, 50 Mott Street, 212-566-8828