Eating a Thai Meal
The following description of a Thai mealtime was written
in the 1850’s by Monsignor Jean-Batiste Allegoric:
The Thai take all their meals seated on a mat or carpet.
The dishes are enclosed in great bronze vases with a lid
in a conical shape and adorned with red cloth. The
dishes are cut in small pieces and the rice is placed aside and to the right in a great,
widening bowl. On the left side, there is a basin with
water in which floats another small basin to drink. The
diners have neither spoons, nor forks, nor knives. They
only use a mother-of-pearl spoon to take from the
plates. For all the rest, fingers are sufficient for
them. Only when they are satisfied do they drink pure
water or a cup of tea. Drinking from the same bowl or
cup is not shocking to them. Among the rich people, the
husband usually eats before his wife who serves him at
the table. The Princes and the King are only different
from their subjects by the richness of the cutlery and
the variety of dishes.
The dining hour is, so to speak, sacred for the Thai.
One never bothers somebody who is eating; even masters
themselves watch out not to interrupt the meal of their
slaves. The time of a meal is also a time for silence.
Even if one is with ten or twenty people to eat
together, one barely hears a few words escape one or the
other, so deeply engrossed are they in their business!
Thus, their meals take only about a quarter of an hour.
One must also remark that they never drink before or
during a meal, only afterwards.
Adaptation of Thai Food
The basic methods and ingredients of cooking Thai food
have proven highly versatile and can be used in many of
the world’s noted cuisine. Some restaurants have
adjusted recipes to conform to the strict dietary rules
of Jewish and Muslim cuisine. Many Thai dishes can be
made strictly vegetarians. Western chefs have also
incorporated Thai flavors into their own classic dishes
to create a type of fusion-food that has proven popular
the world over.
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