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The China Pizza Story

Pizza is a classic Western food and it’s becoming more and more popular in China. Although I like it, I don’t often eat pizza. Why not? Two reasons: One—Eating pizza is a great way to become ridiculously fat. Two—My wife (who is awesome and cool and beautiful, hehe, hello), doesn’t really like it.

Well, she went out of town for the day and suddenly I realized, 'AW YEAH! IT’S PIZZA TIME!'

So, I went to Mr. Pizza and ordered a vegetarian pizza (no meat). I looked around the restaurant. There was a baby screaming. The waitress had broken a glass on the floor. Two girls at the table next to me were trying to get the ketchup out of the bottle and failing. An elderly couple walked by shaking their heads as if to say, ‘back in my day—.’ Some customers at their tables turned around to look at me and whispered to each other, ‘外国人’ (I’m used to it).

Then, I noticed something strange. Everyone was eating their pizza with a fork! I was shocked. I was confused. My eyeballs became big and round, like free-range eggs. In America, pizza is usually a hand food. To help you understand the feeling, here’s an example: You visit America and notice all the locals there eating Chinese rice dishes with a fork instead of chopsticks. You might laugh and think, ‘Huh?!’ (actually, this happens)

Aw yeah, it's pizza time!

So, until my pizza arrived, I tried not to have judgemental thoughts about the people eating their pizza with forks. Finally, the waitress brought my order. I picked up a slice (with my hands) and began eating. Seconds later, ‘Wow, this is pretty good. Thank you, Mr. Pizza, whoever you are. You should be called Dr. Pizza.’ Once things had settled down, I noticed everyone was watching me eat. I tried not to pay attention. I focused on my meal.

After a while, looking up, sweeping the room I saw another really strange thing: The people who had been eating pizza with forks had begun to slowly, almost reluctantly, eat it with their hands, like me! Truth be told, it took Herculean 21-st century willpower to keep my right eyebrow attached to my head. I thought, ‘I must ask my WeChat pals about this later.’ Very interesting, right?

With this story in mind, I have a few questions:

Why did the people in the restaurant imitate my eating habits?
Why do many people in China eat pizza (and sandwiches) with a fork?
Should foreigners in China adjust to Chinese eating habits, even for Western foods?

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