For the Thai people, eating is always a pleasure and is an important feature of everyday life. Lunch may be a quick bowl of noodle soup bought from one of the many street vendors, or it may be a meal eaten at home with the rest of the family. Whatever the meal, eating is always a time for enjoyment.
     At home, meals are generally shared and are based on rice (Khao). The Thai word "to eat" is actually Kin Khao (to eat rice). A bowl of rice is usually placed at the centre of the table surrounded by the other dishes and condiments. It is considered polite to begin the meal with a single spoonful of rice symbolizing the importance of the grain within the Thai culture and way of life.
     The host will serve himself or herself with rice first, before offering it to guests, It is important to only take small helpings of each dish. When the meal is over, food should always be left on the plate and in the serving dishes, to emphasize the generousity of the host.
     The in fluence of the Buddhist tradition can be seen in the Thai approach to meat. Thais do not believe that meat should be served in large portions. It is, therefore, always served in small amounts, usually cut in to bitesize pieces or shredded.
     Because meat is always chopped small before cooking, knives are redundant at a Thai table. Meals are usually eaten with a spoon and a fork. The fork is held in the left hand and is used to push food on to the spoon. The food is then conveyed to the mouth using the spoon; it is considered rude to put a fork in one's mouth. Chopsticks are only used when eating Chinese-style noodles. In the northern territories, sticky, glutinous rice is roled into balls and eaten with the right hand - they swear it tastes better. However, licking your fingers is considered impolite. Blowing your nose at the table is also considered very rude.

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