VIDEO: Eat Like A Thai 101


Understanding how Thai people eat provides a greater understanding of the food and people. Here are a few tips on how to eat like the Thais do.

In the West, food is brought out in a certain order: Appetiser, Main Dish, and Dessert. In Thailand, there are really only two courses in a Thai meal: The food and the dessert.

When I travel it also makes me think of the difference of the eating styles between Western and Thai. I often noticed groups of foreign tourists, they ordered everything for themselves. But that is not exactly what we do here. J

Thais always eat ‘FAMILY STYLE’, we order many dishes, which sit in the centre of the table that everyone shares.

 Everyone has a plate of rice! Rice (ข้าว kâao)  is the base of a Thai meal. When you order your food at a restaurant, you also have to order rice, it doesn’t come automatically.


You should try to order a good balance of dishes. Ordering four coconut milk-based curries is a bad idea.

I suggest you to order one fried vegetable dish, one soup or curry and one uncooked dish, or deep-fried dish. This also allows you to truly sample the variety of Thai cooking.

And from my personal experience, it is also a good idea to remember to not order all spicy dishes. Sometimes I do that and that is not good for my stomach.


1. We use a spoon ช้อน (cháwn) and a fork (ส้อม sâwn). We hold a spoon in the right hand and a fork in the left hand.

2. When eating with others, we should use A SERVING SPOON in Thai is called ช้อนกลาง (cháwn glaang). We use this to spoon out your spoon-size servings onto your dish.


This is important thing – take only one or two spoonful at a time from the center dish, and eat them with the rice before proceeding onto the next dish you wish to try. Please don’t pile 10 dishes on top of your rice and mix. Thais like to savor each dish on it’s own, and not mix the flavours. If you mix them onto your rice, the flavors will mix.

When finished with your meal, your plate should be clean, unless you were given too much rice. It should NOT have huge piles of food on it that you took from the main dishes and didn’t eat.

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17 Responses to VIDEO: Eat Like A Thai 101

  1. Graham 21/04/2016 at 05:28 #

    Hi Mod

    I am an Australian. My wife Raweewan is Thai. We live in Bangkok (Kanna Yao).

    I just want to tell you that I think your sites on both language and food are brilliant.

    I am not a chef, but I have been cooking for over 50 years. I cook every cuisine, but Thai and Indian have been my favourites for a very long time. Even my Thai family loves my Thai cooking, so I must be doing something right. (Thais are so fussy! haha)

    The biggest problem I have in Thailand is trying to avoid MSG. I am allergic to it big time. If I eat it by accident, I get a massive headache that lasts about 12 hours or more. One of the first phrases I learned in Thai was “mai pong shu rot.” I am fortunate in having a Thai wife; otherwise I don’t think I could live here.

    I want to learn to speak Thai. I know enough to get me into trouble. The tones are very difficult for a farang to learn. There don’t appear to be any “rules.” It would appear that you just memorize the tone for each word from childhood up.

    I might sign up for your one on one later. I am too busy at the moment. But I just wanted to thank you for all that you do, and congratulate you on first class work. It is simply wonderful.

    Best wishes

    Graham Dyer

    • Mod 26/04/2016 at 16:52 #

      Sawatdii ka Graham, it is nice to hear that you enjoy both eating and cooking Thai food. I agree with you on MSG , I often have to tell the cook not to add it in my dish too.

      Thank you for your kind words about my work. I am delighted. Please remember us when it is convenient for you to start Thai lessons. 🙂

  2. Richard 14/03/2015 at 14:19 #

    My favorite thai food is kaeng massaman laaw gor tom yum kung, aroi mak mak!

  3. bernard 11/03/2015 at 11:43 #

    Hi Mod,
    Your video Eat like a Thai was interesting, but you used too much english and we couldn’t learn many new thai words or expressions.
    Keep on sending videos, we like them.

    • Mod 21/03/2015 at 12:31 #

      Thank you for watching my video. This particular lesson is meant to talk about Thai culture,we just want to share the tips on how to eat like a Thai. That is why I didn’t talk about Thai language unlike the other lessons that purely focus on speaking Thai. 🙂

  4. Yvan 11/03/2015 at 06:26 #

    I can’t hear the dialogue. Only the introduction music can be heard, What’s the problem?

    • Mod 21/03/2015 at 12:57 #

      I think the problem is the microphone I used to record this lesson only records to the left channel, and the speaker in your computer perhaps works only from the right channel so you can’t hear the audio of the lesson. I have this problem with one of my computers that has a problem with a left speaker, but when I play the video from the other computers, I can hear everything fine. Sorry about that.

  5. Robin 11/03/2015 at 03:35 #

    Hi Mod,
    I have seen the same thing in Thailand as Gerhard in a KFC when a group of Thai Chinese people ordered lots of things and afterwards walked out leaving more than half of it to be thrown away.
    I may be wrong but I thought it looked like a rich guy trying to impress his friends.

    I think European or American food is sometimes thought to be ‘exotic’ to Thais but actually some of them find it a bit boring and ‘mai aroi’.
    Maybe he was showing off to his friends that he could afford to pay the “check bin” but wasted all this food which then ended in the rubbish bin..
    I have also seen the same thing with people in the UK over- ordering when they do not know if they will like the type of food or not.

    Elderly European people who lived in the war never wasted food because it was rationed.
    When I was in Hatyai I saw Thai girls with their boyfriends order five or six dishes but only pick little bits of food and the rest was wasted. Ordering many dishes is good for a big group of people so everyone can try a little bit of everything. I think that the best way to try lots of Thai food is with a Thai family.

  6. Nigel 10/03/2015 at 22:45 #

    Hello Mod,
    I always enjoy your videos, but perhaps you could tell people the Thai name for many dishes and what food it is. I like Thai food but do not know the name and do not know how to order. Could you do a video of food names and what they are.
    Take care and thank you for your help.

    • Mod 21/03/2015 at 12:33 #

      Thank you for watching my video and your suggestion. I will remember to make a video on Thai dishes. 🙂

  7. Gerhard 01/03/2015 at 03:36 #

    Dear Mod,

    I have some experience in eating in Thai restaurants.
    Very unfortunately I must say that many Thai people do not follow your advice of leaving their plate clean. It always made me sick at heart to see so much food wasted and thrown away. And it made me sad to see Thai(!) people do this. How do you account for such “bad behaviour”?
    I wish I did not have to write this comment, but I would appreciate your answer.

    I beg your pardon
    and wish you all the best

    • Mod 04/03/2015 at 22:49 #

      Sawatdee ka Gerhard, thank you for your comments. I am sorry to see that too. I am not sure if I can give a good explanation. We all have different backgrounds and upbringing. At the very least, we can be responsible for our own behaviour and do our best. 🙂

  8. Ken 28/02/2015 at 13:29 #

    Hi Mod! Sawadee khrap!

    I am studying Thai in Chiang Mai and I love your videos. Your bubbly personality makes the learning process a lot of fun! Sanuuk!

    I’m not sure why but your latest two videos, including this one, does not have any audio when I view it. I get the intro music but not the conversation.

    Can you please advise how I can get to hear the conversation?

    Kop khun khrap!
    09 4207 5025

    • Mod 04/03/2015 at 22:50 #

      Sawatdee ka Ken. I am happy to hear that you enjoy my videos. I am sorry to hear that there is a problem at your end. Uhmm… I am not sure what the problem is, let me try to figure it out. Thank you for your patient.

      • Mark 11/03/2015 at 04:04 #

        The audio is only on the left channel. Maybe Ken is listening to the right channel.

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