Dining Out in Dumaguete
One can have the best cook at home; once in a while going to a restaurant is certainly nice.
Being a first timer in the Philippines and/or Dumaguete, everything is an exciting new experience, the food is different and the staff appears usually extremely friendly. However, there are some things which might occur a little bit different in restaurants in Dumaguete than what one is used to from restaurants in the home country. This comes from the lacking experience as well as from the absence of proper staff-training and missing ingredients. Dining in Dumaguete is a great experience if one knows that some things here just work a little bit different.
But I ordered a starter…
In most cases the ordered food gets served when it is ready to serve. This results that the starter might come after the main course. When dining with friends some might have finished their entire meal before others even start. Like mentioned above, it is a lack of training. Chefs here rarely have any culinary education and the knowledge to time the orders. Some places cook everything on a tiny stove, others have up to four different kitchens and if the order is Pizza, BBQ, Fish and some Sizzling Sisig, each dish comes from a different kitchen and is served when ready.
Our Tip: If the restaurant prepares your order fresh, just order the starter first. When it arrives put in your order for the main course. That gives enough time to finish your starter before the next course arrives.
Cleaning the Table
This is an action almost unheard of in many restaurants in Dumaguete. We are not talking about that one will be placed on a dirty table, we mean the removal of empty plates and glasses after the customer finished it. If one orders for example a second drink, it is pretty common, that the empty glass or bottle just remains on your table. The same happens to your plates. It appears to be common practice here. One should not be shy to request the removal of the used plates and empty glasses.
You are a Part Time Waiter
When ordering more than one course the above issue of cleaning the table creates sometimes rather funny situations. Having the table full with empty soup bowls plates and a bread basket, will not hold a waiter back to arrive with your main dishes in his hand at your table, even there is absolutely no space to put it. Guests then usually look into the pitiful face of the staff and start doing their job, in terms of cleaning the table to create space for the next course.
Our Tip: Either one calls a waiter/waitress to have empty plates removed in time, or just place it on the next empty table close to you. It will miraculously vanish from there; even it would stay “forever” on your table.