WHETHER you are eating alone or with a group of friends, you are bound to come across the usual characters that make your dining experience a little more memorable.
Sometimes these antics can even be seen during a fancy dinner party where you expect to see the best in guests, but someone will always appear to change that perfect scene you imagined.
Not all is bad though, here are some examples of Malaysian dining habits that we have learned to put up with every day:
1. Shutterbug syndrome
You are hungry and your food arrives after a long wait but your friend snatches it away to snap photos of it from various different angles. This is, of course, for his or her Facebook or Instagram post. You are left watching as your friend starts to adjust the lighting. Sometimes you end up being their assistant, providing additional lighting using the torchlight app on your cellphone.
2. Loud chewers
They slurp and munch loudly, perhaps to announce to the rest in the eatery that they are enjoying their meal very much. It is terribly annoying but they do not seem to realise it and you pray silently that the other customers are not staring at you and your dining companion.
3. Crazy about chilli
It is only normal that most Malaysian meals are served with some kind of chilli to accompany the dish. Whether you are in a local or Western restaurant, you will find Malaysians demanding for more shredded chillies or sambal.
There will always be a friend who is secretly saving up every sen he has but still shows up at every gathering especially when it involves food. However, he will usually insist on only paying for what he ordered, instead of sharing out the bill equally as is the common practice. Worse, some even feign ignorance when the bill arrives, much to the disgust of the rest.
This person is physically present at the dining table but not his attention. This is because he is busy updating his status on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media account he has, to inform his friends and followers where he is currently hanging out. You might even catch him watching videos or playing a game on his cellphone.
6. Passion for sterilising
This particular group of people are always equipped with wet wipes and paper napkins and can be seen wiping everything from cutlery to chairs and tables before settling down to eat.
7. Sharing is (not) caring
Your friend eyes that juicy burger on your plate and regrets not ordering the same item. Without asking you for permission, he picks up your burger and takes a few bites. Before you know it, half your meal is gone.
It happens especially when you are hungry and feel like having everything on the menu. You think you are able to finish it all because you did not eat the whole day. Halfway through the meal, you wonder why you made that foolish decision and ask the waiter to pack the leftovers for you.
9. Picky eater
You like eating char kuey teow but you hate the tiny bean sprouts especially when they are not from Ipoh. On other days, you order a simple roti canai but you request for a different shape because round and square shapes irritate you.
There is always someone out there trying to be your dietician at mealtimes. They will preach about everything they read from the Internet and lecture you on what you should and should not eat. When they see you ordering deep-fried dishes, they will use paper napkins to soak up excess oil from your food.
Special thanks to Alex Tan, New Yoong Chee, Jonathan James Tan, Eva Wong, Jacqueline Tee and staff members of Cafe 9 Taste of Thai restaurant for assisting in the video production.