Thai food can be vastly different from anything you may have eaten before. Luckily, many of the manners expected over meals are the same, and common decency and etiquette are very similar to that in the West. There are only a few differences that may surprise you.
If you want to eat Thai food correctly and politely, you should know some Thai Food Traditions. We have collected them below, along with some amazing facts you may not even know.
1. Every Meal Has Rice
If you are a local, then any meal you eat will come with a healthy serving of rice. Thai people prefer white, sticky types of rice. It is easier to pick up with hands or spoons and is excellent for soaking up tasty curries.
It is believed that rice has its own soul. Mae Posop is the symbol of rice, known as the rice mother. She was born from rice, then later fell pregnant and gave birth to rice children. Her cycle symbolizes the notion of rebirth and regeneration inherent in Thai culture.
2. No Chopsticks Here!
While most Southeast Asian cultures use the chopstick to eat their food, you may be surprised (or relieved) to know that is not the case in Thai cuisine. The primary utensils are a spoon, held in the right hand, and a fork that is held in the left.
The spoon is used to shovel up your delicious food, and the fork is used to push it on there and arrange it. If you need to make chunks of food smaller, use the back of the spoon or fork to cut as knives are strictly limited to the kitchen area.
3. Eating Times Have a Social Order
When eating a Thai meal, age, and social status denote the order of who eats first. Traditionally, Thai etiquette states that the person of the highest social rank or the eldest will begin the meal. They may start with a signal or speech to begin proceedings, and it can be rude if you start before them.
If you are confused about who has the highest social ranking or who is the eldest, then wait before you begin. They will be extremely impressed with your manners and knowledge of Thai culture.
4. Thai Food Traditions and Sharing
Mealtimes in Thailand are a shared experience. A host of bowls and plates piled with specialties will arrive at the table, and everyone will dip into what takes their fancy. The notion of ordering your own meal is not one Thai people take part in.
It will most likely be the ladies at the table who decide on what will be served. Only put on your plate what you are going to eat, as leaving food can be considered rude.
5. Be Quiet When Eating
While conversation over food is fine, some rules need to be adhered to regarding table manners and noise. You should not make any noise, particularly talking while chewing or drinking. You should also be careful not to hit or bang tableware clumsily.
Try Some Thai Dining
If you now know the Thai food traditions, all that is left is to try some delicious Thai food! Thai Ginger is the best Thai experience in Seattle and can deliver the mouth-watering flavors of this country directly to your home.
Browse our menu of traditional dishes made with fresh ingredients and experience the tastes of Southeast Asia today.