A Closer Look at Eating Utensils from Around the World

Did you know that many places around the world have different eating utensils than we are used to here in the Western world? Most of the times, we are using forks and knives and cut our food and put it in our mouths. However, this is not the norm around the world. If you look at places in Africa and India, it’s customary to use your hands to eat food. No matter where you’re going in the world, it’s really important for you to understand what is customary when it comes to eating utensils in order for you to be prepared for when you arrive in a new country. Keep reading down below and we’re going to chat about some of the most common eating utensils in parts of the world that you should know about.

1. India

The first area of the world that we’re going to look into is India, where it’s customary that you use your hands in order to eat food. It’s only the right hand that’s used when eating as the left hand is used for cleaning. That means the left hand is considered dirty by many people in India and should not be used for eating. You are going to be mixing curries with rice most of the time and then scooping that into your mouth. It’s also normal to use some sort of flat bread in order to scoop up the rice and curry mixture.

2. Thailand

The next area of the world that we’re going to take a look at is Thailand, where it’s customary to use the fork and the spoon to eat food. They wouldn’t be caught using a knife in Thailand, which you can find out about when you see this site. However, when you are eating soup, you are going to be using chopsticks and a soup spoon that’s customary in many Asian societies. It’s a bit different than using a fork and spoon in Western places, though. The spoon is used to shovel food into your mouth and the fork is used to cut up pieces of the food in preparation for the spoon.

3. USA

Of course, when you’re in the US, you’re going to be using a fork, knife, and spoon in order to eat your food. The fork is normally held in the left hand, while the knife is used in the right to cut up food. However, this even differentiates based on which part of the US you find yourself in. Sometimes it’s normal for people in the southern states of the US to just use a fork to cut up their food before picking it up with the same fork in the same hand.

4. Cambodia & Laos

Next up, we’re going to chat a bit about Cambodia and Laos, which is similar to Thailand in that they use the spoon and the fork, as well as a special soup spoon and chopsticks when eating soup. There is one difference however between these two countries and Thailand. There is usually a small cup of boiling water placed at the table with the cutlery. This is usually used in order to sterilize the cutlery before they are used to cut up and eat food. Probably a good idea!

And there you have it, folks! These are some of the most common ways that food utensils or the lack thereof are used around the world. Which ones were you aware of and which are pretty new to you? If you weren’t aware of these traditions and are going to any of these countries, make sure that you become aware of this before you head over so you’re not super surprised when you’re supposed to start eating with your hands!

Photo by ankitasiddiqui, CC0 1.0