They leaned back again to make room for the waitress to set down another dish and a small bowl of rice for each of them. Helene poked the new food with her chopsticks. The plate was heaped with steaming chunks of orange yam.
“That,” Nathan said, reaching over to sample a bite, “is the sweet potato you suggested, garnished with donut sprinkles,” he laughed.
“You mean, those little starchy rainbow things small children decorate cookies with?” she asked.
“One and the same.”
“Is this usual for China? Do they often use—”she paused, “—sprinkles to season their dishes?”
Nathan laughed again. “I’ve never seen it before. But everyone has their own take on the local cuisine.”
“I saw the sprinkles in the picture on the menu, but I’d assumed it was just something I wasn’t familiar with. I never thought there would be little candies on yams.” She held a pink sprinkle up on her chopstick for inspection.
“It’s not like we had much choice. It was either this or cow intestine. But you’re French, so maybe that would have been the better decision.”
“Cow intestine is a specialty of my region. Don’t make fun of something you’ve clearly never tried,” she frowned. “You Americans can be so close-minded!” For a moment Nathan wasn’t sure how to respond, unclear if she were joking or serious.
“Just kidding!” she said. Seeing his expression, she smiled sheepishly, as if in apology for having taken him in.
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