Only Forks & Spoons: Thailand’s Problem With Chopsticks
Updated : September 21, 2021 07:09 IST
Your guide to enjoying Thai food the right way.
If you have ever been to Thailand or eaten at a traditional Thai restaurant, you’ll notice that there are no knives or chopsticks around the plate. Even though the food they serve include noodles and rice, chopsticks are a big ‘no-no’. They use forks and spoons to eat basically everything. While most Thai restaurants (not in Thailand) will set aside a chopstick for some eaters, it is still recommended to stick to their customs. Here is what you must know.
Spoons and Forks
Typically, the spoon is the primary tool for enjoying food. The fork stays on the sidelines. And the fork can never touch the mouth. The fork is used to push food onto the spoon and then the spoon will deliver the food. They are also very particular about which hand the spoon and fork go onto. The spoon must be held on the right while the fork always stays on the left. If you were eating something that required piercing the food with a fork, customs would pertain against this as well. The case of sticky rice is much different.
If you were enjoying a bowl of sticky rice and Thai red curry, you would need to use your hands! And in general, you can only use your right hand. Another interesting factoid is that you can’t slurp or making any noise while eating. While many Asian foods have meals of soups and noodles but since they make noise, Thai restaurants keep them off their menu.
The act of pushing food onto a spoon using the fork is an old one. And unlike western culture, they do not like having knives on the table, so knives are ruled out. The use of chopsticks was discouraged in order to make Thailand different from other Asian countries.
Can Chopsticks ever be used?
Most Thai food is prepared to ensure that chopsticks would never be required. Veggies are chopped into cubes and meat is in large enough pieces (never shredded) so that you can push it onto the spoon with a fork. But chopsticks may be used during the occasional consumption of noodles. But even then you would have to ask the server to bring them to you.