Tonight I received four different looks from a waiter. They put me in mind of a concerned parent rather than the waiter of a small food place in Hong Kong. The first look was the 'dad I want a bike look'. This was the slightly bemused look given when I walked into the establishment and for the menu that wasn't burgers, steaks and hot dogs.

The second look was an 'ok let's see if you're ready for this' given when I ordered something suitably non-plain. The third look was that of 'you have passed the test'. This was the look I imagine a father giving his child when he asks for the stabilisers to be removed. A little bit of worry, but mostly pleases at taking this step. This look was given in response to my bemused answer of 'chopsticks' when asked what cutlery I wanted. The smile I got when he asked if I was sure I didn't want a fork and spoon is something that will stay with me for a long time. The final look, one that I can only describe as surprised happiness came after he came to check on me and saw that a) I was using the chopsticks, but b) was not covered in food and nor was the table. I know it sounds weird, but really this waiter seemed so genuinely pleased that id ordered an Asian dish, and ate it with chopsticks that his entire demena became so much more friendly and attentive that I could not help but wonder why he should seem surprised in the first place. Does he have a regular cadre of westerners turn up demanding the blandest thing on the menu, and there had better be a fork on that plate when I get it?

Either way I seemed to satisfy some unwritten requirement, and for my part I had a damn nice meal. At this point I'm really unsure how I can return to such things as mums shepherds pie or a ham & colslaw sandwich. Give me something with a little kick on any day!

Sent from my iPhone

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