Bangkok Chinatown Yaowarat turned into a carnival town
01.10.2016 - 01.10.2016 36 °C
China Gate at Yaowarat is the best starting point to explore Bangkok's Chinatown and sample some best vegetarian food during Nine Emperor Gods Festival
Kuan Yim shrine near China Gate
Vegetarian Festival or "Tetsagarn Gin Jae" in Thai is one of the many festivals celebrated by the Chinese people over the world in particular in South East Asia such as Malaysia and Singapore. Vegetarian Festival is also known as the Nine Emperor Gods Festival, which is a nine days celebration to honour the 9 sons of the Emperor and his wife who were the keepers of human's life and death.You may be surprised and overwhelmed on how such festival which is originated from the Chinese community was being celebrated in Thailand in such a grand way to the extent that you would see almost everywhere from street food shops, restaurants, food courts, shopping malls, supermarket, convenience store and food stalls all would have in certain ways presented themselves in promoting Vegetarian Festival. The most notable sign of how these establishments embrace the Vegetarian Festival would be the ever striking yellow coloured paper flag in triangle shape with the character in red known ans "Jae" or vegetarian being displayed almost each nooks and corners of the premises which have food items related to the Vegetarian Festival. Of course, ordinary or laymen folks will know very well that vegetarian means food that were prepared 101% without meat, which means during this festival, those who observed Vegetarian Festival will abstain from meat. In Thailand, Thais who take very seriously on Vegetarian Festival will observed no meat diet for 10 days of which this is the period which also known as 9 Emperor Gods Festival. In Thailand, Phuket province who has a large Thai Chinese community celebrated Vegetarian Festival in an outstanding, outrageously grand way. You would see how those known as "ma song" in special costumes performed the bizarre acts of using various sharp weapons pierced through several of their body parts in particular the mouth while going through a procession without the fear of pains or being hurt from such acts. To be a " ma song", those who involved in the bizarre piercing acts will have to abstain from meat, drinking , gambling and sex before they could obtained such extraordinary super power. In Bangkok, Vegetarian Festival was celebrated in a slightly different manner and much less complicated than its Phuket peers. The most well known area which one could observed the Vegetarian Festival in Bangkok is Yaowarat, Bangkok's one and only Chinatown best known all over the world. As has been mentioned, Vegetarian Festival can be seen all over the places even in Bangkok not distinctively in Yaowarat. But if you would like to get a taste or experience the splendid atmosphere of the Vegetarian Festival, Yaowarat is the best place to have a good feel of the festival atmosphere. I have a first hand experience to get myself indulged in such a distinguished festivity which also turned out to be a very magnificent food carnival. Previous year, I had in some way get to know how Vegetarian Festival was being observed by Thais where in shopping malls, special purpose vegetarian food stalls were set up complete with tables and chairs in the concourse area of the malls in Bangkok in conjunction with the Vegetarian Festival for the people's convenience to dine after purchasing their food items.
Yaowarat Road was full of yellow banners in ushering the celebrations of one of the most important festival in Thailand, The Vegetarian Festival
Enjoy some desserts and Thai ice cream while touring vegetarian food stalls in Yaowarat
This signage "Jae" (Vegetarian) is the most visible everywhere in Thailand during the Vegetarian Festival including stickers placed on food items, mini paper flags, labels and banners
Huge vegetarian food items on sale in Yaowarat during the Vegetarian Festival
The vegetarian food stalls and other related items on sale in Yaowarat
Before the start of Vegetarian Festival, I had the opportunity to dine at the second tallest building in Thailand located in the heart of downtown Bangkok at Baiyoke Tower II. One of my best experience observing a city on bird's eye view was Taipei 101, which was the most memorable life episode that will be remembered for as long as I could. As for Baiyoke Tower II, it was yet another eye opening life event that provide another spectacular experience with the nice overall general view of Bangkok city. The outdoor observatory deck which moves at a 360 degrees, provide one with the most marvellous Bangkok city view from the 84th floor of Baiyoke Tower II.
Bangkok's metropolitan city view from 84th Floor of Baiyoke II Tower's Outdoor Observatory Deck
Yaowarat was turned into a carnival town during the Vegetarian Festival with many stalls being set up along the streets in the Chinatown to celebrate the festival. All kinds of vegetarian food were on sale on the tiny food stalls which include Thai food such as "som tum" (papaya salad), "pad thai" (stir fried noodles), "kanom jeen" (rice noodles with curries) and other various Chinese influenced food such as "dim sum" such as "xiao mai" (shrimp dumpling), "bak chang" (pork dumpling, cakes, desserts, sweets all of which none were meat based. These were prepared based on non-meat ingredients which turned out exactly as its original outlook. The hot and humid weather never deter the visitors from strolling along the streets in Yaowarat to get a taste of so many choices of vegetarian varieties which can be tasty and flavourful. One of the best thing to do in Yaowarat after a long and hot, sweaty day of walk is to indulge in some sweet desserts and Chinese herbal tea which are well known and famous among the locals. Along the streets during this Vegetarian festival celebration, other than the many tiny vegetarian food stalls dotting the side of the road shoulder, banners in yellow colour could also be seen being placed on top of the road in Yaowarat which further adds to the festivity atmosphere of Vegetarian Festival in Bangkok.
Visitors to Yaowarat were spoilt with many choices of vegetarian food during the recent Vegetarian Festival