Should You Eat Thai Food With Chopsticks (2023)

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Should You Eat Thai Food With Chopsticks

Chopsticks are not traditionally used to eat Thai food. However, the rice noodles are very slippery and tend to stick together which is why usually served with chopsticks. Chopsticks are avoided in Thai culture and are commonly eaten with hands, forks, and spoons. The Thais only use chopsticks to eat Chinese-style noodles in a bowl.

Thais generally do not use knives a lot when eating Thai, since most dishes are served as small pieces, thus there is little need for knives. Well, there is not a lot of need to do this in Thai cuisine since most dishes are served in bite-sized pieces with no need to slice. Most local restaurants serving Thai do not carry steak knives, so if you do find a big chunk of meat, such as in a steamed fish dish or barbecued chicken, you may use the edges of a spoon to slice your meal into smaller pieces. If you have to slice smaller pieces of food, cut it with the edge of the spoon, reaching with a fork only when needed.

(Video) Do Thai use chopsticks in Thailand for Thai food

If you want smaller pieces, hold your fork over your meat or vegetables, then use the spoon edge to cut. If you would like to chop up something, such as a juicy chunk of barbecued pork ribs that is just too large, you can use the fork to hold the food, with the spoon acting as the substitute cutter. The fork should be held in your left hand, which is used to propel your food toward the spoon in your right hand, which is used to actually eat. When you are eating Thai, you would either have a spoon in the right hand and the fork in the left hand (or you would have a spoon in the dominant hand and a fork in the other).

If you want to eat like a Thai, you will use a spoon as the primary tool, with the fork being the second-most important tool, used to serve rice dishes. Each shared dish should have its own serving spoon, so that you will not need to use the spoon that you are eating from. Some restaurants, or some families, will even use a tablespoon as the serving spoon for the shared dishes at a dinner party. Typically, a spoon is used to pick food off the plate or bowl and put it in your mouth, and a fork is used to help direct food to the spoon.

The chopsticks are used to pick up noodles, then the noodles are placed onto a spoon of the soup, which is placed into the mouth. If you are unfamiliar with using chopsticks for eating noodles, then asking for a spoon and a fork is fine. However, chopsticks really do have a place in the noodles department (have you ever tried eating noodles with a spoon?). Chopsticks are called Takiap in Thai, and are generally used for noodle dishes, Chinese food, or Japanese foods only.

RiceRoast Duck

Although Chinese people imported and started using chopsticks first, nowadays, chopsticks are common only in some dishes. Thais actually do use chopsticks sometimes; usually, they are used for dishes with Chinese inspiration, or for vendors at the street. Even if you do prefer chopsticks, and you would like to demonstrate you are adept at using them politely, Thais do not use them with rice-based dishes. That is why all Thais are adept at using chopsticks, even though they are not a common cutlery choice in Thailand.

(Video) How to Eat Thai Food CORRECTLY

Well, the Thais eat Chinese food with chopsticks, while the common choice of utensils is either spoon and fork, or that old standby, your fingers. I have to say, however, given several years living in Thailand, that I much prefer the fork and spoon for every dish that I have eaten that does not involve cutting.

With most Chinese and other Asian dishes, where the norm is the chopstick, food is typically chopped up in bite-sized pieces and served over rice or noodles. Curry, roast duck, and dried fish are examples of dishes you will not be eating on chopsticks in a Thai restaurant. Dishes you would normally eat with chopsticks are Kauai-Tiao, Khao Son, and other noodle soup dishes. Most homes in Thailand will certainly have a pair of chopsticks, but the chopsticks that are readily available throughout Thailand are not the main tools used for eating Thai.

While Thailand is located in very close proximity to much of China, the food of that country is generally not eaten using chopsticks. If you are traveling through Thailand and staying at tourist hotspots, you will find a large amount of Western food served with knives and forks, while Thai food is served with spoons.

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Many Westerners are surprised when visiting Thailand that they are served their food with forks instead of wooden chopsticks. Not a lot of people realize that Thai dishes come with extra spices, which are not necessarily meant to be eaten (unless you choose to). While a lot of places in the U.S. and elsewhere serve dishes individually served on plates, and families are generally smaller, Thai meals are typically served to large groups. When your meal arrives, put small amounts, no more than two tablespoons, of several dishes, along with a little sauce, onto the rice.

