Have you ever been to the Philippines? If yes, then you probably heard the phrase “kain tayo” a lot of times. Now, what does it mean? “Kain tayo” means “let’s eat” in English. Filipinos like to eat and yes, we do eat a lot. We eat not only during breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but we also have snacks in between. Having said that, nobody can question our love for food, and I am talking about food in general. It doesn’t matter if it’s healthy food or not.
“Kain tayo” is almost like “hi” or “hello” because you will hear it constantly. Try to go to somebody’s house uninvited and if they are eating, they will tell you “kain tayo” even if the food on the table is only enough for themselves. And even if they are not eating, they will surely invite you to eat and you will hear the question “kumain ka na?” which means “have you eaten yet?” in English. Eating has become a “libangan” or pastime. Especially with all the street foods that we have, you just can’t resist that.
Now, why do we stay fit even though we eat a lot? That’s a good question. In my opinion and from what I have observed, we stay fit because we do not eat big meals but small meals. And most of the Filipinos do not have cars so we walk a lot which is a good exercise. And a lot of it has to do with the budget too. I, for example, has a very limited budget for food so I can only buy food that fits my budget. I can afford to buy street foods because it’s relatively cheap. And that I think is the main reason why we eat almost all the time.
Filipinos will say “kain tayo” all the time whether they mean to share their food with you or not. Most of the time they do, but not all the time. It’s just a way of being polite. You kind of have to read between the lines. And Filipinos are good with that. In the Philippines, it is customary for somebody to decline an offer or invitation to eat. But that also depends on the situation because some people get offended if they invite you to eat and you decline. For example, if you see somebody eating their lunch in the break room alone and he or she has only enough food for him or her, and she said “kain tayo,” the person being invited to eat is expected to decline that offer. Now why do Filipinos do that? Well, I figured it’s better than not offering your food at all. You see, in the Philippines, if you do not offer your food, it is considered rude. I don’t know why it is like that. For some reason when I was growing up it never occurred to me to question what is being taught to me.
But here on this blog, I sincerely wish that I can share the all the food that I am cooking to everyone. “Kain tayo!”