Ethnicquette | The Fork Treatment

Posted by Vinnie Yuen & filed under Uncategorized.

Esther Frid holds "El Atardecer de la Vida," a book she wrote about the stories of seven senior Latin American women living in Canada

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When my white boyfriend and I visited Hong Kong together, we noticed a very consistent and strange trend. We called it “the fork treatment.” Every time we sat down in a restaurant, I would be expected to eat with chopsticks while he would get a fork. We never asked for it. But silently, without a word, a very nice Chinese lady would come by and lay a fork in front of him.

The first time it happened, we laughed. The second time it happened, we laughed again. The third time it happened, we were in awe. To be fair, he can use chopsticks, though not as well as a very seasoned chopstick user such as myself.

It also happens in Vancouver, when we go to restaurants with primarily Chinese customers.

I can’t help but think of their gestures as akin to my Asian mother, who would unnecessarily shove things at me that I don’t need but yet expect me to use (think three packages of Kleenex before you go to school, you know, “just in case” you run out in the next 4 hours).

I also can’t help but picture the same thing happening to me. What if I walked into the Keg and they gave me chopsticks? It’s obviously not the same situation, but that would be a lawsuit waiting to happen!

Any of your white partners get the fork treatment when they come to an ethnic restaurant with you?



About Vinnie Yuen

Vinnie Yuen
Vinnie is a 1.5 generation Chinese Canadian who calls Hong Kong and Vancouver home. She likes story-telling and writing about relationships, gender and identity. Vinnie has a Master of Journalism and B.A. in English Literature from UBC.

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