Thai Food Culture
In the West, a “normal” restaurant meal consists of a starter followed by the main course and dessert, with each individual ordering only for him or herself.
In Thailand, there is no such thing as a starter; neither is there any dish that belongs only to one person. As a general rule, Thai diners order the same number of dishes as people present; however,all dishes are shared and enjoyed together. For this reason,
it is better to have many guests at the table rather than just one or two. In fact, many Thais believe that eating alone is bad luck.
It is customary to include a dish of soup called Tom, usually is a clear soup made with meat and vegetables, a dish of stir fry called Pad, which can be a choice of meat stir fried with vegetables and oyster sauce, a dish of curry called Kaeng, a dish of fried food called Tod,
and the most traditional type of food that has been part of Thai cuisine for centuries, it is a dish of dips (mostly made of shrimp paste, chillies, garlic, fish sauce, sugar and lime juice) called Nam Prik or Nam Prik Kapi served with assorted fresh veggies.
All of these food dishes except the rice are called Kab Kaow literary means “with rice”.
Thai foods cooked in the country side are normally simply prepared and enjoyed in casual settings. Dinner time is usually early in the evening around 5-7 pm. Fork and spoons are often used while some families in rural areas use only short spoons or even hands on rare occasions.
After the meal is over, there is no such thing as dispensing with leftovers. Throwing food away enrages the Thai “god of rice”, a female deity who watches over the people, ensuring everyone has enough to eat.
Thai people love sharing food. If you go out for lunch or dinner with Thai friends, you are most likely to be asked whether you’d like a single dish or dishes to share. To share or not to share, that is a question entirely up to you. To make things easier, it helps to observe or ask other people in your group what style they’re going for. If they’ve decided on sharing, then you should join in the fun.