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Thai in Thailand


Eating Out

Prepared foods are readily available almost 24 hours a day. Vendors with stands are open at all hours and restaurants are also plentiful. Food purchased from vendors on the street or from stands in fresh food markets is considerably cheaper than restaurant food. A popular evening choice is the "morning market" open from around 6 p.m. until around 4 a.m.. Vendor stands surround a central area with tables and chairs. Diners go to the vendor of their choice and see the food prepared right in front of them. Diners then take the food to any free table to sit down and eat. Market chefs sometimes play a game with fried vegetables that are typically tossed into the air and caught back in the pan as part of the cooking process. The chef will allow a diner to try to catch the flying vegetables on a plate. A diner who catches the vegetables, gets them for free.

In all but the most elite restaurants, diners seat themselves. Sometimes menus are kept on the table;, other times it is necessary to request a menu. After the meal, pay the server directly. Tips are not necessary but still appreciated. When tipping, wait until the server gives back any change and departs, then leave coins on the table.

A typical Thai breakfast consists of boiled eggs and rice porridge. Noodles are the mainstay of the lunch menu. Dinner, the main meal of the day, usually consists of rice, curry with various meats and/or vegetables, and soups. Raw vegetables are not as common, except when served with a spicy sauce. People often have snacks in the afternoon or late evening. The "American breakfast" mentioned in the "Family Breakfast" video consists of rice fried with tomato sauce, raisins and green beans, separately fried portions of chicken, bacon, and sausage, a fried egg on top of the rice, and a plate decorated with lettuce and tomato.

Vegetarian food is not difficult to find. Once a year the whole country has a week-long Vegetarian Festival where many people eat vegetarian for the entire week. The object is to purify oneself after eating meat the rest of the year. Restaurants offering special vegetarian menus during this week will fly a yellow flag with a Chinese character written on it.


Videos

  • "A Family Breakfast"
    Transcript document:
  • "Thai Foods with Condiments"
    No transcript
  • "Making Thai Noodles"
    No transcript

Audio

Click on the text to hear the spoken phrase.
  • "May I have a menu?"
    (formal, female speaker)
    Follow this link to hear this phrase in Thai
  • "May I have a menu?"
    (formal, male speaker)
    Follow this link to hear this phrase in Thai
  • "May I have the check?"
    (formal, female speaker)
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  • "May I have the check?"
    (formal, male speaker)
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  • "Is it spicy?"
    (formal, female speaker)
    Follow this link to hear this phrase in Thai
  • "Is it spicy?"
    (formal, male speaker)
    Follow this link to hear this phrase in Thai