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What is late lunch called?

Are you someone who often has lunch after the usual lunchtime? Do you find yourself craving a meal between lunch and dinner? Well, you’re definitely not alone! Many people choose to have a late lunch, which is also commonly known by other names such as a mid-afternoon meal or a second lunch. If you’re curious about what a late lunch is called and why people opt for it, then keep reading to find out more!

The Names of Late Lunch Around the World

Late lunch is a common occurrence in many cultures around the world. The timing and name of this meal, however, vary depending on the region. In this section, we will explore the various names of late lunch around the world.

Merienda (Spain and Latin America)

In Spain and Latin America, the late afternoon snack is commonly referred to as merienda. This meal usually consists of a light sandwich, pastry, or fruit accompanied by a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. Merienda is a popular meal because it helps to bridge the gap between lunch and dinner.

Merienda meal in Spain

Vespertine Snack (Europe)

Europeans refer to late afternoon snacking as a ‘vespertine snack’. Germans call it ‘vieruhrtee’ which means ‘four o’clock tea’. The meal typically consists of tea with a slice of cake, biscuits, or bread with butter and jam. In some countries, cheese and/or cold cuts are also included.

Afternoon tea in Europe

Afternoon Tea (UK)

Late lunch in the UK is more commonly known as afternoon tea or high tea. British afternoon tea consists of a pot of tea accompanied by a selection of sandwiches, scones, and cakes or pastries. The meal is served around 3-5 pm and is usually taken in a relaxing environment such as a tea room or hotel.

Afternoon tea in the UK

Chhi (Nepal)

In Nepal, late lunch is commonly referred to as chhi. Chhi usually consists of a bowl of rice or noodles with a curry or soup accompanied by pickles, chutneys, and salads. Chhi is a light and refreshing meal that is perfect for the late afternoon when hunger strikes.

Chhi meal in Nepal

Chahan (Japan)

In Japan, the late afternoon meal is called chahan. Chahan is essentially a Japanese-style fried rice dish with vegetables and meat or seafood. The meal is accompanied by a cup of green tea or miso soup.

Chahan meal in Japan

Small Plates (Spain)

In Spain, it is common to have a light meal consisting of small plates of various dishes. This meal is called ‘tapeo’ and is typically had with friends or family over a few drinks. Tapas or small plates could consist of cold meats, olives, cheese, and seafood among other types of food.

Tapas meal in Spain

Xiao Chi (China)

In China, late afternoon snacking is called ‘xiao chi’, which means small eats. Chinese small eats could consist of dumplings, baozi, and noodles among other types of food. The meals are typically accompanied by a cup of tea or another hot beverage.

Xiao Chi meal in China

Hapunan (Philippines)

In the Philippines, the evening meal is commonly referred to as hapunan, which is taken at sundown. This meal consists of rice, meat, and vegetables and can be accompanied by soup or fruit.

Hapunan meal in the Philippines

Mezze (Middle East)

The Middle Eastern late afternoon meal is called ‘mezze’. Mezze consists of small dishes of various foods that are traditionally shared among family and friends. The meal could consist of hummus, falafel, kebabs, and tabbouleh among other types of food.

Mezze meal in the Middle East

Sandwiches and Tea (USA)

In the USA, late lunch is commonly referred to as a ‘tea sandwich’. Tea sandwiches consist of thin slices of bread and a variety of fillings that are usually served alongside a cup of tea. The meal is popular among women as a social event, where ladies are seen enjoying their meals at elegant tea rooms.

Tea sandwiches in the USA

In conclusion, late lunch is enjoyed all over the world with different names and dishes. This diversity is a testament to the rich cultural heritage of every region.

What are the different names for a late lunch?

While “late lunch” is a common term for a meal eaten in the mid-afternoon, different cultures and regions have their own names for this meal. Here are some of the most popular alternatives:


In Spain and many Latin-American countries, the traditional lunch/naptime breaks are known as “siesta.” This period usually falls between 2 pm and 5 pm when people take a break from work to go home and eat a substantial meal with their families followed by a nap or relaxation time.


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Another name for late lunch is “linner,” a term coined from the combination of “lunch” and “dinner.” Linner is essentially an early dinner meal and is ideal for those who eat a lighter dinner. The common time for linner is between 2 pm and 4 pm.


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In the United Kingdom, tea is a substitute for linner. The meal is typically taken around 4 pm and 6 pm and includes light snacks, sandwiches, cakes, and hot beverages. Afternoon tea is not only a meal but also a significant social event in the British culture.

afternoon tea

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The Philippines also has a special term for the mid-afternoon meal that translates to “snack.” Merienda typically includes a light meal or snack items such as sandwiches, pastries, or noodles accompanied by a hot drink like tea or coffee.


