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Frustrations ordering in Thailand

Today I woke up like every other day and went to find something to eat. Not sure what or where as I'm still trying every place I can, my last adventure in Pattaya I didn't do this. I happened across this chicken and rice stand which looked OK so thought I'd try it out.

chicken and rice in Thailand

At least it tastes good

I ordered my food in Thai and got some blank stairs. This always makes me self conscious that my Thai is less than perfect (which it is) but especially when doing something as simple as chicken and rice you don't expect people to give you the blank stare like you're talking an alien language and if you really think about it the store only sells one thing, rice and chicken, so even if you said it in the worst Thai possible it's hard to comprehend how they could not understand you.

So I repeat my order in the most clear pronunciation of Thai that I can muster, this time they heard me but of course they reply in English that is obviously worse than my Thai and then the guy begins hand gestures like pointing to the box and lifting his finger and saying one. YES PLEASE.

This is not uncommon, in fact I get it all the time. Girls who come out with me often say to me "you speak perfect Thai, why don't they understand you?".

After waiting for around 15 minutes which is extremely long time for simple chicken and rice the guy hands it over to me and says 40 baht. Huh? The sign says 35 baht krup. Yeah but I gave you the special. I didn't order the special I say, if I wanted to special I would have asked for it I just wanted the regular, what I ordered. The guy get's all pissed at me and slams 5 baht into my hand and calls me cheap.

This is one of the most annoying things that I experience in Thailand. Ordering Food. The Thai's assume everything and don't listen. Actually this is typical of anywhere in the world but in Thailand they take the assumptions to a whole new level.

For example last month I went with a girl to have noodles, she orders something then I order small noodles with beef balls. Then it comes out and I get egg noodles with red pork. First I tell the server that it isn't mine but she comes back puts it on my table, I say no I didn't order this. Then the guy making the noodles (the guy I ordered with) comes over and says no this is correct, Farang like eating this and hands me a fork. I know I shouldn't get angry at this stuff but still I didn't get what I ordered and he gives me a fork like i'm a child, honestly you guys live in Thailand, ever seen anyone eat street side noodles with a fork?

Not getting what you ordered, being treated like a kid on a short bus, being abused verbally by stall owners is just some of the fun times you'll have in Thailand. No matter how well I speak Thai, how well I dress and no matter whom I'm with these same things happen over and over again, it's getting old.

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About Chris

Chris founded LivingThai.org in 2011 and has received over 3 million visitors. He has lived here for over 10 years and speaks reads and writes very good Thai.

10 Responses to Frustrations ordering in Thailand

  1. charlieboz March 28, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    They do this to thai ppl as well to be fair; I was in Chinatown on Monday with my gf and some friends and we where having dessert and she ordered something from the guy who just told her flat out that what she ordered is wrong and that he will give her something else ha ha

  2. Ryan March 28, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

    I often got the distinct feeling that my portion was smaller than my Thai gf’s! Or perhaps it was just typical human psychology: we always desire what others have…

    • Mamborobert March 29, 2013 at 2:46 am #

      When you write your “‘portion’ was smaller than my ‘Thai gf’s!’ Or perhaps it was just typical human psychology: we always desire what others have”……we’re still talking about food right?

      Nothing else with perhaps more Freudian than human psychology 🙂

  3. Andy March 29, 2013 at 2:31 am #

    all true plus most of the time portions in thailand are small
    sometimes i am not sure if its a starter or a main course

  4. gmp360 March 30, 2013 at 12:20 am #

    You should have sent the red pork back. You can’t encourage this type of behavior. Tell him “you know what Farang’s like? We like getting exactly what we ordered”.

  5. Thailand Rockstar April 1, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    There’s a small stall in Bangkok that I frequent because the food is really good (mix of Nepalese, Burmese & Thai) but the women takes it upon herself to decide what I’m eating half the time regardless of what I order. She understands me well enough when it comes to paying the bill or anything else so I’m not sure why she manages to fuck up the food bit so often…I suspect she likes to give me dishes that no many other people have ordered that day to get rid of them. When you try and explain to her you ordered a certain dish you get met with a blank stare and a shrug of the shoulders.

  6. Ebumby April 2, 2013 at 9:13 am #

    Seriously, 5 baht? I let em keep 100 baht.

    These people live in tin shacks and sleep on concrete floors.

    You are like royalty compare to them. I’m with the Thai.

    • Chris April 2, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

      What are you talking about, I’m not complaining about the 5 baht. Maybe I don’t want to eat much so why get a larger portion.

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