- Rinsing a plate or cup that’s already clean
It’s normal to take a plate out of the cupboard and use it immediately, especially if it has already been washed, but in a Chinoy household, you’ll likely get scolded if you don’t rinse the plate before using it. Even when you’re at a restaurant, it will likely take a while before you can start eating because your parents are either wiping down all the plates and utensils or are too busy taking pictures of the food.
- Refusing to take items at the front of the supermarket shelves
If you’ve accompanied your parents to the supermarket, then you know that they’ll most likely reach to the very back of the shelf just to get the exact same product that’s displayed at the front. Unlike your habit of randomly slapping bags of rice in the supermarket, there’s an actual logic to this because it’s believed that the products at the back have a later expiration date and are in better condition because they haven’t been touched by a lot of people.
- Refusing to be the first to get food or take the last piece from the plate
Another reason why your dinner might be stalled is because the people around the table are pushing the lazy susan back and forth, insisting that the other party be the first to get food. This will go on until someone, either an elder or a “hangry” family member, gives in. At the end of the meal, there will probably be some food left on the plate because everyone is too polite to get the last piece.
- Hoarding plastic bags and takeout containers
Chinoys (and most Asians) are masters of recycling, not necessarily because they have a good waste management system, but because they hoard all the plastic bags in their drawers. The same goes for plastic containers. Nothing pleases a Chinoy parent more than a good sturdy plastic container, so be sure to bring a few of them home every time you eat out to save yourself from getting lectured.
- Fighting to pay the bill
When a group of friends or two different families get together to share a meal, paying for the bill always turns into an Olympic sport. There will always be someone racing to hand their credit card to the waiter, taking a detour from the bathroom to head straight for the cashier, aggressively tugging the bill back and forth, and discreetly slipping money into the pockets of the person who paid.
- Asking “have you eaten?” as a greeting
It’s not common to hear “how are you?” or “how was your day?” as a form of greeting in a Chinoy household. Instead, your family will most likely ask “have you eaten yet?” whenever you get home. It’s often also used as a conversation starter for people who haven’t seen each other in a while, and in some cases, it also serves as an olive branch from parents who had a disagreement with their children.
- Taking 1 hour to say goodbye after family gatherings
Once the meal is over, you and your parents stand up to leave. You expect to exchange a simple goodbye with everyone, but then your parents get roped into a conversation with relatives who were sitting at a different table, while you get cornered by your aunts and uncles, who will most likely interrogate you about your love life. Before you know it, an hour has passed, and your family has forgotten they were supposed to be leaving.