Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Etiquette Tips for Dining in Thailand

  • Fork and spoon (not knife) dining is the norm in Thailand.
  • When dining with Thais, remember not to touch any of the food before the host announces ‘gin khao’ (eat rice).
  • To most Thais, pushing a fork into one’s mouth is almost as uncouth as putting a knife in the mouth in Western countries.
  • For Thais, ta-kiap (chopsticks) are reserved for eating Chinese food only.
  • Sticky rice should be rolled into balls and eaten with the right hand, along with any accompanying food in Thailand.
  • It’s impolite to take a spoonful of steaming hot Thai food, it implies that you’re so ravenous or uncivilised that you can’t wait!
  • Thai diners typically wait until all ordered dishes are present before digging in.
  • When serving yourself from a common Thai platter, put no more than one or two spoonfuls onto your plate at a time.
  • Don’t pick up a serving plate to serve yourself. Proper Thai etiquette means leaving the plate on the tabletop and reaching over.
  • Don’t be surprised if another diner is your party, usually a woman, spoons food directly onto your plate. this is a normal gesture showing compassion.
  • Never ask for a Thai person to pass food your way, but rather wait for someone to offer you more.
  • Thais want you to enjoy your food, and at some point in the meal will smile and ask ‘aroy mai’ (is it delicious?).
  • Always leave some food on the serving platters and your place. Otherwise you will indicate that the host didn’t feed you enough!
  • Cigarettes often appear before and after a meal, but it is considered impolite to smoke during a meal.

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