Taking a thrilling trip into the food habits of Thailand is both an eye-opening and an enchanting experience. In Thailand, like many countries have three main meals breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Thai individuals snack often in-between breakfast, lunch, and dinner. ‘Gin len’ is the term for snacking in Thailand, some popular snacks are grilled meatballs, spring rolls, beef satay, fresh fruits, and frittered bananas (Mykura, 2018). Mealtime in Thailand, especially dinner is more than just getting food in someone’s belly. A meal is an opportunity for social interactions amongst friends and family, as well as possible future friends. According to “The Beginner’s Guide to Thai Food and Culture” every individual order’s one dish for each person. Those food dishes are then positioned in the center of the table to be shared amongst the party. A balance with flavors is a key for Thai meals. Each food dish should have a different flavor including sour, salty, sweet, spicy, and bitter.
Pork, chicken, fish, and seafood are generally used in Thai food. Generally, beef is more expensive than other meat thus it’s considered a luxury (Hays, 2018). The individuals are each served with a small bowl of sticky rice for themselves. Customarily, individuals eat sticky rice with their fingers. When the food is served at the table, an individual mustn’t eat right away. At the table, the highest ranking or senior person signals when it’s time to eat (Rodgers, 2018). Eating slowly, taking small amounts of food at a time, having pleasant conversations, and savoring the diverse flavors is highly encouraged during eating. An abundant amount of Thai people believe eating without company is considered bad luck, so the more the merrier (Schmidt, 2018). When the check is brought to the table, the wealthiest or senior person of the table is expected to take care of the bill for everyone. Offering to help pay or ‘chip in’ is considered bad table manners. Tipping is not necessary in Thailand, the service charged is usually added to the bill already (Rodgers, 2018).
After finishing a meal discarding leftovers is not a common occurrence in Thai’s food culture. Disposing food is not only wasteful but in Thai’s faith, they believe it angers the Thai’s God of Rice. The God of Rice ensures that the populace is well-fed. Throwing away food is thought to bring bad luck and cause famine (Schmidt, 2018). The eating utensils citizens typically use in Thailand is western cutlery such as a large spoon and regular sized fork. Much like a knife, the big spoon is held in the right hand and is used to put food in the mouth. Using your left hand for handling food is not advised, the left hand is considered dirty so always eat and serve with the right hand.
Using a fork to put food in the mouth is deemed to be ill-mannered, utilized forks for pushing food onto the spoon. In noodle dishes, chopsticks are sometimes handled but are accompanied by a spoon (Hays, 2018). For presentation, Thai dishes are extravagantly decorated. Vegetables and fruits are skillfully carved using a paring knife into elegant shapes such as flowers or leaves, dipped in an ice water bath and used as a garnish for the plate. The ice water for the fruits and vegetables helps prevent discoloration when cut. Kae Sa Lak which is the word for fruit and vegetable carvings are considered an art form and some universities have classes available to teach students how to carve them. (Hays, 2018). Fruit and vegetable carvings as a garnish are seen in multiple places across the world.