A Brief History of Chopsticks: Dos & Dont’s
chopsticks diner

Chopsticks have been around for centuries and, of course, they’re ubiquitous in Asia.

Actually, the sticks as we would recognise them today go back as far as the late Shang Dynasty.

In case you didn’t know, that was 16th-11th century BC, so just the other day…

In the early days, the Chinese word for Chopsticks was “zhu” 筯, and during that time, the tyrannical King Zhou ordered his craftsmen to make chopsticks out of elephant’s teeth which were deemed to be of utmost luxury in early Chinese culture.

chopsticks beef soup

The rise of chopsticks versus early versions of the spoon which were just as prevalent in very early Asian culture, is largely thanks to the rise of wheat!

Millet and other such grains used to be the staple for most early Chinese meals, but as the growing appeal of wheat continued, so to did wheat-flour foods such as noodles and dumplings.

With a lot more in the way of noodles and dumplings knocking around, chopsticks were clearly a much better tool than the humble spoon.

There’s an old Chinese proverb which gives testimony to the above: ‘you are what you wheat’.

Ok, sorry about that – here’s what you should know about using them:

chopsticks etiquette

Dos & Don’ts

It seems to be that chopsticks are no longer the novelty that they used to be and Asian restaurants are far less likely to assumptively provide silverware to their Western diners.

So with a modest 7,000 years worth of dining history behind them, there must be some etiquette rules around using chopsticks, right?

Well, there are loads!

Here’s a quick run down of the main ones that should see you through to the end of your meal and warmly welcomed back to dine again in the future.

Do take food from a serving bowl and place it in your bowl before eating – patience will serve hungry diners well here!

Don’t wave your chopsticks around or use them to point or gesticulate at someone.

Do place them on top of/across your bowl horizontally when not using them but DON’T cross them – crossing chopsticks is very taboo and a symbol of death…

chopsticks sharing

Don’t stick them into your food vertically as this is reminiscent of placing incense in rice at the altar during a funeral!

Don’t pick through food with your chopsticks looking for which item to choose from a shared serving plate, have conviction and commit.

Don’t suck the tip of your chopsticks – yes, even if there’s some amazingly tasty sauce left on it! This will see you ridiculed in front of everyone as someone lacking a family education…

Do hold the bowl in your hand and use your chopsticks to push rice into your mouth, if you need to.

Don’t do that if you’re in Korea.

Do NOT pierce pieces of food with your chopsticks, this is very rude!

Don’t pass food to another person chopstick to chopstick, that’s also a funeral ritual…

Don’t break apart wooden chopsticks and rub them together – this is because people would often do this with cheap wooden chopsticks that splinter. Doing so with any pair of chopsticks tells the host you think their chopsticks are cheap!

Remember those and you should be just fine!

chopsticks resting

Considering upping your chopstick game or perhaps introducing some Asian cuisine on your menu?

We can help!

We sell traditional yet modern chopsticks that are packed with potential.

Our custom branded chopsticks are a handy utensil for your takeaway customers and those dining in.

We can print the chopsticks sleeve with your artwork and logo to increase your brand’s presence.

Printing your chopsticks or chopstick sleeves can be an effective and visually appealing way to increase brand awareness and are a fraction of the cost of other forms of branded takeaway packaging.

We produce both wooden, disposable and resin reusable chopsticks.

Get in touch and let’s have a chat about what we can do to help you.

Weird and Wonderful Packaging Designs

Along with a lot of things in life, like people and potatoes, takeaway packaging comes in many different shapes and sizes.

Sometimes weirdness and oddities are fun and exciting.

Other times, unusual designs can turn out to be ground-breaking and super practical.

Sadly, it is also true that some takeaway packaging is just bonkers and simply ugly.

If you haven’t already guessed, we’ve gathered some examples of the above, so what follows is a candid analysis of takeaway packaging: the good, the bad and the ugly!

 

McDonalds Stack Box 4/10

Not everything that’s inspired is a good idea and nor is it guaranteed to take off.

This new Mcdonald’s concept meal packaging is one of those…

mcdonalds packaging

We can see where the designer is going with this one, but, really, it seems to be trying too hard.

