How to politely decline food you have been offered? Sometimes it is really difficult to say no, or maybe from a Thai perspective we are not exactly naysayers. It can come out less than friendly when you say “ไม่ชอบกิน//mâi chôrb kin” or “I don’t like to eat this”.
One easy way to try is to say:
กินไม่เป็น//kin mâi pen.
This simply means “I don’t know how to eat”. While this is technically incorrect (as I would assume everyone KNOWS how to eat), this phrase has another meaning in Thai. And that is, “I am not used to eating this” or “I don’t feel like eating this”. But be careful, the response to this phrase could be “อยากลองมั้ย//yàhk lorng mái” or “Do you want to give it a try?”.
Credit pic: here
Many years ago, my aunt quit eating chicken for fear of gout, but I didn’t know that. One day, I offered her some fried chicken, and guess what, she told me “ป้ากินไม่เป็น//Pâh kin mâi pen” or “I don’t know how to eat this”. I, being annoying at times, couldn’t stop myself from saying
“ทำไมกินไม่เป็นคะ กินง่ายนิดเดียว แค่อ้าปาก เอาไก่ใส่ปาก แล้วก็เคี้ยวๆ แค่นั้นเอง//Tham mai kin mâi pen khá, kin ngaâi níd diao, khâe âh pàak, ao kài sài pàak, láew kôr khiáao khiáao, khâe nán eng”
I forgot what happened next, but I don’t think I got scolded for that.