(Video) How to Eat Thai Food | Coconuts TV

Then, using your individual fork, press one piece of rice and one piece of the side dishes together on the individual spoon. You will be given one plate or bowl of white rice, and maybe one more bowl for whatever soup is being served.

You will either eat straight off of your chopsticks, or you will put small amounts of noodles, meat, vegetables, and broth into your spoon for eating. If you took one of these pieces of pork from the picture above, and decided that all you wanted was half, you just held it with the fork, then used your spoon to tear it into two pieces. Do not stab pieces of food to eat with chopsticks–it is a grossly rude gesture, and you could as well just use your fork if you are doing that.

Because chopsticks are blunt, it can be tempting to use them to pierce food, especially if you are having some trouble. When using chopsticks, keep them held about halfway up the stick, which will make your chopsticks longer and look a bit classier. If you are really using chopsticks to eat anything, restaurateur Apsorn Gumnurdmanee recommends sticking to Chinese rules that say never stand chopsticks straight up in a bowl.

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This eating style makes using chopsticks extremely unworkable and unconventional, as you are usually holding all the ingredients in one hand. The rolling motion is fundamental to properly eating Thai and is clearly very hard to accomplish with chopsticks. The frequent use of sticky rice, and chopsticks lack of function when manipulating that rice, is another reason why chopsticks are not used frequently. Spoons and forks are quite handy, and they can be used for eating most types of Thai foods, from rice, stir-fry, soup, curry, or som-tam salad.

(Video) Chinese, Japanese, Korean Chopsticks difference

Why do Thai people eat with a spoon and fork?

Typically, the fork is used to help direct the food onto the spoon while the spoon scoops the food up off the plate or bowl and into your mouth. Eating most meals this way makes sense because a spoon makes it much simpler to collect your rice than a fork or chopsticks.

Do You Eat Thai Food with Hands?

A sticky rice dish (Khao niaw) is typically eaten with the hands of Thais. Rice usually comes with grilled or fried meat, which they eat with rice. In addition, there are some dishes with chili-based sauces (nam phrik) that include raw vegetables that have been picked by hand and then mixed with the sauce.

Is It Disrespectful to use Chopsticks the wrong way?

You should never hold your spoon in the same hand as your chopsticks – although it seems impossible, it is impolite. Pushing food into your mouth with chopsticks is perfectly acceptable in China. However, Koreans and Japanese do not do this. In their opinion it is rude.

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Are you supposed to eat Thai food with chopsticks? ›

In Thailand, chopsticks are only used for standalone noodle dishes. Even if you prefer chopsticks and want to show that you know how to use them politely, Thai people don't use them for rice-based dishes. In Thailand, people eat with a spoon in the right hand and fork in the left.

Do you eat Thai curry with chopsticks? ›

Thai Curries

Thai people use a spoon and fork to eat curry, unless it is a noodle with curry soup like Khao Soi in which case chopsticks are used. Add a small amount of curry (meat and vegetables) on top of the rice, mix well into the rice and scoop the rice and curry with small and perfect bites.

Is it rude not to eat all your food in Thailand? ›

Unlike many western countries, you are not expected to finish all of the food on your plate (although it's not rude to do so). Finish whatever you can and only stop when you're full. It's never a good idea to waste food, but it's not seen as much of an issue in Thailand when compared to other places you might visit.

Do Thai people eat rice with chopsticks? ›

Thai people, if eating rice, will use a spoon to fix it. But if you eat noodles such as noodles or Pad Thai and Japanese food, they like to use chopsticks. For all Thailand country we use spoon/folk and hands more than chopsticks.

Do you eat Thai food with fingers? ›

Thai people use our hands to eat some things, most commonly sticky rice because it's so sticky that it's actually easiest to just eat with your hands, and unlike sushi rice, it doesn't stick to your hands! If you get a roti which is sometimes served with curries, it is okay to use your hands for that, too.