The sachets balancing on top are stressful and precarious at best and, essentially, we feel that there is too much that can go wrong with the stacked up top-heavy design.

A commendable design, but we think: just stick to a recyclable paper bag!

 

Scottish Munchies Box 5/10

Let’s be honest, there’s a whole host of things to do in the world that are no good for us, but by Jove we’ll do ‘em!

This wonderfully artisanal creation from our Northern neighbours is no exception to the host of guilty pleasures and ill-advised pastimes that we all secretly love, and what’s more, the innovative use of takeaway packaging to accommodate such a dark masterpiece is, well, inspired…

May we present to you, The Munchies Box!

Munchies packaging

What’s in it? Everything.

One pizza box, filled with everything (including cheesy chips and kebab meat).

We were a little divided on scoring this one but concluded that Scotland’s Munchies Box gets 5/10; 10 points for being so brazen and unabashed but -5 points for the terribly ugly packaging.

 

Hand-held Pie Packaging 8/10

You can’t go far wrong with something that’s really simple.

What you see is what you get with this top-notch pie packaging.

Pie packaging

It’s a cardboard sleeve that finishes in a nice semi-circle on each side to compliment the circular shape of the pie, but it doesn’t stop there!

Those very same semi-circle-shaped ends are actually flaps which fold right back on themselves to enable the eater to get stuck in straight away!

Of course, pies tend to be about a few degrees above scolding for roughly 3 hours, but once the wait is over, you’re away.

Recyclable, easy to serve in, easy to eat from, nice.

 

Pizza Plate 10/10

Now this we love!

Pizza packaging

And here’s 5 reasons why:

  1. Pizza is great
  2. It folds flat which means you don’t have to rest your wrists on the corrugated and harsh edges of a traditional not-flat pizza box.
  3. It’s got little cutlery holders which are adorable and very practical, because;
  4. Greasy fingers are not great.
  5. It folds up into a perfect carry case which is stylish and easy to hold.

Top marks for Pizza Plate.

 

Tuna Burger Box 7/10

This next packaging design concept scores quite high on our list.

As mentioned previously, we’re fans of keeping it simple.

Tuna burger packaging

An honest, cardboard box is tricky to criticise and, particularly where burgers are concerned.

The box aspect is greatly suited to catching any falling debris and burger goodness which means you don’t have to worry about being shunned by your pals if you go in for the ‘5 second rule’, but they don’t!

What makes this design especially enjoyable is the decoy writing on the side.

Most people think they’re getting a jacket potato, when in fact, they open up the simple box and BOOM! It’s a tuna burger!

 

Paper Cup Tea Holder 3/10

This tea holder does not fill us with confidence.

tea holder packaging

It would be great if you wanted to look as British as possible while drinking from a takeaway cup, because you can hold it like a china cup with your pinky finger extended and sip away dandily.

However, as a heat guard, we can’t understand why the traditional sleeve needs changing.

It doesn’t look study and we’re not convinced that the dainty looking holder has that ‘grab a coffee and go’ feel to it.

Here’s another thing I bet you hadn’t thought of: whose cup holder can accommodate that shape!?

We think this design is ‘over egging the pudding’ somewhat and the humble, yet sturdy and effective, heat sleeve ought to be left to doing the fine job that it does.

 

If you’re considering standing out from the crowd or shaking up the packaging status quo in your town, then give our team a call about custom design.

How to make Sushi Rolls
Takeaway-Packaging-Sushi-Recipes

We’re mad about Sushi this week at Takeaway Packaging. Ever fancied making your own sushi rolls? Follow this simple recipe and let us know how you get on!

Ingredients
Serves: 8
  • 150g uncooked short-grain rice
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 nori seaweed sheets
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, cut into small strips
  • 2 tablespoons pickled ginger
  • 1 avocado – peeled, stone removed and cut into small strips
  • 225g smoked salmon, crab meat or tuna, flaked
Method
Ready in: 1 hr 5 min

In a medium saucepan, bring 325ml of water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. In a small bowl, mix the rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Blend the mixture into the rice.

