¡Buen provecho!

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Our breakfast in Queretaro

One of the things I've enjoyed about spending longer in one country – we've been in Mexico for 4 months now, our longest stint yet! – is getting a better understanding of the culture. We're starting to pick up on things that we might not have noticed on a shorter trip.

My favourite discovery is buen provecho, which means 'bon appétit' or 'enjoy your meal'.

While that's something you only hear occasionally from a waiter or the people you're eating with back home, in Mexico it's used all the time. So if you're sitting down to eat in a restaurant and another table is leaving they'll say buen provecho to you on their way past. Or if you're eating outside or in a public place, a passerby might give you a nod and a buen provecho. It's a moment of connection between strangers, something you really appreciate when communication can be difficult (our Spanish isn't coming along as well as we'd hoped).

Our best experience of this was in Querétaro a few weeks ago. It was our last morning and we were tucking into big plates of huevos rancheros in a cafe before catching our bus to Guadalajara. In walked a group of ten teenage boys in blue football uniforms, laughing and joking with each other. As they passed our table, they each said buen provecho to us and smiled.

Now, I'm not sure where you're from, but it's pretty hard to imagine that happening in London.