Do They Use Chopsticks In Thailand?

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Travelers often find themselves wondering if Thailand follows its Asian neighbors when it comes to utensil utilization. Do people living in Thailand use chopsticks, or is that just another stereotype with no foundation? We aim to answer this question and expand on how Taiwanese people consume food.

Technically, yes, they do use chopsticks in Thailand, but the use of chopsticks is limited to a select few dishes, mainly Chinese-style noodle soup. Thai people prefer forks and spoons over chopsticks as these utensils are more convenient when eating Thai food.

Related: What Do They Eat For Breakfast In Thailand?

Do They Use Chopsticks In Thailand?

Identifying who “they” are is crucial when we ask questions like these. Are “they” locals who were born and raised in Thailand? Are “they” tourists who visit the country maybe once or twice in their lifetime? Are “they” referring to all Asian people living in Thailand? These distinctions will help us answer the question.

When we speak about native Thai people living in Thailand, the answer is no. They don’t prefer to use chopsticks, as they find using chopsticks makes eating traditional Thai food such as Pad Thai more complicated than it needs to be. Taiwanese people prefer to use forks and spoons over chopsticks.

When we speak about foreign travelers who visit Thailand and people who’ve immigrated to Thailand, the answer is yes; they use chopsticks in Thailand. Foreigners often bring their customs, habits, and expectations with them when traveling to different countries.

Is It Traditional To Use Chopsticks In Thailand?

It is not traditional to use chopsticks in Thailand. If you want to embrace Thai tradition fully, you should speak to some locals and see which dishes can be eaten with your hands, also known as perb-kaao. This tradition dates back hundreds, if not thousands of years.

The use of utensils as we know them, i.e., spoons, forks, etc., only became a regular thing after the Siamese elite started using them around the reign of king Rama the 3rd, somewhere between 1788 and 1851. The use of utensils was important when “upper-class people” hosted key foreign figures in their homes.

What Utensils Do They Use In Thailand?

The “right way” to eat Thai food, especially in Thailand, is to utilize a spoon and a fork. Travelers are used to using spoons to scoop up soups and other foods and forks to hold food down while cutting it with a knife in their dominant hand.

In Thailand, utilizing utensils during a meal works slightly differently. Travelers will find it awkward initially to use their dominant hand to hold their spoons and their other hand to hold their forks. They will then utilize forks to push food onto their spoons, and only then will they use their spoons to lift their food into their mouths.

Bizarre as it may seem, this is the way Thai people have been using utensils for a very long time. Many dishes and meals have been made to accommodate this eating style.

Is Asking For Chopsticks At A Thai Restaurant Rude?

While Thai people won’t usually ask for chopsticks, it is fine if you do so and isn’t considered rude. Thais are pretty forgiving regarding ‘proper’ etiquette especially when it comes to foreigners.

Normally, only Chinese-style noodles are eaten with chopsticks in Thailand. Dishes that utilize chopsticks include Pad Thai, Rad Na, Pad See Ew, Pad Kee Mao, and other noodle-based dishes.

The general rule of thumb is to use a spoon and fork if noodles are served on a flat plate. If noodles are served in a bowl with soup, use a pair of chopsticks.

Is It Rude To Slurp In Thailand?

Yes, slurping while eating in Thailand is considered rude. Unlike other Asian countries where slurping is a sign of enjoyment, Thai people find slurping to be a disgusting habit that only foreigners seem to have. If travelers start slurping in a public restaurant, they will receive disappointing stares or be asked explicitly to stop slurping.

Tourists looking to show their appreciation for their meal’s taste can instead tell the server to compliment the chef or speak to the owner or manager of the restaurant and ask them to pass on their thanks when the chef isn’t busy.

Thai people enjoy having peaceful meals and quiet conversations with friends and family while sharing some food. Noisy and obnoxious people will not be viewed in a favorable light and should change their habits to be more considerate of the local people.

Is It Rude To Finish Your Plate In Thailand?

It isn’t rude to finish your plate in Thailand. It is also considered acceptable not to eat all the food on your plate. Thai people think of meal times as an event, a time to catch up with friends and family, and a time to relax and, thus, eat slower than what most travelers are used to.

Instead of letting food go to waste that tourists stack on their plates, it is recommended that travelers only dish up a small amount of food at a time. It isn’t considered rude to go back for another round, thirds, or even fourths.

Rather be safe than risk offending one of your dinner companions. Eat a little bit, then go back and get more food, but stop once you are full. Thank your host, and always clean up after yourself. Keeping these things in mind will make you the perfect guest.

Is Tipping Rude In Thailand?

Tipping isn’t considered rude in Thailand, nor is it considered mandatory. Tipping is an excellent way for people to show gratitude toward those who’ve served them.

With tipping being almost a side thought for many Thai, the amount left as a tip can vary wildly. From loose change left alongside the bill to as much as 10% of the total amount. Tipping is entirely up to the individual and if they feel like it.

What Time Do Thai People Eat Dinner?

Thai people have primarily adopted a western eating schedule that includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast is usually eaten around 6:30 am and 7:30 am. Breakfast usually consists of rice soup, a pouched egg, and some hot beverages.

Lunch is usually between noon and 1:00 pm and consists of quick meals, snacks, takeaways, or some noodles or stir-fry.

Dinner is typically served around 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm and is viewed as the day’s main meal. Dinner typically includes meat or fish, rice, and other soups or stir-fries.

Top 7 Most Popular Thai Foods

Now that we have established how people living in Thailand use chopsticks. Let’s look at some of the most trendy Thai foods travelers might encounter while traveling in Thailand.

Pad Phuk Tong

Pad Phuk Ton is essentially stir-fried pumpkin served with brown rice. This dish is the most vegetarian-friendly meal on offer in Thailand.


Panang is Thailand’s answer to Indian Curry. Typically served with shrimp and rice, Panang is a dish that perfectly blends various herbs and spices, a delicacy every traveler should have at least once while visiting Thailand.

Khao Soi

This northern Thai dish is a Burmese-inspired noodle soup made with coconut, blended with various curry spices, and served with either chicken, beef, pork, or vegetables. To add an extra layer of flavor, boiled egg noodles and shallots are added to the soup.

Kai Jeow

A great breakfast choice, this quick-to-make protein-rich meal is ideal for anyone looking to have a balanced breakfast. Kei Jeow is served with rice and sweet chili sauce.

Kai Med Ma Muang

Kai Med Ma Muang is a delectable dish that consists of stir-fried chicken and cashew nuts mixed with soy sauce, chilies, pepper, onions, and mushrooms. Kai Med Ma Muang is an excellent introduction for travelers exploring how hot Thai food can get.