Preheat your oven to 150 C / Gas mark 2. On a medium baking tray, heat the nori in the preheated oven for 1 to 2 minutes, until warm.

Centre one sheet of nori on a bamboo sushi mat. Next, wet your hands. Using your hands, spread a thin layer of rice on to the sheet of nori and press into a thin layer. Arrange 1/4 of the cucumber, ginger, avocado and seafood of your choice in a line down the centre of the rice. Lift the end of the mat, and gently roll it over the ingredients, pressing gently. Roll it forward to make a complete roll. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Cut each roll into 4 to 6 slices using a wet, sharp knife. Serve immediately.

Enjoy your Sushi Rolls!

Like this blog? Read all about our branded Sushi packaging solutions here.

View more recipes at AllRecipes

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3 Tasty Noodle Recipes
Takeaway Noodles

There’s an old Chinese proverb which says that the longer the noodles you eat the longer you live.

The Takeaway Packaging crew all agree that they want to live as long and as fully as possible, so we put our heads together, scoured dozens of recipes, heated our woks and trialled an insane amount of noodles.

We picked out the 3 best and easy to make noodle recipes that can be enjoyed on the go, in the office, in the park, and work perfectly in our bespoke noodle boxes.

No matter how long the noodles you serve to your customers, you can guarantee delight with these tasty recipes and impress with our customized boxes.

 

Asian Garlic (Spaghetti) Noodles

(For full details check out damndelicious.net)

Makes 4 servings
Prep Time: 30 mins

This recipe is amazing, quick and uses the ingredients you will already have.

No fuss, super delicious.

If you allow spaghetti to count as noodles then you can get some really long ‘noodles’ and you’ll basically live forever!

You need:
225g Spaghetti
1 tbsp olive oil
225g sliced mushrooms
1 diced red pepper
2 diced courgettes
1 grated carrot
2 tbsp fresh chopped coriander leaves

(optional) 350g peeled medium-size prawns

For the sauce
80ml reduced sodium soy sauce
3 minced garlic cloves
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp ground fresh chili paste (or more if you like it fiery!)
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 tbsp sesame oil

Directions

  • In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, chilli paste, oyster sauce, ginger and sesame oil; set aside.
  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta; drain well.
  • Heat olive oil in a large pan/wok over medium high heat.
  • If including add prawns, and 2 tablespoons soy sauce mixture, and cook, stirring occasionally, until pink, about 2-3 minutes; set aside.
  • Otherwise/then stir in mushrooms, pepper, courgettes and carrot to the wok.
  • Cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Stir in spaghetti, (prawns) and remaining soy sauce mixture until well combined, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with coriander.
Takeaway Noodle Recipes

Chungah Rhee: Image Source

Gluten-Free Mexican Chicken Noodle Soup

(For the original recipe head over to Heather Christo’s post on heatherchristo.com)

Makes 8 servings
Prep Time: 11 mins

Noodle dishes don’t always have to contain gluten and they don’t always have to be Asian.

This recipe is as interesting and different as it is delicious.

Delight your customers with this gluten-free takeaway option and rest assured they’ll be back!

You need:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 finely diced yellow onion
1 minced clove garlic
330g fresh chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 litre chicken broth
180g diced celery
4 large peeled and diced carrots
1 ‘ear’ of corn (cut off the cob)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
435g cooked, shredded chicken breasts
227g gluten-free spaghetti noodles
Garnish: chopped avocado, cherry tomatoes, fresh coriander, lime wedges

Directions:

  • In a large pot, over medium heat add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the onion and the garlic.
  • Saute until soft and golden, 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the fresh tomatoes and cook, stirring in for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the dry spices and mix in and then the broth.
  • Bring the soup to a boil and then place a lid on the pot and turn to lowest heat, simmering for 15 minutes.
  • In the jar of a blender (in batches) or with an immersion blender, puree the soup base until smooth.
  • Add the diced celery, carrots and the corn.
  • Add the oregano and chicken breast and stir to combine.
  • Place the lid back on the pot and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente.
  • When the pasta is cooked, rinse well with cold water and then add to the soup.
  • Season well with kosher salt and garnish with chopped avocado, cherry tomatoes and fresh coriander; serve with a lime wedge.
Takeaway noodles

Heather Christo: Image Source

Vegan Spicy Sesame & Peanut Noodles

(Recipe courtesy of Kathleen Henry via produceonparde.com)

Makes 6 servings
Prep Time: 25 mins

Vegan dishes have never been more popular. Keep your offering current and your vegan customers raving about you with this scrumptious dish.

