Are you planning your very first vacation in Thailand? If you are a foodie, then you are in for a real treat! There is nothing quite as exciting as Thai cuisine, but you have to know what to eat and drink and what you should avoid as well. Having said that, the one thing you can always count on is the fact that Thai food is naturally aromatic, spicy and sweet. Even so, there’s more to dining in Thailand than just the native dishes, so here is a quick primer to get you ready for your upcoming vacation in foodie paradise.
Oddly, many people go to Thailand expecting to see people eating with chopsticks. There are some areas, like Chinatown in Bangkok where this might be the case, but if you are staying in a five-star Phuket Patong hotel, you will be given the usual utensils that grace your table back home. You’ll have a fork, knife and spoon at the very least. However, beware your American table manners if you want to impress the locals. Did you know that it is considered to be rude to eat with your fork in Thailand? Thai people use their fork to push food onto their spoon to be carried to the mouth. If you are entertaining Thai guests at that lovely hotel, do remember to eat with your spoon.
Oddly, you might be surprised when ordering a local beer to go with your meal. Many westerners aren’t aware of the fact that a few of the major labels in Thailand bottle both beer and water. Chang and Singha are two of the better-known labels that bottle both beer and water, so if you aren’t very specific when ordering, you might get beer when you were thinking water and vice versa. Do get in the habit of saying “I’d like a cold bottle of Singha water,” if that’s the beverage of your choice.
Here is where it can get quite tricky for a foodie in Thailand. When referring to table manners, a five-star hotel in Phuket was mentioned above, and that can be as problematic as it is delightful! You are in Thailand on vacation and would love to get out and about to see things. Street foods are especially delicious in Thailand and you’ll surely want to sample them. However, you will be pampered like royalty at your hotel, and since most are surprisingly inexpensive compared to western prices, you might become too spoiled to venture out to sample local cuisines. You may need to literally force yourself to leave your hotel since you can already taste local cuisine prepared by world-class Thai chefs.
At this point, it should be said that there really was no reason to go into all the details of Thai cuisine. You are a foodie, after all, aren’t you? You know that two of the most common ingredients are peanuts and coconut milk along with Thai peppers and lemongrass. If you are allergic to peanuts, always make sure your server and/or chef understands what you are trying to communicate to them. If you have any doubt, find someone who speaks both English and Thai fluently to translate for you. It shouldn’t be a problem in your hotel because resorts cater to tourists, but when sampling street foods, it could be an issue. Even so, there is nowhere on earth quite as intoxicating as Thailand for a foodie, so be prepared for a truly memorable vacation in foodie paradise.