How to Order at a Restaurant
As you enter a restaurant, a waiter usually comes up to you quite quickly and asks “gee tee krap”. Basically he is asking how many seats. I think most of the time it is really obvious how many people are in your party but they always go through this routine. Today I just replied by saying “song tee” meaning a table for two persons. So, he took us to one with four settings. We sat down and he gave us each a menu. In the event that you seated yourselves, you can ask to see a menu by saying “kor doo meh-no”. They use the same word we do for menu, but you just have to learn to pronounce it differently. If the waiter stays with you, he might say “ja rap a-rai dee krap” meaning what would you like to order. (He might say “ja sung a-rai” instead). However, if he has walked away, attract his attention and say “sung aa-haan krap”.
I have my old favourites which I like eating when I go out. However, it is always nice to try something new. Try asking the waiter what the cook’s specials are by saying “mee aa-haan nae-nam a-rai baang krap” (or make it simpler by just saying “mee a-rai a-roi baang krap” ).
Before you order the food, they usually ask you want drinks you would like by saying "ja deum a-rai dee krap". Most restaurant have some beautiful “beer girls” with the names of the beer they are promoting across their blouses. The Tiger girl came up to us at this restaurant. I asked if there was any draught beer by saying “mee bia sot mai”. Actually, “sot” is a useful food term for you to remember. It means “fresh”. She looked disappointed because the only draught beer they had was Singha Beer (don’t forget to call it bia sing in Thai). As I have mentioned before, Thai people like putting ice in their beer. If you are like me and don’t like Hush Puppy Beer (and yes some Thai people do drink beer with a straw) then just tell them to leave out the ice by saying “mai aow naam kaeng”. Oh, as not everyone drinks beer, you have to tell them how many glasses.
The only thing left now was for us to order the rice. It won’t automatically come with your meal. There was only two of us so we decided to order two plates of plain rice by saying “kao bplao song jaan”. This cost 10 baht per plate. However, we could have ordered a big bowl for 40 baht. For this, we needed to say “kao bplao neung toh”. I think that was about all of the Thai I used with the waiter today. Oh yes, one more thing. I did ask for an empty plate for all the discarded pieces of food. Remember that plain rice was “kao bplao”? Well, a “plain” plate is then “jaan bplao”! So, just say “kor jaan bplao neung bai”. When we had finished this fine meal, I asked for the bill by saying “chek bin”.