Guide to Eating / Ordering Thai

How to eat Thai-Style
Thais share their food by putting all of the dishes in the centre of the table. Each person has their own plate of rice. A serving spoon is placed in the common dish, use that to scoop a small amount of food on to your plate. If not, use your own spoon.

The biggest no-nos:
1. Don’t pile your plate with food all at once, mixing the flavours is considered very crass. Eat one dish at a time to best enjoy each, before sampling the next dish from the centre.
2. Don’t take huge amounts from the common dish, it’s seen as stingy/greedy. This is not an all you can eat buffet where the aim is to pile your plat
3. Make sure your spoon is clean before reaching into the common dish if a common spoon isn't available.e before somebody else gets a look in, but a social occasion enjoying the culinary fare together. Also, you should eat what you’ve taken (unless you don’t like it!). Don’t leave large amounts of food on your plate at the end of the meal that others could have eaten. The Thais enjoy sharing.

How to order:
Generally, a Thai meal is varied. The more people, the more dishes, and the more chance to try new things. A typical Thai meal will try to incorporate a soup, a vegetable dish, a meat or fish dish, a curry, etc. Essentially one of everything. If you are unsure how to eat something, look around or just ask. A mixture of using cutlery one minute and your fingers the next is quite acceptable in many cases. Licking your fingers however is considered crass, please use the tissues provided.

Did you know?
• Thai people eat with a fork and spoon.
• Peanut sauce did not originate in Thailand. It comes from Malaysia and Indonesia.
• Many of the popular appetizers you know are actually street or snack food.
• Thai people like to balance flavours - it's not uncommon to find salt in fruit juice, sugar in salty dishes, or chillies in dessert.
• Thailand was never colonized, but Thai food was heavily influenced by Portuguese, Chinese and Indian settlers.
• Pad Thai, one of Thailand's most famous dishes, is common street food.
• Thai people snack all day long but are generally not fat, due to the very low calorific value of rice etc.
• 90% of Thai conversation is about food. Maybe not quite that much, but certainly over 40%!!

ฉันชอบอาหารไทยมากๆ Foodie’s Guide To Eating Thai {คู่มือนักชิมอาหารไทย} Courtesy of

Authentic - รสชาติไทยแท้- Rot chaat Thai thaer

• I want food Thai people like to eat, not food Thai people think foreigners like to eat.
Chan yaak gin ahaan Thai tee khun Thai gin mai chai ahaan tee Khun Thai kit waa Khun dtang chaat chop gin.

• Please don’t add western vegetables if possible.
กรุณาอย่าใส่ผักที่ไม่ใช่ผักไทย เช่นบรอคโคลี่,แครอท, ฯลฯ
Ga-ru-naa yaa sai pak tee mai-chai pak Thai chen broccolii carrot

• I can eat fermented things like fish sauce, shrimp paste, fish paste, etc.
ฉันกินของหมักดองเช่น น้ำปลา, กะปิ, ปลาร้า, ฯลฯ ได้
Chan gin khong mak-dong chen nam-praa ga-bi paraa dai

• What are the recommended dishes here?
Ti-nii mii ahaan nek-nam arai baang
• We want to order Thai-style to share.
ขอสั่งอาหารแบ่งกันกิน แบบไทย
Khor sang ahaan bang-gun gin baerb Thai

Spicy - เผ็ด -Pet

• I can eat spicy.
Chan gin pet dai

• I want Thai level of spiciness.
Chan yaak gin pet baerb Khon Thai gin

• I want my food/ ฉันอยากได้; Chan yaak dai;
- not spicy at all / ไม่เผ็ดเลย /mai pet loeuy
- a little spicy / เผ็ดนิดหน่อย /pet nit-noy
- medium spicy / เผ็ดปานกลาง /pet paan grang
- spicy / เผ็ดแบบธรรมดา /pet baerb tam-maddar
- very spicy / เผ็ดมาก /pet maak
- so spicy Bangkokians would cry / เผ็ดมากๆขนาดคนกรุงเทพฯร้องไห้ /pet maak-maak kanaad Khon Krung Thaep rong hai

Food Allergy - แพ้อาหาร -pear ahaan
** Food allergies can be fatal. Please explain to the chef thoroughly.
** การแพ้อาหารอาจทำให้เสียชีวิตได้โปรดอธิบาย ให้แม่/พ่อครัวเข้าใจ
Gaan pear ahaan aad tam hai seear cheevit dai broaat a-ti bai hai maer kruua por kruua cow-jai

• I have food allergy(ies).
Chan pear ahaan bang cheneit

• I am allergic to: ฉันแพ้: Chan pear;
- peanuts / ถั่วลิสง /Tooar lissong
- nuts / ถั่ว /Tooar
- shellfish / หอย /Hoi
- shrimp / กุ้ง /Goong
- crab / ปู /Bpuu
- fish / ปลา /Praa
- milk / นม /Nom
- eggs / ไข่ /Kai
- soy / ถั่วเหลือง /Tooa-luang
-soy sauce/ รวมทั้งซอสถั่วเหลือง,ซีอิ้ว, เต้าหู้ /Rooang tang sauce tooa-ruang sii-euw dtow hoo

Vegetarian - มังสะวิรัติ Mang sa birat
Thais understanding of vegetarian may differ from yours. They’re familiar with Chinese vegetarian (”Jae” “เจ”) which also forbids garlic, shallots, scallions, cilantro and many other strong flavoured herbs.

