Could Edible Chopsticks Save Japan's Agriculture?
Sushi with a side of chopsticks?
In Japan, disposable wooden chopsticks make for a lot of wasted wood. That's why the Marushige Confectionery company, based in Nagoya, has created a pair of chopsticks that are functional but also completely edible...ish.
The chopsticks are technically safe to eat, but you're really not in danger of them becoming your new favorite snack food. They're made out of the rush plant igusa, the stuff that they use to make tatami floor mats, those straw mats that you associate with traditional Japan. So yeah, the chopsticks taste like floor mat.
The chopsticks aren't just about preserving wood waste. Marushige Confectionery created these chopsticks with Japan's agricultural heritage in mind—with the popularity of more modern materials in today's Japanese homes, demand for igusa has been falling. These edible chopsticks give the traditional plant a new purpose.
Two restaurants in Tokyo are giving these chopsticks a try: Umato, a restaurant in the Shinbashi district, and Casa Afeliz Ginza, a Spanish-style restaurant in the Ginza district. Casa Afeliz Ginza is excited about these chopsticks, boasting about the product's benefit to Japan's agriculture as well as its super high fiber content (60 times the fiber content of lettuce, according to the chopsticks' promotional video). Although, why wouldn't there be a lot of fiber? You're eating reeds. And hey, the prospect of eating floor mat for dessert might not sound that appetizing at first, but the woman in the video sure seems to be enjoying it.