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5 Dining Tips You Should Always Remember When Eating Out

il-patioPic­ture this, you trav­el abroad for work or leisure, and like we all do, you get to town and decide to try out a fan­cy restau­rant. The wait­er or wait­ress hands you the menu and you stare blankly after scan­ning through for more than 60 sec­onds.  It becomes offi­cial­ly awk­ward when you real­ize almost every meal on the menu is new to you.

If you are adven­tur­ous with food or hang­out with friends from dif­fer­ent races and nation­al­i­ties, you prob­a­bly have expe­ri­enced this at least once in your life time. The big ques­tion is, what do you do in a sce­nario like this?

Tip #1 – Ask the wait staff to rec­om­mend a meal

When you are out alone and the menu looks total­ly strange, you can take the risk of rely­ing on the wait staff for direc­tion. I am assum­ing here that you both don’t have a lan­guage bar­ri­er. The last thing you want, is to be try­ing to make con­ver­sa­tion with some­one who either doesn’t under­stand the lan­guage you are speak­ing or can’t com­pre­hend your accent.

If there are no com­mu­ni­ca­tion bar­ri­ers, induct the wait staff about your eth­nic back­ground, aller­gies, top favourite meals that he/she can relate to and then ask for his/her rec­om­men­da­tion. If the wait staff has been prop­er­ly trained and gained some expe­ri­ence serv­ing at restau­rants, he/she should be able to rec­om­mend a good meal. In fact the abil­i­ty of the wait staff to rec­om­mend an appro­pri­ate meal for a first time vis­i­tor, is a ser­vice rat­ing point. If you are din­ning at 4–5-star restau­rant, its almost a giv­en that the wait staff will be on top of his rec­om­men­da­tion game.

How­ev­er, be very care­ful not to over trust the wait staff’s judge­ment, put your gut instinct to use too.

Tip #2 – Be open to your fel­low din­ers

I had to tell my oyin­bo col­leagues the truth o, no form­ing. I told them the restau­rant they took me to, wasn’t estab­lished to cater for Africans” – Kehinde

Which one is bet­ter, to buy food and not be able to eat it, or to be laughed at by your friends? I will choose to be the clown of the group over wast­ing mon­ey o. As long as you can get help with mak­ing a meal choice, I believe ask­ing your friends on the table, is a good way to go. If its not a busi­ness din­ner where you are meet­ing some­one for the first time, then you are most like­ly with a friend or col­league that you are famil­iar with. So don’t be ashamed, go ahead and tell them that you are over­whelmed by the menu choic­es, ask for their help to either make an order on your behalf or dis­cuss the menu options with you so you can choose.


Tip #3 – Ask for description/explanation

Na to ask for expla­na­tion o, till I see some­thing wey dey sim­i­lar to wetin I sabi” – Chuks

If you are din­ing alone or with friends who are as lost as you are about the meals on the menu, please ask the wait staff to describe each meal with empha­sis on major ingre­di­ents. This real­ly helps with mak­ing choic­es because you might find that they only renamed a meal you already know…all nah pack­ag­ing. If you dis­cuss the condi­ments like what meat was used, how it was pre­pared, major ingre­di­ents used, what the dish is like, etc. It’s very like­ly, you’d find a famil­iar and appro­pri­ate meal that you can order and try out.


Tip #4 – Look for famil­iar food ele­ments

Most restau­rants have short descrip­tions to go with each menu item, take out time to read them before plac­ing your order. The descrip­tions will give you a feel of how the food was made, what condi­ments were used, etc. You most like­ly will find a famil­iar major ingre­di­ent in one of the descrip­tions, order that meal!


Tip #5 – Order the most pop­u­lar meal

There are high chances that the most pop­u­lar meals on the menu appeal to a wide range of peo­ple and it just might be safe to order this meal. This is espe­cial­ly true for meals with chick­en as a main ingre­di­ent; except you’re a veg­e­tar­i­an, what can pos­si­bly go wrong with chick­en?

It’s also safe to go with the sig­na­ture dish of the house, a meal the restaurant’s chef has a rep­u­ta­tion of mak­ing flaw­less­ly well.

Have you been in a sit­u­a­tion like this? How did you wig­gle out? Share your expe­ri­ences in the com­ments sec­tion below.

This post was first pub­lished here:

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