I don’t eat: ฉันไม่กิน: Chan mai gin; I eat: ฉันกิน: Chan gin;
- meat / เนื้อสัตว์ /ngua-sat
- seafood / อาหารทะเล /ahaan talae
- fish sauce / น้ำปลา /naam praa
- oyster sauce / น้ำมันหอย /naam-man hoi
- shrimp paste / กะปิ /gapii
- meat broth / น้ำซุปเนื้อสัตว์ /naam soup ngua-sat
- milk / นม /nom
- eggs / ไข่ /kai
• I’m vegetarian, but not Chinese Vegetarian (Jae). I can eat all vegetables and herbs.
ฉันกินมังสะวิรัติ ไม่ใช่เจ ฉันกินผักได้ทุกชนิดรวมทั้งกระเทียม หอม ฯลฯ
Chan gin mang sa vi-rat mai chai jae chan gin pak dai tuk chaniit ruang tang gra-tiang haom

Street Food
How to find authentic Thai;
• Don’t be afraid to eat street food. The most delicious food in Thailand is usually found at street vendor stalls. However, look for clean vendors!
• Walking & eating isn't rude - it's totally normal, in fact street vendors don’t appreciate you taking up any of their valuable seating space for too much longer than necessary. You’re preventing another paying customer from having a seat, who will probably take their business elsewhere.
• Even though it's all part of the Thailand experience, so are "The Runs" and we'll not risk that while out on tour! We'll gladly take you once back to Chiang Mai, but in all honesty most people by then pretty ready for a steak? Oohh, chips, lol!

• Ask locals for recommendations for their favourite vendors -- everyone has an opinion and they love to talk about food. In fact that’s all they really speak about!

Outside Thailand:
Ask local Thais, try websites, Thai companies, or the Thai embassy for recommendations.

Inside Thailand:
• Look for restaurants not meant for travellers.
• Stay away from touristy areas.
• Look for lots of Thais eating, not other foreigners.
• Lines, packed tables, and crowds are always a good sign.


Public Holidays

Some public holidays you could maybe encounter while on tour with us;

1 + 2 January - New Year's Days, quite often 3rd as well, especially Banks / Offices

9 February - Makha Bucha Day
Maha Puja (particularly Wat Benjamabophit in Bangkok and Wat Phra That Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai; Feb full-moon day). A day of merit-making marks the occasion when 1250 disciples gathered spontaneously to hear the Buddha preach, and culminates with a candlelit procession round the local temple's bot.

Mae Hong Son and Chiang Mai Poy Sang Long (early April). Young Thai Yai boys precede their ordination into monkhood by parading the streets in floral headdresses and festive garb.
6 April - Chakri Day

April 13 - 15 (12+16+17 in some areas) Songkran Days
Chiang Mai is the best and busiest place in the country to see in the Thai New Year, Songkhran, which takes over the city between April 13 and 16. The most obvious role of the festival is as an extended "rain dance" in the driest part of the year, when huge volumes of canal water are thrown about in a communal water-fight that spares no one a drenching. The other elements of this complex festival are not as well known but no less important. In the temple compounds, communities get together to build sandcastles in the shape of chedis, which they cover with coloured flags – this bestows merit on any ancestors who happen to find themselves in hell and may eventually release them from their torments, and also shows an intent to help renovate the wat in the year to come. Houses are given a thorough spring-clean to see out the old year, while Buddha images from the city's main temples are cleaned, polished and sprinkled with lustral water, before being ceremonially carried through the middle of the water-fight to give everyone the chance to throw water on them and receive the blessing of renewal. Finally, younger family members formally visit their elders during the festival to ask for their blessings, while pouring scented water over their hands.
1 May - Labour Day

5 May - Coronation Day

8 May - Visakha Bucha Day
Visakha Puja (particularly Bangkok's Wat Benjamabophit and Nakhon Si Thammarat; May full-moon day). The holiest day of the Buddhist year, commemorating the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha all in one go; the most public and photogenic part is the candlelit evening procession around the wat.
8 July - Buddhist Lent Day

12 August - H.M. The Queen's Birthday

23 October - Chulalongkorn Memorial Day
Thais honour the memory of their patron-king Rama V with a son et lumière and a beauty contest staged entirely in nineteenth-century dress.

Loy Krathong: the Festival of Light
Every year on the evening of the full moon of the twelfth lunar month (usually in November), Thais all over the country celebrate the end of the rainy season with the festival of Loy Krathong. One of Thailand's most beautiful festivals, it's held to honour the spirits of the water at a time when all the fields are flooded and the canals and rivers are overflowing their banks.

Loy Krathong (particularly Sukhothai and Chiang Mai; full moon in Nov). Baskets (krathong) of flowers and lighted candles are floated on any available body of water (such as ponds, rivers, lakes, canals and seashores) to honour water spirits and celebrate the end of the rainy season. Nearly every town puts on a big show, with bazaars, public entertainments, fireworks, and in Chiang Mai, the release of paper hot-air balloons; in Sukhothai it is the climax of a nine-day son-et-lumière festival

5 December - H.M. The King's Birthday

10 December - Constitution Day
31 December - New Year's Eve
Alcohol sales are banned during many of these events, but the rules are fairly relaxed. The main exception being the King's Birthday on 5th Dec.
Alcohol sales are most certainly not restricted during Songkrahn, the Thai New Year festival, which is basically a week-long party and waterfight! We ride with exceptional care during this period. Wear light clothes under your armour to aid drying off quickly, as without doubt you'll be getting wet!!


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