Dining Etiquette: Why Do Some Asians Fight To Pay The Bill?

Fighting over paying the bill for meals is something some of us are guilty of. If we’re the stereotypical Asian eating with other stereotypical Asians, coming out on tops to pay for a meal is often a big battle, sort of a sport in itself.

This is the case with my Chinese family. When I was a kid living in Malaysia, we had countless family gatherings with extended relatives. We’d have dinner at air-conditioned Chinese restaurants where waiters gave us clean plates after each serving. These nights always ended with lots of yelling, relatives arguing at the top of their lungs as to who would pay for the ten-course meals in cash.

Many of us like to be greedy and eat a whole pizza. Just like how some of us clamour to pay for entire meals | Weekly Photo Challenge: Life Imitates Art

Many of us like to be greedy and eat entire pizzas. Just like how some of us clamour to pay for entire meals | Weekly Photo Challenge: Life Imitates Art.

In Chinese culture (and other Asian cultures), offering to pay the bill at the end of a meal out is regarded as polite. This goes for family and business-related dining affairs, and no matter the occasion, bill fights are usually amusing.

Sometimes it’s a pride and face thing that drives the stereotypical Asian to insist on picking up the dining tab. Money is a marker of success along the traditional Chinese train of thought: the more one can afford to spend, the more one can impress. Paying for a meal, the typical Chinese person flaunts their privileged status, coming across as “looking good” and worthy.

This includes my parents. Whilst in Malaysia, once around Christmas my grandparents organised a banquet with a private room at a Chinese restaurant for twenty or so in the family. Naturally as the organisers, they had no qualms footing the bill. As the last dishes of sweet peanut soup and sesame balls were served, my mum walked out the door with a thick envelope. Everyone assumed she was going to the bathroom. When my grandmother went to get the bill, my parents yelled in Cantonese, “Our treat!”

Consequently, some of us of Asian heritage might fight for the bill because we fancy one-upmanship but more importantly, gifting. The opportunity to pay the restaurant bill is a means to leverage connections, a means to remember a relationship.

Just as we may find it hard to pull a pizza apart, we may find it hard to get our hands on the bill.

Just as we may find it hard to pull a pizza apart, we may find it hard to get our hands on the bill.

Historically in Chinese culture, gift giving is an act that allows one to show enthusiasm towards maintaining ties. During the Tang Dynasty, scholars who visited emperors offered the latter rare treasures as a sign of friendship. Confucian thought encourages giving with compassion, encourages individuals to seek out opportunities to give as a mark of respect to heaven and earth. There have been times when my parents organised family dinners and when it came time to get the bill, my relatives laughed in their faces, saying it had been paid. A case of I scratch your back, you scratch mine in terms of spontaneously gifting one a meal.

Sometimes the older, baby-boomer Asian generation wrestles to grab the bill because they feel a duty to provide and pay for food, making sure others have enough to eat. In Chinese culture, the hierarchical family structure sees elders and breadwinners receiving the largest degree of reverence, the ones who can afford to support everyone else. Getting the bill then is an act of love and sacrifice; money is often painstakingly earned, and so then is putting food on the table.

Different people are expected to pick up the dining tab during different occasions. For some birthdays, it’s customary for the birthday person to pay for food, entertainment and cake while the guests bring gifts. When it comes to (heterosexual) dating in Asia, the guy is expected to pay for everything, from the food to fun – which I personally think is nice.

Some of us might go to shady lengths to pay the bill. Just like discretely nicking that last slice of pizza.

Some of us might go to shady lengths to pay the bill. Just like discretely nicking that last slice of pizza.

Losing the bill battle isn’t all embarrassment in front of the typical Asian crowd. Post-fight, there tends to be pats on the backs and a mutual agreement that at least everyone tried. Throughout this camaraderic moment, even the winner swallows their pride. As writer Khalil Gibran said on having good faith:

“Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.”

These days attitudes are changing towards paying the bill among the younger generation Asians, at least in Australia. A survey in 2014 shows 27% of Australians find it acceptable to split the bill when their dining companions have spent more than them. Going Dutch, splitting the bill or paying for the one dish you ordered happens a lot when I eat out with my Asian (and non-Asian) friends here. Perhaps we’re assimilated into Western culture, perhaps we respect each other as equals, or perhaps it’s simply a personal choice based on the expensive life Down Under.

