A few years ago, I didn’t mind eating alone. I was comfortable walking into a restaurant by myself, sitting down with my laptop that I used for uni, munching on my Zen Hen and sweet potato chips, while happily sipping my iced tea.
During the last year of my university degree, I promised myself that I would focus on lifting my grades up and making sure I graduate by the end of the year. I preferred studying by myself, in my own time, and at my own pace. So whenever I got hungry, I went and grabbed something to eat while working. It never bothered me even if I was the only person flying solo in a nice, upbeat restaurant. Not that it bothers me now, but until I met my boyfriend, I didn’t know what I was missing out on. I will spare you the cheesy story until next time, but to cut it short, let’s just say I haven’t had a meal by myself ever since (not by choice anyway).
#1 THE CONVERSATIONS
What’s the biggest thing missing when eating alone? Human interaction. Having family dinners at home where you all sit together and share a meal promotes bonding through conversations. This is where good news and bad news are shared. Mum gets to tell a funny story from work, dad gets to crack seriously lame jokes, and brothers… well, they get to stay quiet because nothing can top dad’s jokes (love you, dad). 🙂
When you go out to meet up with friends to catch up over coffee/tea/dinner, you give them a chance to update you about their lives. As you grow older, you’ll realise how rare these chances will come because everyone will have their own busy lives to live. When your friend goes through a heart-break, I’m sure she would prefer to cry while having some Black Sesame Parfait than over the phone, am I right?
Most importantly, it is a good way to make friends (and maybe find love). On the day that I met Brendan, I had planned to go work on an assignment that required me to observe a café. After class, he offered to keep me company so I didn’t have to go alone, and surprisingly, I agreed. I enjoyed our conversation and made a friend in the process. Now we are in a happy,
#2 THE RELAXATION
Living in a busy city such as Brisbane, I see many people in a rush on an everyday basis. For people like such, instant and on-the-go meals are very helpful. I, myself, am guilty of eating my breakfast in the bus back in uni. Two-minute noodles and microwave meals are the life-savers when it comes to quick dinner solutions.
But when everything around you is so fast-paced, taking the time to step back, slow down and savour the food with family or friends, can be relaxing. Do you have any idea how hard it is to chow down a Bulgogi Burger while talking about your new blog? *wink wink*.
#3 THE DISCOVERIES
When I used to eat alone, I was comfortable, because I kept on going back to the same places all the time. I had no motivation to try out new restaurants because (1) I was too scared to face judgements, (2) some places have very unique ways of ordering system, and (3) if I didn’t know how to order, I wouldn’t have anyone to be clueless with.
Having someone to eat with, you have another person to push you to try new things and discover more places. You know how the saying goes, ‘two heads are better than one’? I believe that two dishes are better than one! When you go to a restaurant and you end up torn between two choices, you have another person who might want to order the other one and you both get to try two dishes at once. #winning
Everyone has different food experiences and when you dine with more people, you get the chance to discover more on what food they have tried, liked and disliked. Say your friend enjoys oysters so she orders it. You, on the other hand, haven’t tried it, so your friend offers you one to try. After trying out your first oyster and liked it, you realised that you have unlocked a new food experience and that you will never be the same person you were before you tried the oyster. Mind. Blown. (No, seriously, that’s how I feel every time I try a new dish)
#4 THE CONSTANT LEARNING
When it comes to food, the learning never stops. I don’t know about you, but Brendan and I have a lot of discussions about how to pronounce complicated food names from the menu before ordering. We end up bickering until one of us pulls out a phone and starts googling. At the end of the day, we get to enjoy the food and learn something new at the same time.
Another way I constantly learn is at the dining table. Everyone loves the dishes mom cooks – I love them, my friends love them – so I make sure to ask how she cooked them and try to remember. Have you ever been to a Filipino party? Yup, it is not a Filipino party unless there’s a long table filled with food; usually with lechon aka roasted pig on a spit. It’s tradition. Everyone brings dishes to share, and I cannot emphasise enough how many times I hear people ask who cooked which and start talking about food recipes. We are all about food.
#5 THE FUN
Need I say more? We, humans, are wired to socialise and develop interpersonal relationships. When you have your family and friends to share your meals with, you create moments together, and these moments are priceless. So however much your food costed you, you know you’re getting a damn good bargain!
So, what are you waiting for? Go send a text to your friends and invite them for a catch up! Or let your parents know you’re joining them for dinner tonight! Whichever one you choose, remember to have fun and eat well. xoxo