how to eat at a Tesco food court
On Nut BTS station, Bangkok, Thailand
how to eat at a Tesco food court Bangkok Reviews
May 29, 2006
Any Thai food court can be an intimidating experience for a beginner, but Tesco can be seriously daunting for even the well practiced diner. Here are the things that I wish someone could have told me, and eventually took a couple months to figure out:
1. You need a card!! Your money isn't good here!! Well, it is, but you have to fork over your baht to the cashier at the end ofthe food court before you do anything. Ordering your food without the card just means everyone behind you has to wait until you get one and come back. And your food gets cold. It's a bonus if you can read the Thai writing and therefore have advance knowledge of how much things cost, but I figure 100 baht is a safe way to go for the first time. Hand over your money, get a card, and a napkin. Hold onto that napkin, it's your only one.
2. Once you've narrowed your selection down from the eighteen million options to just one or two, try to stand in some semblance of a line until it's your turn. If that doesn't work, position yourself front and center and just start pointing at things.
3. Hand over your card and wait for the receipt, it will tell you how much baht you have left on your card. Grab a tray and carefully maneouver away from the counter, watching out for running kids, large handbags, and other people carrying trays of hot food not watching out for those things.
4. Bring your tray to one of severalsilverware stands, it has everything you need to eat your food. Take your chosen utensils and dip them in the pot of boiling water that appears to have a big sign that says "do not put your hand in here." Technically that is correct, try not to put your hand in the boiling water, but make sure you give your chopsticks a good couple seconds of swishing around before you leave.
5. Get a drink. There is usually a centrally located drinks station which serves, drumroll, only drinks. It streamlines the food ordering process but can create a backup when every single diner wants their Namthip with a straw. Usually there are several people there though and can get things processed quickly. Bonus points for Tesco: the only place in Thailand I've seen with fountain Diet Coke.
6. Find a table. Much, much easier said than done. If you are unlucky enough to come at a meal time (how silly of you to be hungry then of course) you can figure on at least a five minute wait. And not so much wait as walking through the aisles of seats at a speed relative to how much food you are carrying, looking for the telltale pile of somebody else's old food that hasn't been cleared up yet. Often you will triumphantly spy that sneaky table in the middle of the pack that you think others don't see, but when you arrive you will see that somebody has placed their shopping bag or purse on a chair to claim it. Apparently thekeeping of an empty table trumps the possible loss of one's valuables. Once you finally snag that table don't be surprised if a random person joins you at some point, something you could have done ten minutes earlier if you'd had the nerve.
7. When you've finished your culinary feast you can forget the "bus your own table" theory. Although it's hard to get used to at first, you have to leave your plates and tray on the table for one of many "attendants" (for lack of a better word) to come around. You'll be hard pressed to find a trash can even if you wanted to. Just make sure to keep your card in a handy spot, like the pocket of last week's work clothes, so you can forget it next time and have to get a new one.
Good luck and enjoy your meal!
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