Thai Superstitions Surrounding Food

In Thailand, meals are traditionally eaten in a group setting. Unlike in America, the Thais believe it is bad luck to eat alone. Considering the Thais eat in large groups, it’s therefore not surprising that a typical Thai dinner consists of three or more different dishes. And since, in Thailand, it is bad luck to throw food away, normally all of these dishes would be consumed in one sitting. Discarding food might anger the Thai “god of rice”, a female deity who watches over the people, ensuring everyone has enough to eat. Bad luck or even widespread famine may ensue if food goes uneaten or is needlessly wasted.

A Typical Thai Meal

In Thailand, a typical meal would consist of the following:

  • One or two curry dishes, such as green, yellow, or red curry. These might be made with red meat, poultry, tofu, vegetables, or seafood, depending on the region and what protein sources are readily available.
  • A noodle dish such as Pad Thai noodles. These flavorful rice noodles might be made with tofu, chicken, or prawns.
  • A vegetable stir-fry dish made with just one or a variety of fresh local vegetables.

With all meals, Thai jasmine-scented rice is served on the side. Dessert may consist of something as simple as fresh fruit such as pineapple or papaya. For a beverage, most Thais enjoy their meal with a cold lager or a cool drink such as lime water or Thai iced tea.

How do Thais eat?

You’ve probably noticed that most Thai restaurants provide chopsticks to their patrons. And while the Chinese did bring chopsticks to Thailand several centuries ago, today most Thais prefer to use Western cutlery-but in their own special way. Thai cutlery generally consists of a fork and large spoon (tablespoon). The spoon is held in the right hand and used (in place of a knife) to cut meat as well as to scoop up the food (in place of a fork).
When eating, most Americans load up their plates with various types of food, as at a buffet table. In contrast, the Thais do not combine various foods on their plates, but rather, they sample one dish at a time, always eaten with a mound of Thai jasmine-scented rice on the side. Unlike the Chinese style, bowls are used mainly for soup, not in place of a plate.

Finally, just for fun, encourage your family or guests to eat like the Thais do, sampling one dish at a time and eating with a spoon and fork. Most of all, take the time to enjoy your good health, your friends and loved ones, and last but not least, the wonderful Thai food on your plate. After all, good food truly is a reason to celebrate!

Michael Moran is the founder of CurrySimple Thai food products. With sauces made in Thailand, CurrySimple allows the average person the ability to cook a restaurant quality Thai meal at home. The concept evolved after spending years working in Thai restaurants while listening to his customer’s conversations about the difficulty and complexity of cooking Thai food. Now with the development of the sauces (the hard part in Thai cooking), enjoying the taste and health benefits of Thai food is easy.

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