Dining out is a treat but if you can’t eat everything on your plate why leave the restaurant with the task of throwing out the uneaten food when you could take it home?

In the UK it is estimated that some three million tonnes of uneaten food is thrown away by the restaurant business. In Turkey that figure is also likely to be high given the number of hotels and restaurants especially in the holiday resorts.

Most of the waste food ends up in landfill dumps where it creates a toxic cocktail of chemicals that pollutes water sources and the air.

But, more importantly for Frugal Fethiye, it’s also a waste of money and good food.

So how can you save money and save the planet next time you eat out and leave some food? By asking for a ‘doggy bag’.

But for some people there’s a stigma attached to asking to take the food home. The name ‘doggy bag’ is a misnomer if you don’t intend to give it to your dog but an easy way out for those embarrassed to ask otherwise.

To help dispel the stigma top UK chefs (including Mr ‘Hedge-Vedge, grow-your-own, landshare supremo – Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall himself) are now encouraging diners to take away their uneaten food by asking if diners would like a ‘doggy bag’.

We at Fethiye Times recently tested the practicality of a ‘doggy bag’ in Turkey when we ate out in Fethiye.

Our meal was just too big to eat in one sitting and with nice food still left we asked the waiter if it was okay to wrap the leftovers to take home.

The waiter said “ahh, paket service, that’s fine” and a few minutes later we were presented with our lovely leftovers nicely wrapped in foil.

Our waiter told us that this is a perfectly acceptable practice in Turkey, but you do need to ask.

On returning home we popped them in the fridge and ate them the next day for lunch! Bargain.

So, next time you are out for a meal and find you can’t eat all you have been given, just ask for paket service.

When Not To Ask

Naturally, there are some times when asking for a doggy bag would be wrong.

These include open buffet self service meals and open barbeques where you serve yourself rather than by the staff.