Still, the Asian in me fights to pay the bill time and time again, trying to “shout meals”. One weekday afternoon last year, in between out of a job and drafting my first book, I met up with vegan blogger Rebecca Rossi from Peace & Love & Veggies for the first time over lunch. Pushing my tray of pasta and cake to the cashier, I took out my wallet. Rebecca smiled warmly and said, “It’s taken care of.” My eyes bulged at her. But, but there was no need for that! I don’t deserve that…. Paying the bill is an act of selflessness, and as Greek philosopher Epictetus said:

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”

How we feel when someone pays for our meals depends on the occasion. It depends on where we are, who we’re with and how we feel about that person. When someone shouts us a meal, we might feel humbled, loved and thankful if we’re comfortable in their company. On the other hand, we could feel creeped out or suspicious if we didn’t enjoy their presence.

If we love a certain pizza, we might be hard pressed on sharing it. Just like if we eat out with those we love, we might insist on paying the bill.

If we love a certain pizza, we might be hard pressed on sharing it. Just like if we eat out with those we love, we might insist on paying the bill.

The other day I caught up with another blogger, Lisa from Lisa Dorenfest over dinner. We picked out our meals at a cosy eatery in the city and headed to the cashier. “Let me get it!” I said. You’ve traveled so far to Australia. “No! You don’t have to!” Lisa exclaimed, rummaging through her sling bag. I pulled out a fifty dollar note from my wallet and waved it in the cashier’s face. His eyes lit up. And so did Lisa’s. Maybe I’m turning into my parents with a bit of fight.

Sometimes we pay the bill because we can. Because we want to. And sometimes we simply want others to have a treat, a deserved treat. Paying the restaurant bill: it’s more than just a sport.

Do you fight to pay the bill when eating out?

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309 thoughts on “Dining Etiquette: Why Do Some Asians Fight To Pay The Bill?

  1. That is a lovely tradition Miss Mabel, not at all the Aussie way tho, in fact…. cant say I have ever seen anyone fight to pay the bill… ever. Ha! Not big on fighting to pay a bill, but I figure if I can afford to pay the bill, then I totally do. You do feel good when you do and I work on the theory, the more you give, the more you get. Which to this day has been true. But in saying the above, in most cases the bill is divided so that everyone pays the same, unless otherwise stated, which only happens when its a birthday.

    Cool post, thought provoking as always. Love the quotes too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Love how you put it, Miss Anna – “the more you give, the more you get.” The more we give, the more we help others and if we need a helping hand, chances are we will have support. Speaking of birthdays, I think I’m one of the few ones who doesn’t like it when people pay for my birthday meals. Then again, I don’t like food as gifts and am not a huge fan of celebrating it 😀

      You are great for supporting your little sis. Hope you are well. Best wishes and catch up soon 🙂

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  2. You have some great quotes here, Mabel. I think it’s wonderful when someone insists on treating me to a meal. I used to feel awkward when I was younger, but as I’ve gotten older, I realise that it usually all evens out over time, and everyone is happy. Those pizza pictures are mouthwatering. 😛

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    • It is wonderful when someone insists on paying our meals. Often they do so because they are simply kind. That is a very nice thing. Unlike you, I still feel awkward when people pay for my meals…as you mentioned, it may be something that comes with age. Those pizzas were delicious and I ate them all 😀

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  3. Love your connecting with other bloggers Mabel – whether paying for it or not! I met with a blogging friend when I was in Shanghai and it was so fun putting the real person with the blog. I’m looking forward to meeting another blogging friend in Vancouver this summer. Anyway – as for bill grabbing, we don’t fight over it so much here. Almost always we split the bill evenly between 2 couples. It all works out in the end!

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    • Thanks, Tina. It must have been exciting to meet a blogger halfway across the world. Come to think of it, I might plan my future travels around meeting bloggers. That should be fun. I hope you and your blogger friend have fun in Vancouver.

      It is very decent of you not to fight for the bill. Always makes it for a quiet dining affair 🙂

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  4. we always split. sometimes, depending on the occasion, we or others offer and we don’t fight for the bill. lovely quotes and the “wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants” is my favorite. 🙂

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    • Very kind of you to offer to pay the bill sometimes. A kind gesture can go a long way, and it can be a find memory. That quote is great. It teaches us to value of appreciating what we have around us.

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  5. My ex-girlfriend is Vietnamese and I witnessed the fight over the bill as a way to save face in front of friends and families. I even once paid for my own bill when there were only a few of us out for lunch which turned into this huge taboo no-no scolding which my mind couldn’t fathom at the time. I still thinks it’s kind of silly, but I understand the cultural underpinnings of this phenomenon a lot better.

