Let’s start with the biggie: Thai food isn’t eaten with chopsticks. That is, of course, unless you’re eating noodles, which are considered Chinese. Instead, your food will come with a fork and spoon. The fork goes in your right hand and the spoon in your left. Use the fork to push food onto the spoon, and then use that to bring the food to your mouth.
Thai food is almost always eaten in groups; Thais love to socialize, so the concept of solo dishes only exists on foreign menus. That means that if you sit down with friends and you all order different dishes, your food will arrive as it’s ready rather than being served all at once. Don’t stress out about it; try each other’s food.
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Don’t pour your dish over a bowl of rice. Again, because meals are eaten family style, all food on the table is game. Rather than serve huge heapings, use a spoon to put one bite at a time on your rice. Even if you’re eating alone, you’ll find that using this method slows you down and helps you notice your food more — it adds one more step between the bowl and your mouth.
Have fun sampling new items! Especially in night markets, you’ll never lack for something colorful and flavorful — and even a little bit scary — to get adventurous with. Pay attention to the way the four flavors — again, spicy, sour, sweet, and salty — are all incorporated.
[Photo credit: VirtualErn, Flickr]