What is Thai food etiquette? ›

In Thailand, people eat with a spoon in the right hand and fork in the left. The spoon is used to put food into the mouth, while the fork is used to scoop and arrange rice and food onto the spoon so it doesn't fall off on its way to your mouth.

What is the proper way to eat Thai curry? ›

1. Eaten with fork and spoon: most Thai dishes that go with rice such as soups, curries, stir-fries. Typically, the rice will be served on a separate plate and you take some of the soup or curry, add it to the rice and use the spoon and fork to scoop it up and eat!

Is it okay to eat with chopsticks? ›

Benefits of chopsticks include more effective weight loss, coordination training, lowering of food glycemic index, and many others. This traditional Asian alternative to silverware can be a great help for your entire family and they are fun to use.

What is considered rude in Thai culture? ›

Pointing at another person with one's index finger or feet is considered rude. The soles of one's feet should never be pointed at another person. One should sit in a way that avoids this. Feet should also not be rested on tables or pillows that people sleep on.

What culture is it rude to eat all your food? ›

6 China: Leave Food On Your Plate

This is the case in China. It's considered rude to eat everything on your plate because doing so implies that you're still hungry, even if you're not. That means that the host hasn't done a satisfactory job of providing enough food and can make them feel bad.

What to avoid eating in Thailand? ›

Food and drink to avoid in Thailand

Generally speaking, pork and shellfish are regarded as higher-risk meats in Thailand due to how they're prepared. Pork often isn't cooked thoroughly (even when grilled), and shellfish is often eaten raw or not cooked thoroughly.

Do I tip in Thailand? ›

Tipping is NOT customary in Thailand, there is absolutely NO mandatory requirement to tip anyone, but small gratuities for great service are very much appreciated. Unlike some other parts of the world, you will never see a Thai service provider with his hand out waiting for a tip.

Do Thai people eat rice with a spoon? ›

Eating with a spoon and fork: It's very common in Thailand to eat rice with a spoon and fork along with your favorite stir-fry, curry or made-to-order dish.

What utensil do Thai people eat with? ›

Contrary to how many people may think all Asian cuisine is eaten, Thai food is typically eaten with a spoon and fork, not chopsticks! Food is typically sliced into bite sized pieces that can be easily handled with these two utensils. No knife is needed.

Why does Thai food start with pad? ›

The dish was created because Thailand was focused on nation-building. So this dish was created using rice noodles and called it pad Thai as a way to galvanize nationalism."

Why do Thai dishes start with pad? ›

Pad Thai is one of the most popular dishes that is served in Thai restaurants. While the name seems to be inauthentic, it is actually derived from the word phad Thai (Thai: ผัดไท, “fried Thai style”), a translation of the term, phat Thai originally referring to the stir-frying technique and not the dish itself.

What are impolite actions in the Thai culture? ›

Don'ts. Don't point your feet: Pointing your feet at someone, raising your feet higher than someone's head, or simply putting your feet on a desk or chair are considered extremely rude in Thailand. The bottoms of the feet are dirty: don't show them to people! Avoid pointing feet at Buddhas in and outside of temples.

How do Thai people pay respect? ›

Greetings are accompanied by the gesture known as a 'wai', which is the placing of two palms together, with fingertips touching the nose. A wai indicates the level of respect for another person and is an acknowledgement of seniority. A person should bow their head with their palms pressed together to indicate respect.

What is impolite or taboo here in Thailand? ›

Pointing your feet at someone, or raising them up near a person's head, is considered to be a form of disrespect – and one of the major Thai taboos to avoid.

Do you use chopsticks or fork for pad thai? ›

Always eat your Pad Thai with a fork…of course. Thais eat Thai food with a spoon and fork. They do not use chopsticks. The spoon (usually a table spoon) is used to bring food to your mouth.

Do you eat sticky rice with your hands? ›

The most common way to eat sticky rice is by rolling and dipping. Grab a generous amount of rice with your hands and massage it into a cylindrical shape or ball big enough for several mouthfuls. Break off each serving by hand and flatten the rice before dipping.

