(Second day of the O Henry series.)
Day Two: Eating Kosher
They arrived in Canada the morning of day two of their vacation. It had gone relatively well, introducing his family to his Super Junior family. Hankyung and Zhou Mi conversed easily with his parents in mandarin and Shiwon made great strides to speak using his mandarin, also. Donghae, Ryeowook and Kyuhyun understood more than they could speak, so they would reply with nods and shakes of their heads. However, talking wasn’t the biggest part of their agenda that day because, from the moment Henry showed them where they’d be sleeping, each member promptly fell asleep – be it pull-out couch, cot, futon or air mattress.
Henry, who had made the trek from Asia to North America before, was relatively fine and, after a few hours’ nap, he found his bearings again in Canada. It was March and Sunday, and his parents had cleared their day to cater to the Super Junior – M members. Henry was grateful to them and explained how that evening he’d like to take the members out to a restaurant for dinner so his parents could relax.
So, when the members woke up just after the sun had set, Henry happily informed them that they’d be going to his favourite restaurant for dinner. Curious and excited, the six other boys showered and changed into casual clothing. It was after seven when they departed from Henry’s house and made their way through town. Henry’s favourite restaurant turned out to be just another family-setting restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere and a menu that ranged from fries and a burger to pasta and steaks.
Once in the restaurant, he helped each of the members order, explaining this dish and that entrée. The members, feeling well rested, were more upbeat and lively than when they first landed. Henry was just thankful he could be in his favourite restaurant with his members. However, after their food came, that’s when dinner began to spiral towards chaos.
“So,” Zhou Mi began, “When you say ‘steak’… what animal are we talking about?”
Henry looked up from his plate of spaghetti, a forkful already in his mouth. “Hmm?” He attempted as he chewed his spaghetti.
“I know you told me it was steak… but what animal is this from?” Zhou Mi repeated, a smile still on his face,
Henry blinked, “A cow…”
“Oh, so this isn’t a traditional Canadian restaurant,” Zhou Mi nodded his understanding before picking up his fork and steak knife and began cutting up the thick slab of meat.
Henry, however, did not understand. Swallowing his food, he straightened in his seat and looked around at the other members. Although they had ordered readily, now that the food was before them, each was looking at their plate with a hesitance and scepticism Henry couldn’t even fathom. Finally, he put down his fork and crossed his arms lightly,
“Okay, what’s wrong?” When no one said anything, he prompted, “All of you – say something.”
When still no one said anything, Hankyung took a deep breath and began to steadily explain, “While we’re all supportive for you and Canada, Henry, we’re very curious about the culture and excited to try new things. We were all excited to come out to dinner and agreed we’d try something from the menu. However,” he looked at the other members who nodded at him encouragingly, “it seems now that we have our meals, we’re not so ready to try something new after all.”
Henry cocked his head, “But… you’ve all had these foods before.”
“Yes, but that was in Korea and China,” Ryeowook stressed, “This is Canada.”
Henry blinked, “I’m… still not understanding, hyungs.”
“We don’t want to eat beaver meat,” Donghae finally blurted.
Henry’s gaze immediately swung to Donghae, his jaw dropping ever so slightly, “You don’t want to eat… None of you have beaver meat on your plates!”
“Yeah, you guys,” Zhou Mi added before taking another piece of his steak, “we’ve already been through this; this isn’t a traditional Canadian restaurant.”
“Oh my – that doesn’t even mean anything,” Henry stated, “Traditional Canadian restaurant or not – we do not eat beaver meat!”
“It’s nothing to be ashamed of,” Shiwon said finally, “There are some Koreans who eat dog-”
“Yes, I know that,” Henry replied, “But Canadians do not eat beaver meat! Majority of what we consume is anything you’d get at a fast food restaurant, just like back in Korea. We don’t eat anything weird like beaver!”
“He’s right,” Kyuhyun piped up, “My food’s delicious, for example. By the way, what are these weird chunks with my fries and gravy?”
“It’s cheese,” Henry sighed, running a hand through his hair; glad to have one of his hyungs thinking sensibly.
“Cheese? With fries and gravy?” Kyuhyun blinked down at his bowl, “I’d call that weird, Henry.”
“Millions of Canadians would disagree with you,” Henry muttered as he pulled out his raspberry-flavoured lip balm and just played with the lid as he did during times of great duress.
Kyuhyun considered his fries before spearing more onto his fork, “Canada is certainly fascinating.”
Henry looked at the leader, “What gave you all the insane idea that Canadians eat beaver meat?”
Without answering, each of them – including Zhou Mi, who was disappointed to hear there was no such thing as a traditional Canadian restaurant and had paused in eating his steak – slowly turned their gazes to the second youngest member of their group.
As if sensing their heated glares, Kyuhyun swallowed his food and looked up at them. He threw them all a big, innocent smile before stabbing more gravy-topped, cheese-sprinkled fries and bringing the Canadian delicacy to his waiting mouth, “Like I said: fascinating.”
(Day Three- Je m'appelle Shiwon.)