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  6. The world has become more practical around me now, splitting the bill between my boyfriend and/or group of friends is the normal thing. Although there would be times that either me or my partner, or a friend would take care of the bill as a sign of treat. 🙂 It’s nice that you get to meet with other bloggers.

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  7. I personally really like this tradition which is mostly instilled in our roots as an Asian. I think it signifies generosity and being kind and even respectful. I loved reading those numerous stories you shared from your childhood and different experiences you had in life along the way regarding this tradition.

    I think it’s very necessary to stick with this roots, because although world (especially western part) has always been more about practicality, it has now become a little too practical…and I feel as though we are losing those human values and norms. I know paying bills or picking tabs does not dictate our human values necessarily but it does make up a small part of it. As they say, it’s not always about the big things you do for each other, sometimes it’s the smallest things that matter the most!! 🙂

    Also that birthday treat part is so relate-able for me, because now that I’m in university I have to treat everyone to a birthday party (And everyone else does the same) Puts a dent in my pocket but it’s so much fun. We go out to eat and wander around the city, always something memorable for my birthdays! ^_^

    P.S those pizza pictures were so not fair ! I was literally drooling by the end of your post 😀

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    • Absolutely love how you say that roots dictate our human values, and agree with you there is a place for roots and stereotypes in this world. In fact, I was just writing about this last night in my book 🙂

      It never really is about the money when we pay the bill for someone. It’s always about what the heart feels, all about the generosity that is always there among us.

      If I ever meet you, I will treat you to a good meal! If it’s your birthday and we meet, I will pay for your birthday meal 😀 Those pizzas were delicious, and I am glad you like the photos. I know you are busy with finals, and it is so nice to see you stop by ❤

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  8. During our trip to Taiwan, I met my friend Meihsiu (from wordpress) and her husband and she was paying for the attractions or the meals despite us trying to pay for her. I was impressed and very grateful. She was so nice and generous and she didn’t have to do that ! We were certainly not expecting that. We tried to pay for her and her husband because we were already so thankful they were showing us around. Thankfully, we came prepared and brought plenty of gifts 🙂 Le explained to me that it was part of the asian culture as you explained so well.

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    • From Meihsiu’s photo on Facebook, the three of you (plus Le) looked very happy to meet each other! So generous of her to pay for the attractions, and it sounded like she wanted you and Le to have a very good time!

      Awww, you had gifts for them and I am sure she and her husband loved them 😀 It reminds of the times when I am visiting people and family friends, and my mum would nag at me to bring gifts. Big gifts 😀

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  9. That is so interessting. I had no idea the Chinese culture was like that.
    In Norway it is normal to split the bill. In Bolivia it is as well. I have no problem to pay for others. But not always, then I feel used, and I have stoped going out with people that do that. I love that people offer to pay even if the bill ends up being split 🙂

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    • “I feel used” Exactly how I feel when some people think I’ll pay for their meals after I’ve done it one time. Not all of us are made of money or that well off. Splitting the bill makes a meal all fair and square.

      If we ever have a meal together, I will most certainly offer to pay the bill for the two of us 🙂

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  10. I recently met with a blogger friend for lunch and we both fought over who would pay the bill. We ended up splitting the cost because neither one of us would concede. So I can relate why it is important to pay the bill, Mabel. Lovely article filled with mouth watering pictures of pizza and just beautifully put together. Wonderful write, my friend!! ❤

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    • That is so civil of the two of you to come to an agreement towards the bill. It sounded like a great meal, and I think I remember reading about that on your blog 😀

      All those pizzas tasted great. I love pizza ❤

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  11. Here in Spain sometimes we fight to pay the bill if its just say, a round of drinks, but otherwise we often split the bill in equal shares (not down to the exact cent of what each person’s plate cost). xx

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  12. After I got a job and became self-sufficient, I “fought” to pay the bill with my father. At the very least, it was a way of giving back to my parents. On the other hand, it just seemed to be the right thing to do. When eating out with friends, my friends and I would normally split the bill. However, if the friend/ person involved had been generous in other ways already (for example, had been very helpful with some personal or other concerns), I would foot the bill as a way of saying ‘thank you’.

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    • That is very nice of you to “fight” with your dad to pay the bill. But rarely do parents let you win…they always have their way by putting on an aggressive demeanour and making their stance clear.

      “foot the bill as a way of saying ‘thank you’” Agree with you on that. Sometimes the other person really does deserve a treat for all that they’ve done.

