When trying out cuisines from different countries, you should not just look forward to the new flavours that you are bound to encounter. You also have to take into consideration the way in which the food is consumed, from the manner of handling to the actual ways of eating it. Yes, this thinking should likewise be applied when eating at a Thai restaurant in Singapore.
So how do you observe proper etiquette when eating in a Thai restaurant? While manners are relatively less stringent, there are also some actions that may not be acceptable to Thais, and these include:
- Food is for sharing.
Unless you are dining alone, you should never ever order a dish that you intend to eat only on your own. Dishes in the Thai culture are meant for sharing, and this can be seen in the manner and amount of food is served on the table.
You may want to discuss with your fellow diners on the dishes you want to eat, so that everybody gets to enjoy the food once they arrive.
- There’s no need to wait for all the dishes to arrive.
Ordered dishes do not arrive on the table all at once, and you may not have to wait for all of them to be set before eating. Thais eat in a leisurely manner, so you can start eating when there is one dish already placed on the table.
When starting to eat, however, you must offer the food to the most senior member of the group, as this is a sign of respect. You should also offer the food to the other members on your table as food is meant for sharing.
- Never ever take food from the middle of the serving plate.
Getting the food in the middle of the serving plate is a no-no, as it seems like you are only after feeding yourself. Rather, get the food from the sides first so that everybody else can get their own share as the dish is passed around.
- Observe the “rule of three.”
It can be a bit messy when you take too many different kinds of dishes on one plate, and this has likewise been considered a bad habit in Thai dining. Hence, you may want to observe getting only up to three different types of food on your plate for you to eat. Once you have consumed these, that’s the time you can get a new serving either from a different type of dish or the same ones you have first tasted.
Getting too many different kinds of food on one plate is regarded to be greedy, and you may also be tagged to be a person who wastes food especially when you end up with a lot of leftovers on your plate.
- Do not take the good parts for yourself.
Some eaters make it a habit to look for the best portions of the dish they are eating, such as chicken wings, lean meat, or the seafood pieces. This is an act of being greedy, thus you should avoid doing this when dining in a Thai restaurant.
This is because you have to take into consideration the other people who are going also going to eat; they also have to enjoy the food the same as you do, and getting the best parts is like a way of depriving them of savouring the meal.
- Never slurp your soup.
Unlike in Japan, it is not customary to sip the soup or noodles with sound. Rather, you sip your soup and finish your bowl in a slow and quiet manner. This manner of consuming soup bowls is highly observed even in Thai restaurants in Singapore, and you may have to follow suit as well as a sign of respect.