I mentioned that is what youtiao are called in Australia. That name isn’t exactly traditional, though it does speak to an important feature of youtiao. Specifically that they are made in long, skinny pairs. They’re fried up and served that way, and before commencing the meal you usually pull them apart, just like a pair of chopsticks. So the metaphor works.
The obvious question here is: why are youtiao made this way? There is no definitive answer to that question. However there is a non-definitive answer, one rooted in a story from Chinese history and folklore, whereby an unscrupulous minister and his wife plotted the murder of one of China’s most famous patriots. We’ll get into that story next.