How To Eat Thai Food - The Thai Way?
Two characteristics mark Thai eating culture - firstly, all dishes are shared and secondly, immense respect is given to the eldest of the group. Therefore, when in a group, the most senior woman of the group chooses the starters for the rest. A typical Thai meal will cater to all kinds of dishes – seafood, pork, chicken, shrimp, vegetables, so that all members of the large group get a chance to satisfy their tastes. Since the concept of individual dishes (unlike the steaks and sizzlers of the Western culture) does not exist in Thai cuisine, this works out quite well.
Eat Slow to Enjoy the Food:
Thai eating is more than just eating food. It is an excuse to spend more time with the family – a time for talking, sharing and enjoying. Therefore, Thai food is always eaten slowly, enjoying each morsel at a time. Meaningful conversations, hearty laughs and a good company are the real ingredients that give Thai eating its real flavor.
While eating Thai food, each person is given a plate of rice and a soup bowl. The host normally ladles some soup into the bowl after which you can take the rice as per your need. However, ensure that after taking your share, there is enough left for others. First take four to five spoons of rice with one kind of curry. Only when this is relished and over, move on to the next flavor. This is considered to be the politest way of eating Thai food, as it not only lets you try all the items but also ensures that everyone gets a due share.
Spoons or Knives:
Traditionally, Thais used to eat food with their right hands. However, forks and spoons are widely used today. The fork is held in the left hand while the spoon in the right. The fork is typically used to push the food on the spoon, after which the loaded spoon is transported to the mouth. For soups, the more westernized silver or steel soup spoons have given way to the traditional ceramic ones. Chopsticks are also used while eating Thai food, but only for noodles and noodle-soups.
Knives are not really used for eating Thai, simply because all the ingredients (vegetables, chicken or pork) are already sliced before they are cooked and thus, there is no real need to use knife while eating Thai food.
According to the Thai etiquette, the bill is usually presented to the most important person of the group. Therefore, if the bill comes to you, take it not as a sign of rudeness but as a compliment. Even an elaborate meal in Thailand is not too expensive and therefore, if you are presented with the bill, there’s not much to fear. Rather, cherish the fact that they are trying to give you so much of respect in their simple, innocent ways.
The vast diversity in cultures makes our ways of living quite different from each other. However, if you know the correct process and the reasons behind why things are done the way they are done, everything becomes logical and simple. Therefore, follow these points and know how to eat Thai food the Thai way.
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