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  13. VERY INTERESTING. once in Mexico, I was dining out with a lady and her father. They were very poor as he was not working at the time. I asked them out and intended to pay. When the bill came, he grabbed it and demanded to pay. I objected. He demanded. I gave in because he looked so determined. And then, the look in his eye and on his face informed me that he was shocked, and that I SHOULD PAY. So I grabbed the bill from him. I suppose it’s about saving face. Personally, I’d just rather pay, and not argue. Actually, I’d just rather stay home and eat.

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    • That is quite hilarious. I think her father was putting on face by offering to pay and to him, that is the polite thing to do. He must have been very convincing since initially you let him pay. But good on you for grabbing the bill. It sounded like the meal out was not something they did too often. Like you, these days I like to eat at home. Much more comfortable and you don’t have to compete with crowds for food.

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  14. Hi M – I will be back to comment more later – but I like the point about the generational differences – (baby-boomer Asian generation wrestles to grab the bill because they feel a duty to provide and pay for food) – and it reminded me of a Seinfeld episode where he takes about picking up the tab – be back later – but wanted to say Hey for now.

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      • Well If I find the Seinfeld snippet I will show you. And we have balance when it comes to paying the bill – depends on who we are with and the terms of eating out – and sometimes separate checks keeps everyone happy. Be back soon amiga

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        • You are very kind, Y. Sounds like a lot of the time, eating out for you is a serene and pleasant experience. Very lovely. No fighting over the bill, just everyone enjoying the food and each other’s company. That’s the first time I’ve been called amiga. I like that.

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  15. Oh Mabel, I should have known better reading this post at lunchtime – I am starving now, looking at all those pizza shots, lol 😀 Seriously though, this is a fascinating post that has given me great insight into a part of Chinese culture I didn’t know. ‘Shouting out’ a meal and the competition to pay for it, and the reasons behind it, this is an excellent essay. I too love the idea of a man paying for a meal on a date. I think it’s important, no matter what generation we are! I love how revered the older, breadwinning generations are in Asian culture. I so wish it was like that with everyone. But the sentiment you capture here is wonderful, it really is true that paying for a meal is a great gift. Whenever we visit the kids (all adults as you know!), we pay for our meals and they are always so grateful for the treat. They go dutch on everything, having lived with roommates for many years during university and then afterwards. So it’s lovely to treat them. And how wonderful you got to meet two bloggers recently…Mabel, that is so lovely for you, and here you treated and then you were treated back! It really is a little here and a little there. It’s what makes the world go round and be a nicer place. Love the quotes too. Wonderful post. And now I’m going to eat my lunch!! 😀 ❤

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    • It is very nice of you to pay for the kids’ meals after all these years, Sherri. Really very thoughtful since putting food on the table isn’t easy for everyone. I am sure they were greatful and in some ways, tried to pay the favour back.

      Some bill fights in Asian culture can get downright ugly, and it takes ages for someone to cave in and admit defeat. There are some out there who really are very passionate about giving others a free meal out of the kindness of their heart.

      I hope I didn’t make you too hungry. Food photography isn’t my forte, but I try. Thanks so much for being so lovely and your kind words ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • I had lunch right after reading your post Mabel, LOL 😀 Wow, that is something to think about that those bill fights can get so ugly sometimes…a big insight to cultural differences. That’s sweet of you to say about us paying for the kids Mabel…I joke with them that oneday I expect payback, haha! Have a lovely day dear one, and I’ll see you again very soon! ❤

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          • Actually, they have done that for special occasions, and I’m in for a treat next weekend in lieu of Mother’s Day which is this weekend! When your kids cook a wonderful meal for you, it makes you think you’ve done something right! Hugs dear Mabel…have a wonderful weekend 🙂 ❤

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  16. I wandered on wp and found myself reading your article here. It’s funny, witty, thoughtful and entertaining! Guess I’m going to stick around and follow you… Please do drop by my blog too! 🙂

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  17. well on a date a man pays, in Collage days our group of friends whenever we went to an eating place we used to empty our pockets and each friend contributed whatever amount he had no matter big or small and we used to order and then usually in the same plate. Gud ol days.

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    • Those sound like fun days when you were in college, Akhiz. Going out after study to eat and relax, excited to pay for your meals by earning the money as you studied. I am sure your significant other loves it when you take her on a date 😉

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  18. I am amused to read your story. Personally I never refuse if someone offers to pay the bill whether it is family, friend, or even girlfriend (she insisted, really). When next dining/lunch occurs, I stand up and say, “Now it’s my turn. You just calm down.”

