I carry my own cooking gear with me when traveling. I also carry a daypack around with me almost wherever. So it’s not too much of a hassle for me to cart around my own set of silverware when I eat in restaurants. Sometimes when I sit down at a restaurant table I will use my own silverware rather than what’s provided.
Here’s a good set of portable silverware like the type I use.
I’m not obsessive about this tip, this is not something that I do 100%, all of the time, but is rather something that I employ in various situations where I don’t really want to stick the silverware offered in a restaurant into my mouth. Sometimes this is because the restaurant looks a little grubby, sometimes it’s because I’m in a country were communicable illnesses abound, sometimes it’s because I see the silverware I’m given not being treated in a very hygienic manner (or I see flies crawling all over them or something), and sometimes it’s because the restaurant only gives out flimsy plastic forks. Whatever is the case, if I want to use my own silverware, I’m prepared.Usually, I don’t worry about this too much — I use the silverware I’m given like anybody else — but I find myself whipping out my own set of stainless steel chopsticks in China with increased frequency.
It’s simple: because many restaurants only provide their clientele with wooden chopsticks. I’m not talking about the disposable kind, I’m talking about ones that they reuse over and over again. You can’t disinfect wooden eating ware. I’m unsure if you can even clean it very well. On top of this, many of these wooden chopsticks are old and sometimes you get an unfortunate pair that has begun splintering.And if the chopsticks are not made of wood they’re made of plastic — which I’m not sure are that much better.
There is perhaps a reason why China goes through 46 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks each year.
If I can take better control over an aspect of my life and health through a very small action that doesn’t inconvenience me, then I why wouldn’t I? It’s just cleaner that way.