Chopsticks – For Thai Food? Yes or No?

In this article we will answer the question, “should you use chopsticks for Thai food? Yes or no.” We will also take a look at exceptions when it comes to use of chopsticks, cultural implications and its origin. 

Should you use chopsticks for Thai food? Yes or No?

Whether to use chopsticks for Thai food depends on what type of Thai food is being eaten. Most Thai dishes don’t require the use of chopsticks and mostly fork and spoon is the essential part of the table for Thai’s. 

Yes, for Thai food that is chinese styled or includes noodles in the dish are eaten using chopsticks. Another important aspect of eating noodle dishes with chopsticks is that they have to be in a bowl. Any other dish served in a flat plate such as Pad Thai, Pad See Ew etc. has to be served with a fork. 

What are chopsticks?

Chopsticks are two long slender sticks commonly made of wood or metal that are tapered at the end. They are held between the thumb and the finger and are known to be the extensions of the hand. The word originated from the Chinese language and it means ‘quick ones’. 

Predominantly they are used in the East Asian region for the consumption of native cuisines. But with the growing popularity of East Asian food, chopsticks are widely used in conjunction with east aian cuisine around the world. 

Where did chopsticks originate from? 

The origin of chopsticks can be dated back to Shang Dynasty modern day China in 1600 BC. It is one of the oldest ruling  dynasties in china. In those days the main purpose of chopsticks was in cooking and to pick up small pieces of food in soup.

 They are mostly made of metal but wood was also used sometimes. These chopsticks were a lot thinner in comparison to the ones we use today. The luxurious forms of these were made from elephant trunks during the rule of Shang Dynasty. 

Can you ask for chopsticks at a Thai restaurant?

No, in most cases you should not ask for chopsticks at a Thai restaurant. However, it also depends on where you are eating. If it is an exclusive Thai eatery that does not serve any chinese style noodles, then they are most likely going with fork and spoon. 

In case you are in Thailand, then most of the restaurants will have spoon and fork only. It can sometimes be impolite to ask for chopsticks especially if you are not of east Asian ethnicity. 

It has also been observed that several East Asian restaurants around the world are often serving Thai food with chopsticks. However, that is not a purely Thai custom. 

Whether you should ask for chopsticks or not is a matter of where you are dining. However, traditionally, most Thai dishes don’t require chopsticks to be eaten. 

How is Thai food normally eaten?

How to eat Thai food mainly depends on the dishes and how they are served. Generally several of the thai dishes are eaten using a fork and spoon. Forks and spoons are often the essential items placed on the dining table in the restaurants. Moreover, Thai food is also eaten using hands. But it is not commonly preferred in a sophisticated setting or dining out. 

What are the exceptions of using Chopsticks for Thai food? 

The first exception of using Chopsticks for Thai food is that your restaurant is placing it with the food. This is especially common for the restaurants that are not located within the East Asian region. 

Another exception comes with the chinese style thai cuisine especially noodles and noodle soups. Such noodle based thai dishes that are served in a bowl can be eaten with chopsticks instead of a fork. 

What is a traditional Thai utensil for eating food? 

The traditional thai utensil for eating food in a thai culture has always been hand. However, this tradition has evolved overtime and fork and spoon replaced the use of the hand. Hands being in direct contact with food also had hygiene issues, especially while dining out. 

What are the cultural implications behind not using chopsticks? 

In 1800, the king of siam was exposed to European culture and many westerns were employed at the court. This began the use of spoon and fork in Thai culture. 

Traditional Thai household is not a nuclear unit, several family units reside and dine within the same building. Thus, the use of chopsticks to take out food from the same pot is not very convenient. Individual forks and spoons work the best in this scenario. 

Here are the top 10 traditional Thai foods for you to try. 


In this article we answered the question whether chopsticks are for Thai food? Yes or no. Wealso looked at exceptions when it comes to use of chopsticks, cultural implications and its origin. 


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.