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Farang (in Thai: ฝรั่ง), sometimes pronounced falang, is the generic Thai word for a white foreigner. While generally farang is a neutral word, it can be used in a mocking manner or even as an insult depending on context. For instance, the expression "farang ta nam khao" (in Thai: ฝรั่งตาน้ำข้าว, which literally means farang with rice-milk-colored iris) would be considered an insult. Blacks will be occasionally referred to as farang dam (black farang, in Thai: ฝรั่งดำ).


Farang and Food


Farang is also the Thai word for the guava fruit, which of course can lead to "farang eating farang" (ฝรั่งกินฝรั่ง) jokes from Thai people when foreigners are seen eating a guava in Thailand. Stingy or unruly foreigners can therefore also be referred to as kee nok (bird shit, in Thai: ขี้นก), which is the name of a particular variety of guava. Varieties of food/produce which were introduced by Europeans are often called 'farang' varieties. Hence, potatoes are man farang (in Thai: มันฝรั่ง), whereas man (มัน) alone can be any variety tuber; parsley is called phak chii farang (ผักชีฝรั่ง, literally farang cilantro); and chewing gum is maak farang (หมากฝรั่ง). Maak (หมาก) is Thai for betel, which many rural Thais chew for the euphoria it gives. When chewing gum was introduced, it was thus labeled farang betel, maak farang.


In the Isan language, the guava is called mak seeda, which can thus also be used to refer to a farang.


Literature and Films


The novels by Christopher G. Moore describe the world of Bangkok from the perspective of a farang living there.


Jordan Clark's 2005 documentary Falang: Behind Bangkok's Smile takes a rather critical view of sex tourism in Thailand.


Origins and Related Words


One theory of the word's origin derives it from farangset, the Thai pronunciation of fran

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