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Art of eating with spoon and fork: The Thai Way

As a Thai, we, and some other Southeast Asians, have a quite unique way of eating. We use spoon as our main utensil for almost everything. Spoon is always being held by the right hand or dominant hand, and fork on the other.  To me, fork is like a poor stepchild in Thai’s eating culture since it is used only to assist the spoon by pushing food onto the spoon. Forks rarely go into the mouths of Thais while eating. I But since the older generation Thais believed that right hand is and only the correct one, I do have friends whose dominant hand are left but still hold their spoons on the right.

And NO, do NOT ask for chopsticks when eating rice! We only use chopsticks with noodle dished, never with a rice dish. Even with the noodle dishes, some of us still use chopsticks to put the noodles on the spoon, with some broth, and only the spoon goes into the mouth.

When we eat, you will almost hear nothing. No sound of fork or spoon touching, no banging utensils on the plate, no slurp, and no talking with the mouth full, duh! Loud chewing and slurping are compared to a pig eating. Oh, and you do not suppose to drink water until the end of the meal either. I guess this is because you will get full before you finish your main dish. What a way to train those tongue for the Thai Spiciness, huh!

Also, Thais share all the dishes family style, except when eating noodle. You put rice on your own plate and share many other dishes called “Gub Khao”, literally meaning “with rice” as we always eat them…with rice, from the center of the dining table! You only take small portion at a time onto your plate, eat it with your rice and then take some more. Do not use your spoon with “Gub Khao” either, always use the “serving spoon” as others probably don’t want to taste your saliva. Lol

From childhood, every Thai is being taught to finish every single grain of rice on his or her plate. I remembered being told to think of children in Ethiopia who do not have nothing to eat, and to finish what I put on my plate.

And do not forget to put fork and spoon together once you finish eating, or you hand will be spanked faster than you can leave the chair. This was right from my childhood’s memories.

Good times!