What’s on the Philippines Menu?
So what would you think is the most important item on a drink or food menu in the Philippines? Could it be rice? Could it be Adobe? Could it be Sisig? Well, it could be. But what I am thinking of is not always printed on the menu, you have to find it yourself. Although many menus have this added to it and it will be there for months and months,but you cannot order it. What is it?
Well, it is called NOT AVAILABLE.
Yes, this is everywhere in the Philippines and is something that most westerners get very irritated about, whereas locals seem to accept that a menu containing not available is perfectly OK. After all why would you expect something on the menu to be available?
In Western countries, a menu is given to promote the food available, and often if something is hot that day the waitress will tell you or there may be an adjustment in the menu. Of course, that’s sensible isn’t it? You are telling the customer what you have and not what you don’t have.
This is something that the Philippines has yet to learn and the frustration of dealing with “NOT AVAILABLE” is endemic in society here. I have often gone to restaurants and ordered 5 or 6 things and to be told one by one that they are not available. So the choice you expected on the menu- the same menu that drew you in in the first place is not an honest representation of the items available.
Now, is this the ploy? Put great stuff in the restaurant and get bums on seats and hope they order something? Or, is it down to the inability to do stock and order or to update menus. Honestly, it is more like who cares.
Sometimes you will order and the person you are with has their food and as they are served the waitress will then tell you that the food or drink you ordered is not available. Sometimes twenty minutes has gone by and you are now told. Not only do you have to sit there why your dinner companion eats alone, you have to decide to go hungry or eat after they have finished. What sort of dining experience is that?
I have this happen so often now that I have lost the will to complain about it. However, if no one says anything then nothing will ever change and the ritual continues. Compare this with the Philippines neighbours who not only have a better choice of food for the western pallet, but also have a menu that seems to be real.
As you can see this one gets to me personally. If you want to talk to me about it im NOT AVAILABLE.