If you are a messy eater, you might need to bring your own napkins when you eat out in Chile.
Any given restaurant will give you small, square napkins that are thin and ineffective against the onslaught of a large spill or mess. You’ll be lucky if you get one or two of these. More casual restaurants will have a ready supply of these paper-thin napkins on your table:
This situation becomes even more hilarious when you order a huge Chilean completo – an overflowing hot dog with all the toppings – and only get a small napkin to help contain the guaranteed mess.
Grab a few extra napkins if you can or eat without making a mess and you’ll be fine.
The napkin situation highlights the minimalist mindset that is pervasive through Chilean culture. There isn’t really a culture of excess and waste. Use what you need. Buy what you’ll use and don’t leave much — if anything — to throw away.
Picture by Robyn Lee