A Travellerspoint blog

October 2016

Vegetarian Festival in Bangkok

Bangkok Chinatown Yaowarat turned into a carnival town

semi-overcast 36 °C

IMG_0216

IMG_0216


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
IMG_0226

IMG_0226


Kuan Yim shrine near China Gate
IMG_0232

IMG_0232

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
IMG_0218

IMG_0218


IMG_0219

IMG_0219


IMG_0229

IMG_0229

Enjoy some desserts and Thai ice cream while touring vegetarian food stalls in Yaowarat
IMG_0255

IMG_0255


IMG_0256

IMG_0256


IMG_0259

IMG_0259


IMG_0268

IMG_0268


IMG_0273

IMG_0273

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
IMG_0265

IMG_0265

Huge vegetarian food items on sale in Yaowarat during the Vegetarian Festival
IMG_0230

IMG_0230


IMG_0234

IMG_0234


IMG_0235

IMG_0235


IMG_0223

IMG_0223


IMG_0240

IMG_0240

The vegetarian food stalls and other related items on sale in Yaowarat
IMG_0283

IMG_0283


IMG_0286

IMG_0286


IMG_0287

IMG_0287

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
IMG_0192

IMG_0192

IMG_0190

IMG_0190


IMG_0187

IMG_0187


IMG_0184

IMG_0184


IMG_0183

IMG_0183

IMG_0180

IMG_0180

IMG_0179

IMG_0179


IMG_0177

IMG_0177


IMG_0201

IMG_0201

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
IMG_0281

IMG_0281


IMG_0292

IMG_0292


IMG_0262

IMG_0262


IMG_0278

IMG_0278


IMG_0274

IMG_0274


IMG_0245

IMG_0245


IMG_0251

IMG_0251


IMG_0250

IMG_0250


IMG_0248

IMG_0248

Posted by kidd27 07:35 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Thai Food (Part 2)

semi-overcast 36 °C

Food is essential when you are on the go while travelling because adequate food provide the energy required to explore places. Food also adds the spice in travelling itinerary due to the new and exciting experience in trying different food that are unique and synonym to the place visited. Thailand is a country full of activities that could accommodate to each travellers demand such as shopping, adventures, culture experience, nature indulgence, beach vacations as well food indulgence. My previous blog touched on some of the delicious, mouth watering and flavourful Thai food and here, I would like to continue with some of other nice or well known Thai food which is not only simple and comforting but also easy on the pocket. Thai food is always thick in action, which usually have strong flavour in each of the food variety and these actually made Thai food special because of the rich taste in its food. It can be very spicy, sour, creamy, sweet, crunchy and salty. I believe that Thai food is best consumed authentically while travelling in Thailand because this give the sense of pureness in flavour, taste and variety. There were so many food in Thailand that available everywhere from the streets to shops to food court to restaurant all over Thailand. Of course there are some places that is special for certain food and worth visiting upon recommendations, advertisements and sharing through social medias but most importantly, any Thai food is available and accessible to without much problem depending on what kind of food you want to eat.

[u][b]1.Tom yum
Some of the very famous and outstanding Thai food around the globe which needs no further introduction is the Tom yum. Tom yum is a spicy and sour soup based dish that comes in 2 variety of flavour, the milky red soup and the clear broth style of preparation. The milky red tom yum was due to added coconut milk or a more healthy choice being the fresh milk while the clear broth tom yum was without the added coconut milk or fresh milk. Some of the most important tom yum broth include the lime leaves, lemon grass and galangal as well as lime juice, tomatoes and tamarind juice. Tom yum can either be added with various other add-ons including prawns (tom yum goong), fish (tom yum pla), chicken (tom yum gai) or seafood (tom yum talay). Its not hard to find tom yum on the streets in Thailand and best eaten with plate of steamed rice.