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In Sweden and other Nordic countries, “fika” is a significant social event that includes coffee and pastries. This meal is a time to reconnect with friends and family, socialize, and relax. Fika breaks usually take place around 3 pm or 4 pm.


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Pausa Pranzo

In Italy, the midday meal is the most significant meal of the day, and it is known as “pranzo.” However, when this meal is extended past the usual time, people typically refer to it as “pausa pranzo.” This meal may happen around 1 pm up until 3 pm and usually entails multiple courses.

pausa pranzo

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In Germany, “kaffepaus” or coffee break is a time for a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate and a small treat. This break can happen in the midmorning, but when extended past the usual time, it acts as an excellent substitute for lunch.


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New Zealand and Australia call a late lunch a “long lunch,” and it is typically taken on Friday afternoons. This meal is a chance for colleagues to bond over food and drinks, discuss, and socialize in a relaxed, casual setting.

long lunch

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In Chile, “sopaipillas” is a popular type of snack that is typically eaten as a late lunch. They are a type of pastry that’s fried and served hot with condiments like pebre, a traditional Chilean salsa made from tomatoes, onions, and cilantro.


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Bento Box

In Japan, a “bento” is a packed lunch box that typically includes rice, fish or meat, and vegetables. Creators of bento boxes can include a variety of ingredients in the compartmentalized box, and it can be an ideal solution for those who eat their lunch on-the-go.

bento box

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These are just some of the names given to a late lunch around the world. Irrespective of its name, it offers the perfect chance to take a break from the day’s activities and have a substantial meal while catching up with friends and family.

What are some variations of late lunch around the world?

Late lunch is not just a trend in one specific country, and it’s not solely a modern invention. The practice goes back centuries in some places, and there have been different versions of it across the globe. Here are some variations you might find interesting.

Siesta in Spain and South America

One of the most famous examples of this is the siesta in Spain and some South American countries. The practice dates back to ancient Rome, where people would take a nap in the afternoon before returning to work. In Spain, the break was traditionally used as a chance for people to rest and avoid the heat of the day before returning to their jobs. This often involved a light lunch, such as tapas (small plates) or a sandwich.

Siesta in Spain and South America

Merenda in Italy

In Italy, a similar tradition called “merenda” exists. This is a light meal or snack eaten in the late afternoon, between lunch and dinner. The food served varies depending on the region, but it can include sweet pastries, gelato, or a simple sandwich.

Merenda in Italy

Fika in Sweden

This Swedish practice is not quite a late lunch, but it is a social break in the late afternoon that involves food and drinks. The tradition is an important part of Swedish culture, and it’s not uncommon to take a fika break at work or with friends. Coffee and pastries are typically served, but it can also include open-faced sandwiches.

Fika in Sweden

Merienda in the Philippines

In the Philippines, “merienda” is a light meal or snack eaten in the afternoon, usually between lunch and dinner. This can include a variety of dishes, such as pastries, fruit, or savory snacks like lumpia (spring rolls). The tradition is an important part of Filipino culture, and it’s often served with hot chocolate or coffee.

Merienda in the Philippines

Coffee break in Canada

While not exactly a late lunch, the Canadian coffee break is worth a mention. Many Canadians take a break in the late afternoon for a cup of coffee and a snack, often to recharge before finishing the workday. This can include a variety of sweet treats, and it’s a popular social time for many people.

Coffee break in Canada

Variation Country Time Food items
Siesta Spain/South America Afternoon Tapas/sandwich
Merenda Italy Afternoon Pastries/gelato/sandwich
Fika Sweden Late afternoon Coffee/pastries/sandwich
Merienda Philippines Afternoon Pastries/fruit/lumpia
Coffee break Canada Late afternoon Coffee/sweets

As you can see, the tradition of a late lunch or afternoon break is not unique to one culture or country. Whether it’s a siesta in Spain, a fika in Sweden, or a coffee break in Canada, people all over the world recognize the importance of taking a break and enjoying a small meal in the late afternoon.

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Satisfy Your Cravings with a Late Lunch

That’s all folks! We hope that now you have a clearer understanding of the terms that people use when referring to the late lunch. Whether it’s “linner,” “dunch,” “supper,” or “brunchfast,” the important thing is that you enjoy your meal. Don’t forget to share this article with someone who might be curious about what late lunch is called and come back soon for more interesting reads. Thank you for reading and happy dining!

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