Tag Archives: Courtesy

¡Buen provecho!

12 Jun

“You can get through life with bad manners, but it’s easier with good manners.”

~ Lillian GishTela coconut prawns

One of the more endearing Honduran customs is to wish anyone and everyone you see eating, ¡buen provecho!

Buen provecho doesn’t really have a literal translation that makes sense—it’s the Spanish equivalent of saying ‘enjoy your meal’ or ‘bon apppétit’.

And by anyone and everyone, I literally mean anyone and everyone.

Joining friends or family at the table to share a meal? ¡Buen provecho!

Walking past other diners in a restaurant to get to your seat? ¡Buen provecho!

Ducking into the office kitchen to get a cup of water where colleagues are eating lunch? ¡Buen provecho!

Sitting at a table in the mall food court close to other shoppers munching on fast food? ¡Buen provecho!

Wandering past someone who looks like they might be contemplating eating a meal? ¡Buen provecho!

Ok, so that last one’s not true, but you get the idea.

It’s taken me a little while to get used to, and to remember to say it to people I see eating.

My first couple of weeks here I was always barging into the lunch room at work without acknowledging those eating. Hopefully my foreignness gave me a get-out-of-jail-free card and people didn’t think I was too rude.

Once I return home I’ll have to train myself not to say it to any strangers I see eating. Although maybe instead of getting odd looks, I’ll be able to get it to catch on?

It is a nice, friendly custom after all. And one that’s more understandable than belly flashing.   🙂

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the standard reply back to buen provecho is either gracias (thank you) or gracias, igual (thanks, you too) if the person who has wished you a good meal also happens to be eating.