No matter where you go, it is always great to know table manners before partaking the local’s excellent delicacies. This is especially true in Thailand. While the people there are caring and forgiving, why take advantage of them and be ill-mannered?
With that said, here are six Thai table etiquettes to help you enjoy your meal without offending anyone:
- Let the Oldest or Wealthiest Start the Meal
If you’re invited for a meal, pay attention to who is the oldest or wealthiest. They are the ones who are to invite everyone to begin eating once all the food is served. Whatever you do, don’t rush and start eating the moment you receive your meal; else, they will see you extremely impolite.
- Avoid Placing your Elbows on the Table
While on some occasions, it is alright to place your elbows on the table, the gesture is generally seen as disrespectful if you’re around older folks. Especially if you’re talking, try to avoid resting the elbow on the table and your chin on the hand.
- Use a Spoon and Fork
If you’re from a western culture, you might be used to a fork-and-knife kind of scenario. In Thailand, the knife is usually replaced by a spoon. In most cases, you wouldn’t need a knife, because the food already comes bite-sized.
- Take Your Time Eating
You may notice that Thais take quite a while to finish their food. It isn’t because they prefer to eat slow, but it is because they love to chat while eating at the same time. The majority of the mealtime is more socializing than eating. If you aren’t the talking type, eat slowly. You don’t want to end up overeating to avoid looking awkward with an empty plate when everyone is only halfway theirs.
- Don’t Speak with a Full Mouth
This translates to pretty much anywhere in the world. Whatever you do, don’t speak with your mouth full. Not only is it extremely unhygienic and aesthetically unpleasing, but the Thais associate such action with low-class people. That said, make sure you’ve swallowed the food before saying anything. You can also cover your mouth if you’re in a hurry to say something.
- It is an Honor to Pay for the Meal
In most cases, the person who is the richest in the group will take care of the bill. Not only because they have the most money, but to them, it is an honor to do so. They earn the recognition that they’re the ones who have the resources to take care of his or her fellow friends. If the honor falls on you, don’t worry. Thai food not only tastes great but is extremely cheap.
With this knowledge, whether you’re invited to a meal at a Thai’s home or eating alone at a restaurant, you know what you can and cannot do. Not only are you eating Thai food renowned worldwide for its unusual flavors, but you’re doing so without offending anyone near you.
If you are looking for great places to eat in Bangkok, get in touch with us today to see how we can help.