One of the things that I really like about Mexican culture is the custom of saying provecho to other diners as you leave a restaurant. Provecho means bon appétit or “enjoy your meal”.

Usually as you get up to leave your table you say provecho to the people at the table nearest yours, but sometimes you hear people saying it as they pass more than one table.

When I’m in a restaurant I have a tendency to forget that I’m in a room full of people. My table and my companions and my food become my temporary little world. And I think that many Americans are just like me. There’s a sense in the U.S. that people want to be left alone when they are eating in a restaurant. So the last thing you are going to do when you are dining out there is to talk to the people at the next table.

But in Mexico that spell of isolation is broken. You ARE in a room full of people. And it’s acknowledged in a polite and particularly kind way. I like that.

Similar Posts

11 Responses to “Provecho”

  1. Nancy
    May 24th, 2008 16:52

    I love the custom, too. Just another way where Mexicans connect with each other while Americans try to disconnect from all but their immediate group.

    Mazatlan is kind of like a small town in that locals – both gringos and nationals – greet each other on the street almost all the time. Now it just seems rude to not say hello as you pass by. But when we were in Mexico City last month nobody did it and I found myself missing the connection it gives.

  2. RiverGirl
    May 24th, 2008 18:04

    Yes, I also like how often Mexicans greet each other in public. Americans do this in some places, rural places mostly I think, But here in Cancun you pretty much say hi to everyone you pass unless there’s too big a crowd.

  3. Jackie
    May 24th, 2008 18:08

    I always talk to people at other tables in restaurants in Mexico as well as in the US. My daughter used to be embarrassed by me talking to other diners when she was young. Now that she is an adult she talks to everyone as well. I do admit that many people in the US look at me like I am invading their space if I make a comment or ask them a question while they are eating.

  4. RiverGirl
    May 24th, 2008 18:13

    Jackie – I have a tendency to talk to everyone everywhere. And I get a lot of dirty looks because of it. I’m a natural big mouth I guess. That’s probably why blogging is a natural medium for me…always ready to give my opinion…whether you like it or not.

    Love your photos by they way…

  5. Norma
    May 25th, 2008 10:51

    Hi! im from the CancunCare forum… i gotta tell you, i totally love your blog… i enjoy reading it a lot. i live in cancun too, i just moved here and its been quite hard for me, cant imagine how hard its been/was for you…

    Provecho 🙂

  6. RiverGirl
    May 25th, 2008 19:10

    Thanks Norma! I appreciate the compliment. Moving to Cancun is usually harder than people think it will be, at least it seems that way to me.

  7. Gary Denness
    May 25th, 2008 19:43

    Hi Nancy – did you stay in the Centro area of DF? In the more tourisyt area I guess the custom might be overlooked, but venture a little further out and you will be ‘Provecho’ed’ here as much as any where else in the country, fear not!

    I have to be honest, I don’t say it to anyone. It’s just one of those cultural boundaries, along with cheek kissing, that (as a cold Londoner – does that offer an explanation?!) I have found difficult to cross!

  8. RiverGirl
    May 25th, 2008 22:30

    I like that people say provecho, but I don’t always feel comfortable saying it. I kind of have to plan to say it, otherwise I forget to.

  9. heatherinparadise
    May 26th, 2008 08:49

    That is, hands down, one of my FAVORITE of Mexican customs. It’s pretty second-nature to me now, like the cheek kissing. I really embarrass myself up north when I greet people now with a cheek kiss. Not to mention the way I forget to throw the paper in the toilet when I’m in the US. *blush*

  10. RiverGirl
    May 26th, 2008 10:17

    Yes, cheek kissing is second nature to me now and I tend to do it in the States also, which sometimes makes people uncomfortable.

  11. Cheek Kissing in Mexico | RiverGirl
    June 1st, 2008 12:25

    […] addition to liking the Mexican custom of saying Provecho I also like the common custom of greeting people by kissing them on the […]

Leave a Reply

  • Advertising

Pueblo Maya - Mexican Restaurant & Craft Market, Chichen Itza, Piste, Yucatan Yucatan Direct: Real Estate for Sale by Owner in Yucatan, Mexico The Truth About Mexico
  • Blogosphere