What Is ‘American Share’ in Thailand And Why Do You Do It in a Restaurant?


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If you spend long enough in Thailand that you end up becoming friends with Thais, eventually you will probably hear the term ‘American share’. A term you probably will not be familiar with, although you will know the concept quite well.

‘American share’ in Thailand means exactly the same as ‘going Dutch’ or ‘Dutch treat’ in the US or Europe. The idea that, if you go out for dinner with a Thai, you will each pay for your own share of the meal.

Now, I have no idea where ‘American share’ comes from, and I laughed the first time I heard it, but you will eventually be asked if you mind doing it if you spend enough time with Thais.

For me, I’d been living in Thailand for a few months before I heard the term as usually, when I went out for dinner with Thais before that, we followed the typical Thai rule — the oldest person pays (and that was rarely me) or the one with the highest social standing (not me either).

Related: Who pays for a meal in Thailand? You? Your boss? Your friends?

Once I started hanging out with Thais my own age, though, and Thais that made the same amount of money as me or more, that’s when ‘American share’ came up. And, no, I didn’t mind.

In fact, I prefer going out for dinner and paying my own way when I’m with a group of Thai friends. So ‘American share’ it is.

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