Forks, Spoons, and Vacation!!!!!

Forks, & spoons, or, chopsticks, or hands or Why do we tell you to get utensils of your choice over next to the water station after you order?–
As you know, or if you are new to Little Uncle, we have discovered that there are absolutely no rules in Thai cuisine. Please throw that authenticity concept out the window. Cooks in Thailand and the world around are welcome to create the best food by using the best ingredients available.
However, we have come to the realization that some aspects of Thai cuisine are tried and true. There is no reason to deviate from the occasional norm one uses to prepare and eat a meal, like using a mortar and pestle to pound out some chilies and garlic. After all, Thai cuisine is a cuisine of assimilation and time and time again, one can see the most flavorful aspects of a foreign cuisine echoed in Thai cuisine.
The assimilation of foreignness does not stop with the preparation of meals, but also with how meals are eaten. In fact, utensils that we consider foreign to Thai culture have also been assimilated into the Thai meal. Many will be surprised to hear that the fork and spoon are a very common utensil at Thai meals. Certainly chopsticks and hands are also used at Thai meals. So when do you use forks and spoons, chopsticks and hands?

Here’s the deal:
Fork and Spoon

You use a fork and spoon for rice dishes, like curry and rice, soup and rice and fried rice. If you think about it, it actually makes sense. Eating fried rice is next to impossible with chopsticks, unless, of course, you put that plate right up to your mouth and shovel it in with the chopsticks (a noble and flattering gesture in my opinion). If you are eating a rice dish, put the spoon in your dominant hand and the fork in your less dominant hand. With your spoon, simply pick up some curry, soup or other goodness, bring it down to the rice, push a little rice onto the spoon with your fork and stick the spoon in your mouth. It is that easy and before too long you will find yourself at Canlis requesting a bigger spoon for your vermouth prawns. Why do Thai folk do this? A king some years back visited Europe and discovered the ease at which food can be eaten with a spoon and fork and declared upon his return to the kingdom that this was the best way to eat rice.
You use chopsticks for most noodle dishes, like Chinese influenced noodle soups. As the Chinese have discovered, eating noodles is easiest with chopsticks. It is easier to grab onto those slippery noodles with two sticks squeezing together rather than fishing around a bowl with a fork. Also note, a spoon is also necessary when eating a noodle soup, how else would one get all the intense goodness at the bottom of a bowl.
You use your hands when you are eating dishes traditionally served with sticky rice, like papaya salad, laarb, grilled chicken, fried chicken and jerky. Eating with hands was common practice until the above king brought back the spoon and fork concept, but even today the logic persists with sticky rice dishes. Eating sticky rice with a spoon and fork is about as painful as eating a Rice Crispy treat with a spoon and fork. The tried and true method of using your hands is to pull a wad of sticky rice off the main rice ball, flatten the rice with your thumb and finger, pinch the rice around some papaya salad, letting some of the papaya salad juice soak in and place it in your mouth. This method is way more awesome than using a fork and spoon.
Why am I running on with this seminar on etiquette?

The first year we were open in Pioneer Square, we were happy to be allowed to offer our loyal guests seats in a warm environment. Our extremely well trained staff would bring appropriate (by the Thai standards stated above) utensils for the dishes ordered. Often, customers would be perplexed by us offering them a fork and spoon when we give them their rice dish and then they would request chopsticks. And then, we would give people chopsticks with their noodle dish and, by no fault of their own, ask for a fork because they never learned how to use chopsticks. And then we would not give them anything if they received a sticky rice dish, because they were suppose to use their hands. Well, needless to say, it all became very confusing and by the end of a meal we discovered that a table of four could have a giant pile of unused utensils sitting in the middle of their table. So, that is why we ask you to get the utensils of your desire up next to the water station.
The Madison location on Capital Hill will be closed from January 3rd!!!!!
The Pioneer Square location will be closed from January 9th – January 30th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Both locations will be closed for a vacation at the latter end of January. We are taking a trip to Thailand to recharge and get inspired by the amazing cuisine found there. We are fortunate enough to be able to bring along a few of our staff. Look at our facebook posts to see what is inspiring us!
We thank you for your patronage,
-Little Uncle


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