That's right... FORKED. It's what I call when you go to an ethnic restaurant and get treated like you don't "get" the food and/or culture based on your appearance. Because I love trying new things, it's something that happens on occasion to me. Allow me to demonstrate...
Last week, we went to an authentic Szechuan (Sichuan) restaurant and were shown to a particular table. I didn't notice right away but it was the only table set with cutlery; the other tables were set with chopsticks. When I ordered the Pork Belly with Chili Leeks, the listing did have one of those little leaf dingbats next to it... SPICY!!! Yes. Good. That's what I want. I had tried the dish a couple of times at the local Asian market and had eaten previously at an authentic Hunan restaurant, Fortune Cookie which served food soooo spicy (you know the "so hot you cry, pause, and take another bite" spicy). But when I received it, it was rather mild with the exception of some thai peppers. I ate it as is, thinking "oh maybe this is how they make it" until after we got the check... and it was listed as "less spicy". Arg. I was FORKED.
Ok, maybe my hubbie shouldn't have ordered the chicken and broccoli... but still I beg of you ethnic restaurants out there... DON'T ASSUME.
Ask us what spice level we want, share the "secret menu", ask us if we want chopsticks/eat with our hands. If we look like we don't know what to order, ask if you can make suggestions. There are lots of people like us who are up for leaving it up to the waiter (we do it often at Dynasty, a FANTASTIC Cantonese restaurant and have never had something we don't like). Be excited to share your culture and cuisine... You know that saying "Enter as strangers, leave as friends"? You will get converts who will bring friends who will... oh, you've seen the shampoo commercial.
3-11-13 updated to reflect that Dynasty has closed due to retirement.