Winter woes be gone! This warming lunchtime go-to is a sure winner!

You need:
550g dried spaghetti noodles
1 bunch of fresh chopped broccoli rabe, florets and stems
35g white sesame seeds + more for garnish
60ml sesame oil
60ml + 2 tbsp soy sauce
60ml rice wine vinegar
3 tbsp vegan granulated sugar
3 tbsp sliced fresh ginger
2 heaped tbsp creamy peanut butter
4 large roughly chopped garlic cloves
1 ½ tbsp fresh garlic chili paste, to taste
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
4 fresh sliced green onions

Directions:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat for the pasta.
  • Cook according to the package, about 9 minutes, until al dente.
  • When there’s about 3 minutes left for the noodles to cook, add the chopped broccoli rabe to parboil.
  • Strain the noodles and broccoli rabe; return to the pot and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a small frying pan toast the sesame seeds over medium-low heat for about 5-8 minutes until slightly golden brown and fragrant, stirring frequently (taking care not to burn). Place in blender once finished.
  • Add the remaining ingredients in the blender along with the sesame seeds, excluding the green onions.
  • Blend on high until super smooth.
  • Stir into the cooked pasta and broccoli rabe until well combined along with the green onions.
  • Serve warm with a smile!

Whether they’re Mexican, Asian, gluten-free, vegan, sticky, cold or warm, your noodles will look best in our fully customizable takeaway noodle boxes.

Reach out to our design team to make sure that your branded packaging stands up to the tastiness of your noodles.

And remember, long noodles = long life!

Engaging your customers: 5 Amusing Uses for Paper Coffee Cups
Ecoware 5 - Takeaway Packaging

There are so many ways to have fun with paper cups & get your customers involved. Branded paper cups prove an effective method of spreading brand awareness and increasing online engagement. Just think of how many coffee cup images you see on Instagram every day! There are even dedicated hashtags to the cause….

1. Create your own (in-store)
Paper cups can be used as a creative way of keeping children entertained in coffee shops. Providing you have some crayons & pencils available, try getting the kids to design their very own paper cups. This is a great option if you’re looking to increase engagement, both online and in-house.

2. Make your own Maracas’
Encourage visitors to create their own maracas using two paper coffee cups and a handful of coffee beans! This is ideal for themed cafes. Take full advantage of this the next time your hosting a live band!

Cobbs Cup - Takeaway Cups
3. Create a buzz (pun intended!)
Everyone loves a free drink. Add stickers to the bottom of your branded paper cups. Any lucky customers who find the stickers get a free drink. Simple!

EcoCups - Ecoware -Takeaway Packaging
EcoCups by Ecoware

4. The Cup Game
Set up a stand outside of your store to get customers flocking! No one can resist a talented cup maestro, and it will look great on your social media.
View this video for full instructions and tips.

5. Find the Coffee Bean
It’s simple. Three cups. One coffee bean. If your customers find the bean… you owe them a free drink!

Looking into branding your paper cups? We have a variety of paper cups to choose from, get in touch with us or view our range online.

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10 Inspired Coffee Puns for Valentine’s Day
Takeaway Packaging Valentines Day

Happy Valentine’s day all. Here are some classic coffee puns to brighten your day – enjoy!

 

Are you from Starbucks? Because I love you a latte

 

You are simply brew-tiful

 

Words cannot espresso how much you mean to me

 

Everything I brew, I brew it for you

 

You mocha me happy

 

I think you’re teariffic!

 

We’re a matcha made in heaven

 

Your puns are Tearrific

 

I’ve bean thinking about you

 

Ice Cold Coffee = Cool Beans

Heart-shaped coffee beans

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