The aroma in the restaurant was pleasing, with each dish that passed their table, puffs of steam bringing the hints of garlic and soy sauce, Skylar felt their mouth water more. Besides the occasional clanging of woks and utensils from the kitchen, every table contributed to the din with conversation and bursts of laughter.
Red was everywhere, the paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling, the top third of the walls, and the cloth napkins. At first Skylar though it was a date place because of the red, but then they saw mostly large parties claiming the round tables with a spinning section in the middle.
"Red is considered lucky in a lot of cultures." Emily explained while John talked to the host. Skylar nodded.
The menus were laminated, with a loopy font, the letters blurring together.
"Don't worry." John passed Skylar a folded napkin. "We already know what we are ordering."
"Good. Because the examples I've seen did not fully encompass the complexities nor the variations of style within the style." Emily and John ordered without looking or using the names of the dishes, just a few numbers and the waiter was gone once more.
Before anything else, Skylar had a question about the utensil that came out of the rolled up napkin. It was red, with fork tines on one end, but it was longer than a regular fork, and it split to have sticks. “What is this?”
“A chork.” Emily picked up hers, twirling it around her fingers. “Works as a fork for me, since it’s less frustrating. John snaps his,” There was a small sound as he broke the plastic apart, “to use as actual chopsticks sine he is so refined like that,”
“I wouldn’t use the word refined-”
“So it’s both a fork and chopsticks,” Emily continued over John. “You can even keep the sticks together and use them like chopsticks, but like, way easier to hold, and you don’t have to worry about the tension you use to hold your food.”
“Cultured is a better word.” John finished after Emily was done.
“Doesn’t matter too much, because with the right tone both words can make you sound like some snob.”
John took his chopsticks, curled his fingers over them, and showed Skylar how to move one of them back and forth to pick up food. “But all that really matters, is that you enjoy the food.”
Their waiter arrived with a large tray full of chow mien, egg rolls, and fried rice.
“Fill your plate,” John said, clicking his chopsticks, “we always have leftovers, so maybe with a third person we won’t have as much.”
“Is that a challenge John?” Skylar held up their training chopsticks.
“I second the challenge!” Emily hit her fist on the table. “To no leftovers!” As Emily and Skylar filled their plates John rolled his eyes.
“Me and my big mouth.” He muttered.
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