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By Adele Wong | January 29th, 2016

Guys, we have been doing it all wrong: this breakfast, lunch and dinner thing. 

My recent trip to Barcelona has reminded me that not everyone is on a three-meals-a-day schedule, nor should they be. The Spaniards really know how to enjoy their food, stretching things out to five dedicated dining slots per day. I find this incredibly enlightening — and I want to bring it back to Hong Kong!

Here’s how it works:

The first meal in Spain is called the desayuno. It’s the equivalent of breakfast, which is a light meal in the morning that consists of a simple pastry like the churro and perhaps some café au lait to go along.

Then there’s the almuerzo — snack time – later in the morning, where more light bites can be had to stave off any lingering hunger pangs.

Lunch, aka the comida, happens from around 2 to 4pm, and is the biggest meal of the day. That’s also when you’d typically sneak in your siesta nap.

Then there’s the merienda in the early evening, where people get their nighttime snacks on before dinner.

And finally, there is the final meal of the day: la cena, or dinner, which doesn’t typically happen until 10pm at night!

Now here’s a culture of people who know how to enjoy their food. The Spaniards’ meals aren’t framed around their work and daily schedules — if anything, it’s the other way around.

To be fair, this amazing daily ritual is becoming harder to adhere to even for the Spanish folks themselves (especially for those who are office-bound). But it’s wonderful to know that we can have a healthier attitude towards food by treating meals as sacred times to feed the soul, instead of as activities for pure sustenance.

Alright, who’s up for some breakfast, dim sum, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner? 

A mouthy soliloquy by Adele Wong. See more Food for Thought columns here.