M, 56 was born and grew up in Tijuana, Mexico. He told me about a phrase Mexican people say to each other when eating.
“Cuando vas a comer a un lugar público (aunque no conoces a los comensales), si te retiras del lugar y pasas por gente comiendo, es de mexas decir: ¡¡PROVECHO!!
Básicamente es decirles que tengan un buen tiempo, disfruten y aprovechen su comida.
Ellos contestan: GRACIAS, e igualmente.”
“When you eat out somewhere public (even if the other diners/eaters are strangers), if you leave said dining space (could be a restaurant) and other people are eating, it is very Mexican to say: Provecho!
You are basically wishing them a good time, and that they enjoy and benefit from their food.
The other party should answer: Thank you, the same goes for you.”
The word “Provecho” is essentially a blessing or good wishes and it is considered good manners when said in the right setting. It cannot be said to someone that isn’t eating as well; it’s like a waiter saying: “enjoy your meal!”. You can’t say it back to the waiter; however, you can say it to a friend you run into that’s eating at the same restaurant. The word “Provecho” reflects Mexican culture as friendly, social, and caring; it is about wishing well to those around you and socializing in a food-related setting.