When in Thailand, do as the Thais do. It’s important to observe proper food etiquette of any country you visit so that you don’t insult anyone’s culture. Sometimes we don’t know, and that’s fine; the Thais are very welcoming and understanding of foreigners when it comes to table manners. Here are some things to know about Thailand’s eating etiquette:
Where you should sit
In Western culture, the most important person will sit at the head of the table, but in Thailand, the host or the highest ranking person will sit in the middle of the table. Because it can be a little intricate, it might be best for you just to wait until you are seated before you try to choose where you will sit. You may be sitting at a table or a bamboo mat on the ground. There are various ways that Thais sit to enjoy their food. When sitting on a mat, be sure to sit in a way that your feet is not pointing at anyone. If you are dining alone in a busy restaurant, don’t be shocked if you are asked to sit next to a group or dine with another table. Just try to make friendly small talk and enjoy your food.
How to order correctly
Most group meals will be a shared, family style meal. You can order things you want to try, but keep in mind that you will be sharing it with the rest of the table as well. Thai foods consist of many different entres with meat and vegetables, which will usually be eaten with a flavorful bed of steamed jasmine rice. Try to order dishes that will match with the rest of your other dishes. Get a good variety of meats as well as a bunch of vegetables and typically a few soup options. Thai dishes will usually come served with sauces, spices, and more things that you can add to your meals.
Some dishes will even come with side dishes like vegetables or something pickled. Don’t forget that each region of Thailand will not only speak a different dialect but will also have different recipes for their meals. It is also common to have some fruit servings after a meal or at least one kind of delicious Thai dessert. Keep in mind that Thai desserts are not as sweet as you might think. If there is something that does not fit your diet or pleases your tastebuds, you can politely decline and choose what you want to eat. This is the beauty of eating family style. You can try new things, choose the quantity of what you get, and eat to your heart’s content.
How the table is set
You will be given a plate or bowl of white rice, another bowl for soup, and usually a spoon, a fork, and a soup spoon. If you are eating noodles, you will get both a spoon and a fork, as well as a pair of chopsticks. There will usually be napkins nearby, and if you are eating out, water will typically be served by the bottle or for free with a self-service station near your seat. There should be a spoon for each dish so that you don’t need to use your personal spoon or fork to get your serving of food.
Mannerisms at the table
Unlike many other countries, you are not obliged to eat all your food or finish your plate. Eat what you can and only stop when you are truly full. Although you should try to not waste food, it is okay if you do have leftovers since it is not seen as rude here as it is in other places. Are you looking for the best restaurant in Thailand? Visit Indulge Bangkok today! We have a wide range of Thai dishes for you to try.