What are 3 things you should not do with chopsticks while eating? ›

How to use chopsticks
  • 1) Do not rub your chopsticks together. ...
  • 2) Do not stick chopsticks into your food. ...
  • 3) Do not pass food to another pair of chopsticks. ...
  • 4) Do not use one chopstick. ...
  • 5) Do not leave your chopsticks crossed on your bowl or the table. ...
  • 6) Do not point with your chopsticks.
Jan 26, 2016

Which is better eating with hand or chopsticks? ›

04/10Better digestion

Your food is digested well because when the hand touches the food, the nerves on the finger tips experience it and then send signals to the brain which instructs the body to release digestive juices. Perhaps this is why food tastes better when eaten with hands.

Why does it feel better to eat with chopsticks? ›

Research shows that eating with chopsticks lowers the glycemic index of the food you consume, thanks to the way it makes you eat it. Because eating with chopsticks meant eating less at a time and eating more slowly, the glycemic index of the food decreases.

What not to eat with chopsticks? ›

Examples are beans, whole boiled eggs, and greasy and slippery meat. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you have a boiled egg to eat but are unable to pick it up with your chopsticks after so many tries, do not stab or skewer it. Get a spoon or a fork.

Why do Asians eat with chopsticks? ›

In pre-modern times, this way of eating was also more hygienic because chopsticks' small size minimized the chance of passing one's germ to the food in communal eating. In sum, though invented in antiquity about 7,000 years ago, chopsticks were not always so essential to East Asian table manners as one might think.

What percentage of people eat with chopsticks? ›

An estimated 33% of the world's population (give or take) use chopsticks on a daily basis. For the hungry first time user, guzzling down your meal with two small wooden sticks can be a real challenge.

Is thumbs up offensive in Thailand? ›

Traditionally, giving someone the “thumbs up” gesture is similar to giving them the middle finger – ultimately derogatory in nature. While adults in Thailand today have adopted its more international meaning of approval or a job well done, it's still common for kids to exchange the gesture during a childish argument.

How do Thai people apologize? ›

For spoken language, the main word used to say sorry, apology, or excuse me in Thai is as follows: ขอโทษ (khǎaw-thôot) — “Sorry” in Thai translates to this word, and this is the main word for “sorry” in Thailand. You can use this word in every situation, both formal and informal. Make sure you remember this word well.

How to flirt with a Thai? ›

Below are a few Thai phrases for flirting you can start practicing right away.
  1. 1 – มีแฟนยัง ...
  2. 2 – [pronoun “I” or name] + อยากเป็นแฟน + [pronoun “you” or name] ...
  3. 3 – จีบได้มั๊ย ...
  4. 4 – เป็นยังไงบ้าง / ทำอะไรอยู่ ...
  5. 5 – เป็นห่วงนะ ...
  6. 6 – เหนื่อยมั๊ย ...
  7. 7 – ฝันดีนะ ...
  8. 9 – [pronoun “I” or name] + ชอบ + [pronoun “you” or name] + มากกว่าเพื่อน
Aug 26, 2021

What culture has the unhealthiest food? ›

Tonga. Tonga is currently leading the world in obesity with a disquieting obesity rate of 90%. “Junk meat” is a term that has commonly been thrown around in reference to a Tonganese diet essential.

Which culture has the unhealthiest cuisine? ›

Uzbekistan has been named as the country which has the highest number of diet-related deaths in the world. A global study has found that the former Soviet republic records 892 per 100,000 people a year, due to poor diets.

What culture leaves one bite of food? ›

That's not so in China. Finishing your plate when dining at someone's home in China suggests the food wasn't filling enough, and that your host was skimping on the portion size. Always leave behind a little food to show the host that their meal was filling and satisfying.

What Thai food is unhealthy? ›

Worst: Red or Green Curry

Thai curries are usually made with a hefty dose of coconut milk, and that won't do your diet any favors. One cup of the creamy milk packs in 400 calories. It also has 36 grams of saturated fat -- more than three times the recommended daily amount.

