DEAR MISS MANNERS: My wife and I love East Asian food and are completely comfortable with chopsticks. We understand that bamboo chopsticks come from a renewable resource, although using them one time in a restaurant and then sending them to the landfill seems wasteful.
My main problem is that some restaurants provide chopsticks that apparently have been used before, though rewrapped. They do not always appear to have been thoroughly washed. I don’t bother to use recycled, untreated wooden chopsticks, and I request metal flatware instead.
We own several sets of chopsticks, including one set with two pairs held in a slender, unostentatious teak box. I would much prefer to take them with us to restaurants we patronize, for the reasons I’ve mentioned, but my wife refuses, insisting that doing so would be gauche. I will accept your opinion as decisive.
GENTLE READER: Dining out is an act of faith, not only that the flatware will be clean, but also that the fish has not been sitting on the counter since last Tuesday.
Miss Manners does not allow you to bring your own utensils, particularly since you have an acceptable alternative (asking for flatware).
If this seems harsh, she encourages you to consider that if the proprietors of the restaurant use soiled chopsticks, you might wish to change venues out of a reasonable concern about their less visible sanitary choices.