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    • You are very nice not to fight with the person who offers to pay for your food. I love that line you say the next time round, especially, “You just calm down”. I think I might steal that and use it and see what happens 😀

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      • It goes smoothly for younger friends in college. They love treats. It also works well when I am the initiator of meetup and dining. Otherwise, little bit of traditional dispute might arise but I have advantage to restore my pride by using that sentence 🙂

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        • “They love treats.” Sounds your friends will never ever say no to a free meal 😀 Very organised of you to organise outings and meals, and you take care of everything including the bill most times.

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  19. Being an Asian myself (I’m an Indian,) I can completely relate to your post… There’s always a fight amongst my relatives and family as well, and more often than not, even I have to fight with my parents to pay the bill… This might seem rude to others but they have no idea how much love and affection Asians feel for others. We are indeed really loving and caring and I feel so proud to be an Asian!
    Congrats on writing such a beautiful post, Mabel! You’ve really struck a note here…
    BTW, lovely pics 🙂
    have a great day!

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    • It sounds like everyone is very generous in your family, always wanting to treat each other too food. Yes, Asians can certainly be affectionate to each other in non-touchy ways through our actions. I am proud to be Asian too, and am certainly proud of my roots just like you. Thank you so much for the nice words, Heena 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  20. This is an interesting post. Giving some insight into my Asian friends choices.
    If I fight to pay the bill depends on who I’m with. Some people would be offended if I wanted to pay, others I would never let pay for me. It totally depends on the situation, and the people.

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    • Interesting to hear, Maria. Sounds like you are a very generous person for offering to pay the bill for your friends. Some might be offended because they might think that gesture makes them look poor, as if they can’t afford to pay for their meals and they shouldn’t be out and about eating. Good point to bring up.

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  21. Hi Mabel, what an interesting topic! I always pay the bill with my children and like to offer with friends. Honestly, when I was first divorced and constantly worried about money, I was careful to eat at home more. I didn’t feel right if I couldn’t afford to buy my own way. My Beau almost always pays for our meals and drinks out. I like to treat him once in a while though 😉 I love the way you’ve described the fighting over the bill. that made me laugh! It;s kind of rude if no one tries and has an expectation that the same person will always pay. I love the quotes you’ve shared throughout this post as well. Thanks, Mabel for a thoughtful post!

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    • It is very generous of you to pay the bill for your kids and friends, and I bet they appreciate it. Your Beau sounds like a gentleman, getting the tab and I am sure he likes it when you pay for his food when you get the chance 🙂 I think the worse case scenario is when no one offers to pay and all sit down silently at the end of the meal… I haven’t encountered that yet and hope I never will!

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  22. I love the idea of paying the bill simply ‘because we can’ but I dig the philosophy behind it being ‘a mark of respect to heaven and earth; equally! Love this post Mabel. It scratched my itch of how when I am with my family in Ireland there is always a huge delay at the end of the meal to figure out who will pay (in a good way!) as everyone steps forward. Good to know we are not alone!

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  23. I am notorious for paying the bill. I consider myself a professional buyer of drinks. I do have argue with people over it though and usually with friends we rotate the bill. One thing for sure is I may buy you a drink but if I feel your just showing up to get a free round you’ll be left with a frown.

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  24. Hi M – told ya I’d be back! and first of all – love the pictures of the pizza – different toppings and great shots – glad I was not hungry when viewing this – lol
    and the little analogies were so you – like the tearing apart the pizza – the shadow – just tasty putting together the thoughts – analogies and photos.
    then – oh my how cool that you went out with Lisa – I follow her blog and well, just super cool that you were able to connect. and very nice of you to treat amiga –

    as noted before – we usually do not fight over the bill – but if we are hosting we expect to pay. and there used to be a rule – whoever asked the server for the bill first had the rights to it… it settled all disputes.
    anyhow, super fun post and be back to catch up on the others later – take care!

    xoxo

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    • I hope you didn’t get hungry when you got to the end of the post. There were four pizza photos after all, Y. There are always analogies in my photos and captions. You are very sharp…

      Lisa is super cool and she has a great blog. It was great that we caught up over dinner, and yes, I got to treat her. My hands were fast with cash 😀

