April 14, 2017

Simple, But Special: Lacquered Bamboo Chopsticks

by Umami Mart Staff

Lacquering is the process of applying a glossy, polished finish to wood (and sometimes paper, leather, and other materials). In Japan, the craft is used to decorate art works and functional wares, including vases, bowls, bento boxes, and chopsticks. Wakasa-nuri is one style of lacquering. It first developed in Fukui Prefecture 400 years ago, and is most well known as the type of lacquering used for making chopsticks. Today about 90% of lacquered chopsticks are still made in the city of Obama, Fukui. Yes, Obama!

Our Black and Brown Bamboo Chopsticks are handmade by Wakasa craftspeople. Using bamboo from Kumamoto, artisans first cut and shape the wood to have tapered ends, then apply layers of lacquer, polishing between each layer. The lacquer, which has a fine, smooth luster, is both elegant and functional – the lacquer provides a protective layer over the bamboo, to prevent warping.

These chopsticks are minimal in design, which makes them an easy fit for any household. Choose between brown or black, and use them for everyday meals. The pointed tips and light weight of these chopsticks allow for precise handling of delicate ingredients, which makes them ideal for garnishing or plating, too.

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