Thai food is renowned world-wide. One of the most memorable experience of your trip to Thailand can be dining out with a group of new found Thai friends.
Thais love to eat. Whether a simple snack from a street vendor to an evening out with friends, food plays a central role in our social life. Birthdays are a big deal for us. Go into any restaurant on any given night and you’re likely to see a table with a group of friends and family celebrating with food and a cake. Hint: We usually buy the cake from a bakery and bring it. The restaurant is happy to serve it and sing “Happy Birthday”.
The check is usually presented to who ever looks the richest or appears to be the host; since Thais’ assume a foreigner is the richest person, they will probably bring it to you.
Service is always “family style”. Dishes are served in particular order and set in the middle of the table. They are expected to be shared. It’s polite to offer portions from a dish you ordered to others. Each person is given a plate for just this reason. There are no courses in a Thai meal. Everything is served as soon as it’s ready.
Here are some Dos And Don’ts from Phuket.com:
- Do take your time and pick at your food; enjoy the conversation and the laughter and the sense of community.
- Do pick up the check if it comes to you; in Thai society the person who is perceived to be the richest pays. Nine times out of ten this will be you. On the other hand don’t try to contribute if someone else is paying the bill, it takes away from their status and ‘face’.
- Do make sure to take only small portions of each dish so there’s enough to go around.
- Do finish everything on your plate; it lets the host know you enjoyed the meal.
- Do let the senior ladies of the group do the ordering; it’s tradition.
- Do wait for the host to invite you to dig in.
- Do expect a wide variety of dishes and flavours; part of the trick to ordering Thai food is to get a balance of sweet, sour, salty and spicy.
- Do serve yourself but only what you can eat in two or three mouthfuls.
- Don’t leave your chopsticks in the bowl, it symbolizes death and is very bad luck.
- Don’t order one dish that you intend to eat by yourself. Thai meals are always shared.
- Don’t feel bad about adding condiments to flavour your food to your taste.
- Don’t wait for all of the food to come out before you eat it, Thai meals are leisurely affairs and the food just keeps on coming.
- Don’t use your fork to put food in your mouth, instead use it to push your food onto your spoon.
- Don’t look around for your knife – you won’t need one as everything is cut up for you.