Picture 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: http://bit.ly/24KtVg4