Can I brush my teeth with tap water in Thailand? ›

Tap water in Bangkok is as safe in theory as the tap water in any developed city worldwide. This means that there's no need to boil or treat it before drinking. Bangkok's tap water is certified safe for brushing teeth, showering or making a cup of coffee etc.

Should I carry cash to Thailand? ›

Is it safe to carry cash in Thailand? It's advisable to carry a forex card rather than carrying cash when you are travelling to Thailand. A forex card is like a credit card which you can use if you are travelling.

Can you drink tap water in Thailand? ›

Avoid ice and filtered water in Thailand

Clearly, drinking tap water in Thailand is to be avoided. I also steer clear of filtered tap water. The latter is commonly drunk by Thai people, who either fit a filter to their taps at home, or buy filtered water from dispensers found in public spaces.

Can you use US dollars in Thailand? ›

All currency — paper and coin — portray an image of His Majesty the King or a deceased relative. So be sure to exchange your money at the airport or at a local Thai bank, as USD is not accepted anywhere!

What time is dinner in Thailand? ›

Dinner is generally eaten between 7:00pm and 8:00pm. It is the main meal of the day. It is generally an informal meal with meat or fish, rice and is similar to lunch except often more dishes are served. Main dishes made at home, include a variety of stir fried dishes and soups.

Can you hold hands in Thailand? ›

Holding hands is OK for foreigners, but rarely seen at locals. * It is not acceptable to touch someone's head – not even children's; the head is considered to be the most sacred part of the human body.

Is it rude to not finish food in Thailand? ›

Unlike many western countries, you are not expected to finish all of the food on your plate (although it's not rude to do so). Finish whatever you can and only stop when you're full. It's never a good idea to waste food, but it's not seen as much of an issue in Thailand when compared to other places you might visit.

Should you eat Thai food with chopsticks? ›

Utensil Etiquette Summary

The Thais only use chopsticks to eat Chinese-style noodles in a bowl. Pad Thai, Pad See Ew, Pad Kee Mao, Rad Na or any other noodle dish served in a flat plate will also be eaten with fork and spoon. Do not ask for a knife. Everything in Thai food is normally bite-sized.

Do so Thai people use chopsticks? ›

Even Yahoo answers can take this one: Thais don't generally use chopsticks, their main utensils are forks and spoons.

Is Thai food traditionally eating using left hand? ›

Traditional Thai dining is similar to American practice when it concerns which utensils are used – a fork and spoon. To eat, you'll hold your primary utensil, the spoon in right hand and fork in the left.

What is supposed to be eaten with chopsticks? ›

Chopsticks are, inarguably, the single most important eating utensils in Japan. The Japanese use them to eat everything from rice and meat, to noodles, salad, and so much more! Japan is famous for their complex code of etiquette, and this includes mealtime.

Is slurping rude in Thailand? ›

Eat quietly or with your mouth close when chewing your food. For other Asian countries, munching on your serving means appreciating the food. However, it is not a practice in Thailand, especially slurping your soup.

What Thai food is not eaten with chopsticks? ›

Thais eat Thai food with a spoon and fork. They do not use chopsticks. The spoon (usually a table spoon) is used to bring food to your mouth. The fork is used to manuveur your food around your plate and onto the spoon.

Where is it impolite to eat with your left hand? ›

Exchanging money in the Middle East

And as in Ethiopia and India, it's considered rude to eat with the left hand in the Middle East. Make sure you know about these/hand gestures that are rude in other countries.

Are you supposed to break chopsticks after eating? ›

You have to break them apart to use them. It might seem like it would be easier to keep them together, but really, it would make it near impossible to use them.

Do you eat ramen with chopsticks? ›

We know it may seem pretty tricky at first, but a bowl of ramen should be eaten with chopsticks as a sign of appreciation of the Japenese tradition, and as an indication of respect for the chef. No need to panic though, once you know these ramen tips and tricks, we guarantee you'll be happily slurping away in no time!

Do you eat soup with chopsticks? ›

Since chopsticks are used for all dining, including soup, it can take some finesse to properly eat soup. If the soup has noodles, the chopsticks can be used to bring the noodles towards your mouth, from the bowl. Soups are also served with a spoon, which is used from the brother.


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