Chopsticks were developed about 5,000 years ago in China. It is
likely that people cooked their food in large pots which retained
heat well, and hasty eaters then broke twigs off trees to retrieve
the food. By 400 BCE, a large population and dwindling resources
forced people to conserve fuel. Food was chopped into small pieces
so it could be cooked more rapidly, thus needing less
The pieces of food were small enough that they negated the need
for knives at the dinner table, and chopsticks became staple
utensils. It is also thought that Confucius, a vegetarian, advised
people not to use knives at the table because knives would remind
them of the slaughterhouse.
Chinese chopsticks, called kuai-zi (quick little fellows), are
usually 9 to 10 inches long and rectangular with a blunt end. By
500 CE, chopstick use had spread from China to present-day Vietnam,
Korea, and Japan.
(China.org.cn September 18, 2007)