When I first visited Thailand, I thought that Thai Boxing (Muay Thai) was the national sport. I was wrong. The national sport is eating! Once you’ve spent a bit of time in the country you soon realise how important food and dining is in Thai culture. Eating isn’t confined to certain times of the day, it’s an all day and night affair. There is no excuse for going hungry in Thailand. Food is cheap and available 24 hours a day from night markets, restaurants, hawker stalls and food-carts.
Eating is generally a very social affair in Thailand with Thai people seldom dining alone. The food can be very, very spicy and even if you like spicy food, it is prudent to wean your system gently by not overdosing on the som tam too early in your stay.
Thai food is eaten with a spoon and fork (if you’re right-handed, spoon in the right hand). It is the spoon that is placed into the mouth; the fork is used to push food on to the spoon. Chopsticks are only used for Chinese dishes or noodle soup which is eaten with a combination of spoon and chopsticks. Most Thai food is already cut into small pieces before serving or is made soft enough to cut with a spoon or fork and a knife isn’t required.