Saibashi is a pair of cooking chopsticks. They are typically made of bamboos, and much longer than regular chopsticks, so that the tips reach to the bottom of pots, and cooks don’t burn their fingers while cooking on the stoves. A pair of saibashis are usually tied with a string to hung dry, but I sometimes cut it off for the ease of use.
For people who are not used to chopsticks, saibashis may be difficult to handle because of the length. But they are very versatile tool and Japanese cooks can’t do without them. I grab 2 or 3 pairs of saibashis to make scramble eggs or mix pancake batter, and use a pair to pick up deep fried food from oil. Because many of them are made of bamboos, they don’t transmit heat while cooking. They are also pretty cheap and last at least a couple of years.
They are also convenient to clean water bottles. Pick up a piece of paper towels with a pair of saibashi and insert it to a water bottle, put a small amount of detergent and water, and clean inside of the bottle.
Another use for saibashi is to squeeze out pasty food such as miso from the plastic bag container. I could buy a tool made for those particular jobs, but I like to use one simple tool for many purposes, so that my small New York City apartment kitchen will not be cluttered. Simplicity and versatility are Japanese life style virtues.
Saibashis are sold at Japanese specialty stores, and possibly at Chinese supermarkets, as well. Do not use plastic or lacquered chopsticks for cooking, as they may melt and release harmful chemicals when heated. For those who would like to order online, here is the link;
Easy to grab, a pair of silicone tip chopstick (red or yellow tips) $9.00 from Japanese-Kitchen Store.