Doggy bag for your dog or yourself?

As reported in our local daily some of New Zealand ‘s favourite fine-dining restaurants have put the bite on customers taking away doggy bags. Those restaurants are against etiquette to bag leftover food saying they cannot take the chance of people leaving packed leftovers in car for hours before eating it.  Besides health reason, according to restaurateurs there is the risk of people trying to pull a scam by taking food home then pretending they were sick and seeking a refund.

Thank goodness, on the other hand there are some restaurants that cannot stand waste (like me) and nicely pack leftovers for diners to take home.  Kiwis called takeaway paper bags ‘doggy bags’ perhaps traditionally leftovers were meant to be for the diner’s dog.  These days ‘doggy bags’ are mostly in the form of plastic or foam boxes.

Whenever I dine out at Asian eateries, I tend to order dishes to share and it makes the meal more interesting but the downside is we often ordered more than we can eat.  It isn’t just a main for each but at least three or four dishes shared by two.  The good thing is nothing goes to waste as leftovers are packed away, not for our dog but makes good takeaway lunches to work.

Do you pack your leftovers?  Image credit

Do you pack your leftovers? Image credit

Do you ‘doggy bag’ your leftovers?



8 thoughts on “Doggy bag for your dog or yourself?

  1. Interesting thoughts here, Jess. I’ve always toyed with the idea of writing about this topic but I don’t takeaway much when dining out. A lot of the times when I was in Malaysia eating in restaurants and there were leftovers on the table, the waiters will always ask if I want to ‘ta pao’ or doggy-bag it without me asking. Here in Australia, I rarely get asked this if I can’t finish a meal. I find it absurd that places here even charge a fee for taking away food in a plastic container or in a paper bag – some places even charge more for meals that you take-away. Hope your week’s off to a good start 🙂

    • Hi Mabel, yes the chinse restaurants here charge for plastic containers but foam ones are normally free. Indian or other western restaurants normally do not charge for takeaway containers but we normally do not have much leftovers when dining in those restaurants as we just go for a main each.

  2. Very interesting observations to be sure. I think the rules are different depending on the culture and location. For example, when I was in Japan, the thought of taking food home wasn’t even an option. In fact, whenever you ordered at al all-you-can-eat place, anything left over when your time was up you got charged extra for. Needless to say, we stuffed ourselves.

    But in America, the doggy bag seems to be a part of the culture. Yes. The helpings are more than most can eat in one sitting, but there’s something nostalgic to taking the leftovers home and enjoying them for tomorrow’s breakfast or lunch. Or a midnight snack!

    Thanks for sharing an interesting topic.

    • Hi Matthew, I guess the rule is the same for most restaurants anywhere. Buffet meals and ‘eat all you can’ do not allow takeaway. Most implement a charge for waste so diners are encouraged not to take more than what they can eat. Yes we tend to stuff ourselves for most buffet meals. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  3. We always box up leftovers at Asian restaurants. We usually order too many dishes because we want variety. Also, these leftovers taste amazing the next day. Generally speaking Western meals are smaller because they are single servings (or less). I never box up Western meals because there are simply no leftovers. Bread based dishes are generally no good the next day.

    The reasons given for no leftovers is ridiculous. Just because
    1 or 2 people do not know how to store food surely shouldn’t be the reason for everyone else to throw out food. I hate waste. Charge your diners for the box and make them sign a food safety waiver if you have to. Offer smaller portions on your menu. Please don’t waste food.

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