Thai Eating Etiquette

Sa-wad-dee, Travelers!

This week, I would like to talk about Thai eating/ table manner you, foreign traveler, should know, so you don’t feel like ‘that awkward moment when…’ lol

Here are some major things Thai people do, but foreigners don’t…



1. Eating with tableware/ Hands

If you have read our previous content, 7 Thai habits foreign travelers might find them WEIRD, you might already know that Thai people mainly use fork and spoon when eating. They are also using soup spoon and chopsticks for noodle dishes and hand when having sticky rice with side dishes like grilled chicken or Somtum. This thing is a common thing Thais do, but isn’t necessarily a must. It’s ok to use whatever you feel comfortable with. Some people use fork and spoon to eat Somtum or noodle too, but if you use your hands eating noodle?…That’s too messy and….nasty lol

2. Tips

Unlike western countries, Thai people don’t tip waiters, they do only if they are pleased or satisfied with their food or the service. Some people tip only if that restaurant doesn’t have VAT or service charge, so feel free to say “keep the change” if you’d like leave tips.

3. Call a waiter

Some foreign traveler might find this a little frustrating when nobody comes over to take their order, but, here in Thailand, not many restaurants offer their service like western’s especially when you have a meal at a food stall by sidewalks. Waiters/waitresses come over whenever you call them. It’s not considered as rude to wave your hand and call a waiter to take your food order.

4. Pay the bill

This goes with ‘Call a waiter.’ Please do call them to bring your bill to you when you are done with your food. Only a few restaurants in Thailand do place your bill at your table. The rest of them? either you call a waiter for your ticket or you pay for your food at their cashier.

5. Seasoning

If you aren’t having a meal at a fancy restaurant, it’s not considered as rude to a chef to season you dish. When you eat noodle at a local place, you will see seasoning containers at every table. You go ahead and adjust your food to your taste. If there aren’t any seasonings at your table and you are ordering spicy a dish, like Tomyum or Somtum, tell them beforehand to make it less spicy or not spicy at all.

6. Serving food

Thai people prefer to serve dishes the moment they are done, not all at once like most restaurants in western countries.

7. Sharing dishes

You need to understand that Thai people basically eats white rice as a main dish. They eats rice with other side dishes. The number of side dishes depend on how many people are having a meal together. If they aren’t having a quick one-dish meal for lunch they will definitely order a couple side dishes for sharing and one rice dish for each person.


What do you think? Comment to share us your thought or experience about Thai eating etiquette today 🙂

Have a great time, y’all