      Very generous of you to offer to pay if you host. Haha, you could ask the server for the bill before the meal starts. Just leave your credit card with them and you are sorted if you are very keen on paying 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I have come to appreciate the time you put into your posts – very rich reads. And that is why I come back to them -to soak them up. And I did notice the four pizzas (side note, I posted some pizza for the dinnertime theme with the wpc – but a very thin crusted version – :))
        anyhow, the folks we dine out with we usually pay for own tabs. But if we invite for a special occasion we will state that it is on us. Many years ago I was surprised when my son was invited to a birthday party – just a ten or 11 year old, but they invited like 6 people out and then everyone got a bill. It was fine, but I just did not expect it – and if we invite anyone to a restaurant for a birthday, I guess I just assume the bill will be on us. So that was learning experience to see that some folks host a birthday party event – but then really don’t – and I am sure it is more budget friendly that way – to have everyone pay their own. Oh I dunno…. and then we also went to a few build a bear parties – and one lady tells us that she will buy the bear for all party goers, but not the outfits…. which might not sound like much -but the outfits can be a lot of money and so that party unexpectedly cost some dollars. I think they now have better birthday packages at build-a-bear- but I do think there are times to treat and then other times it is natural and just wise to split the tab and let people pay for what they consume. oh i dunno…..

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        • I love your pizza photos, Y. They certainly look delicious and they caught my attention. But always important to remind myself to eat pizza in moderation.

          That was very generous of your son’s friends to pay for his big birthday meal. Inviting someone over for a party can be quite the trouble, and I suppose you wouldn’t want them to foot the bill especially if it’s a large amount…after all, it is your party to put it that way.

          Build a bear. Those always look exicting. I hope one day they have build a monkey…I am a huge fan of stuffed monkeys 😀

          Liked by 1 person

          • Hi M – well I am mixed about having people pay for their own meal when a person invites them out for a birthday. That is maybe the one time I htink it should be included. And for us, if it is a birthday we are celebrating and if we invited them – then we pay – just the way it is. But – for those who want to cleebrate out at a restruant and if they feel comfortable having others then pick up their own tab – in another way I admire this because it is smart money wise for them. and sometimes the budget needs to be respected – expecially if the person is having challenges – and so in that sense I think it can be done classy and just naturally.
            but I like how the folks we frequently go out with seem to just have a comfort of picking up our own tab. I did not realize that until I was thinking about it here with your posts. Which is another reason I like your posts – you have a nice way of presenting social and culture issues that are all over the place in topics – super fun.

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  25. that’s a very polite culture. I’m Asian too, Indonesian specifically. While I am familiar with it, but generally today we pay for our own bills. But depending on the occasion, if someone invited someone for an occasion for example. On dates, guys should pay. But when they have been dating for long, women can pay once in a while. offering to pay surely an act of politeness since Asian tend to think highly of being polite.

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    • It is very nice of you to pay for your own meals. No fighting. Agree with you that it’s nice when guys pay for dates…but I really don’t mind if I have to pay for my own share 😀 All in all, eating a meal should be about having a good time and not fighting over the bill.

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  26. These days I see more people/friends splitting bills, or at least one person paying and the others indicating they will pay back later. Family seems to be a different matter as you indicate.

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  28. OMG I just had to read this article when I saw the title! I see my relatives do this all the time and it drives me crazy. I always thought it was funny how people would fight to pay the bill when I know they secretly want the other person to pay. Wouldn’t it also burden both parties? The person who paid the bill would feel like the other person owes him/her something while the person who got a free meal would feel burdened. People can be mysterious creatures.

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    • “when I know they secretly want the other person to pay” I smiled at that. Actually, sometimes I do too. When my parents are trying to pay the bill, sometimes I hope they get upstaged by the other guests – the look on my parents’ face is often priceless.

      Agree with you that no matter who pays, eating out can be a burden if one party pays all. No one really wins 😀

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  31. Unfortunately yes, I know this all too well. It still happens everytime we go out with family and relatives and I feel it will continue to be this way for a long long time. haha.

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  32. Hi Mabel,

    I have been rather ‘inactive’ on reader lately. Seems like I have missed out quite a few of your interesting posts.

    Splitting bill is so common here (same as Australia too) and I have noticed some (not many, only a odd ones) restaurants put a sign ‘one bill per table’ as often there is a long queue just to pay one bill. In Malaysia and Singapore, it is definitely not common to split bill but it may have changed over the years since I left. Not too sure what it is like now, whether the younger generation go for split bill which is a fair way to dine out, really.

    Hope you are keeping warm and well this winter.

    Cheers, Jess

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    • I remember when I went back to Singapore some time ago, I split the bill with my friends when we went out to eat. Perhaps it’s a younger generation thing. But sharing in good conversation in person, that’s always priceless. Thanks, Jess. Hope you are well this winter and take care.

      Liked by 1 person

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