Acquire Thai Table manners Before Enjoying a Thai Meal
Table etiquette is important in Thailand like any other part of the world. Thai people are the world’s most tolerant and benign; even if your table manners go wrong they rarely take offense. But then if you can be nice why not?
Elbows on the Table
In Thailand, elbows on the table are acceptable except if you are dining with someone older. The reason is that Thais treat older people with great respect. Never rest your chin in your hand and have your elbow on the table while talking. It is considered disrespectful.
Using a Spoon and Fork
Unlike the use of a knife and fork in the west, Thais eat most dishes with a spoon and fork. The spoon is held in the right hand and the fork is used to scoop the food onto the spoon. In most Thailand restaurants, a spoon and fork will be provided. Knives are not used while eating Thai cuisine. The food comes in bite sized pieces, so it is not necessary to cut anything.
Being Invited to Begin Eating
Perfect table manners in Thailand is respecting the eldest or wealthiest person dining, he or she should invite everyone to eat once all the food has arrived. It is a big taboo to help yourself to food until invited to do so by an elder or the host. Not abiding by this is impolite in Thai culture.
Thais usually order several dishes for everyone to share, which makes dining a social gathering. Wait for someone to serve you, this is usually one of the youngest people at the table or help yourself by taking a small amount of rice followed by the toppings.
Filling the Plate
Thais never heap up their plates, but rather take a small amount and keep going back for more. You should serve yourself with the larger spoons that arrive with the food. In a restaurant, if no other utensils arrive then it is fine to use your eating cutlery to help yourself with more food from the communal plates.
Thai etiquette mandates that you eat slowly. Thais like spending a lot of time over their meals by having small talk and laughs. In such occasions gulping the food quickly will leave you sitting with an empty plate while everyone else is still eating.
Never Talk With Food in Your Mouth
Thais detest people talking while eating. No one likes to see you churning food in your mouth. Either swallow the food before speaking or cover your mouth with your hand while talking. If not, you will be perceived as low class.
Who Must Pay?
In Thai culture, it is the oldest or the wealthiest that pays for everyone. Paying the bill is an honor; fellow diners are giving you special recognition as a senior person. Since a Thailand meal for four people comes as cheap as $10 it will not be a burden at all.