Eating with your hands is not something that comes naturally to most westerners, but the best way to truly enjoy Southeast Asian food is by doing away with the forks and spoons and getting your hands dirty, literally. It is a common practice in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore to eat with your hands. It is thought that eating with your hands helps make the food taste better!
Here are seven easy steps to master the art to perfection.
Step One: Wash your hands thoroughly before digging into the plate.
Step Two: Use the four fingers on your right hand to scoop up the food, hold the food on your fingers and not on your palm, then softly push it into your mouth using your thumb. It’s quite simple and it’s not necessarily messy as long as you don’t scoop up too much.
Step Three: Don’t open your mouth too much or too little. It’s not rocket science – take a small-sized portions in your hand and open your mouth just enough to make sure it doesn’t leave a mess on the rest of your face.
Step Four: Mix the gravy and the rice together. The gravy ensures the rice holds together and doesn’t fall apart as you’re taking it to your mouth.
Step Five: Dig into that piece of meat by tearing off a small piece using just your right hand. Avoid using your left while eating, it’s considered rude and frowned upon in some cultures. If the meat doesn’t break easily, feel free to hold the entire piece at your mouth and tear into it using your teeth.
Step Six: Keep your beverage close to your left hand. Just like using your left hand to eat is considered rude, using your right hand to hold a glass of water is frowned upon.
Step Seven: If you ever find yourself eating a meal that involves some sort of flat, flexible bread, like roti or naan, use this bread as a spoon. Tear tiny, bit-sized pieces of the bread and allow it to soak up the gravy before relishing it.
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