The milky red fish tom yum
IMG_0146

IMG_0146

IMG_0149

IMG_0149

IMG_0150

IMG_0150

[u][b]2. Guay teaw ruea (Boat noodles)
Boat noodle was never known so widely as a Thai food not until recent years though this is traditional noodle dish that dates back to where canals and rivers were the most important transportation mode during the old Siam period. As you would have read it, the word boat originated from the time when such noodles were served on wooden sampan while passengers travelling through the boat on canals and rivers to work and running errands. This noodle dish has somehow evolved into a new dimension which has transformed into a hit among the Thais as well as tourists. Its thick dark brown broth is not only addictive but packed with rich, tasty and mouthwatering flavour that will definitely caused those who love this noodle dish to asked for more. The broth plays the most pivotal role in why one craves the noodle for more due to its unexplained addictive flavour. It wouldn't be enough without finishing off the broth and dig into the few more boat noodles after the first one. One of the most common sights in a boat noodle establishment is where you would sight the small bowls being stacked up after one another when a bowl of noodles being finished off, which made the boat noodle shop distinctively interesting. No longer served from boats on canals or rivers, the boat noodle now is available from common food joints on the streets and in Bangkok, the most well known place to have boat noodles is over at Victory Monument, one of the few transportation hubs in Bangkok. There are variety of noodles choices including glass noodle, rice noodle, yellow noodle and flat noodles. Also served along with boat noodles that comes with variety of noodle styles, include the "kanom tuay" (coconut pudding served on a tiny bowls that come on a doubles, deep fry chicken wings, deep fry pig skin, deep fry wanton skin, grilled fish, pork or chicken balls sprinkled with sweet Thai chilli sauce and the cut swamp cabbage. One of the interesting and essentials in a boat noodle shop is the stainless steel tiny cups filled up with broken ice which is added with drinking water to gush it down the throat after a satisfying boat noodle meal.

Variety of boat noodles
IMG_0208

IMG_0208


IMG_0209

IMG_0209


IMG_0211

IMG_0211

IMG_0213

IMG_0213


The broth of boat noodle made this noodle dish distinctively special and makes you crave for more

IMG_0212

IMG_0212


Boat noodles will not be complete without these add-on of grilled stick of meatballs and deep fry chicken wing

IMG_0204

IMG_0204


And deep fry pork skin to be added into the noodles

IMG_0205

IMG_0205


A stainless steel cup with broken ice to be added with drinking water is an icon in boat noodle shop

IMG_0214

IMG_0214


Bowls being stacked up after a great boat noodle meal

IMG_0215

IMG_0215


Hardworking workers on the job preparing delicious boat noodles

[u][b]3. Pad Thai (stir fry noodles)
Pad thai is yet another noodle dish which has gained much popularity among tourists well before boat noodles gained its foothold among foreign food lovers. Over in backpackers hub of Bangkok of Khao San Road, pad thai mobile cart vendors can be seen having good business serving backpackers pad thai which is not only easy on the wallet but also able to fill up the stomach just enough to cater for dinner of the day. The usual sights of pad thai vendors or shops preparing the dish include the essential wok being hit up over large fire with rice noodles stir fried over it with dark soy sauce added with other variety of add-ons including bean sprouts, tiny bean curds, crushed peanuts, eggs and fresh prawns. It is best eaten straight out super hot from the wok.

IMG_0153

IMG_0153


IMG_0152

IMG_0152

[u][b]4. Kanom jeen (Rice noodles with curries)
Kanom jeen is a rice noodle dish that is eaten with varieties of curries including the green curry or massaman curry or som tum (papaya salad) or any choices of food items. The rice noodles usually packed into a mid-sized disposable bowls and wrap with plastic sandwich wrap available widely on the streets, fresh market or food joints in Thailand. This noodle dish has similarity with the curry noodles but what makes kanom jeen different is that the noodle need not be boiled over the hot water and does not served on a bowl full of curry broth. Basically, the rice noodle is placed on a plate and the curries then being doused over the noodle just enough for the portion of noodles to be eaten. It can also be eaten with other food items such as som tum, grilled fish, meat or vegetables and add it with chilly or any other sauces.

Kanon jeen rice noodle
IMG_0156

IMG_0156


IMG_0157

IMG_0157

Green curry
IMG_0154

IMG_0154

Kanom jeen with green curry
IMG_0160

IMG_0160

[u][b]5. Gaeng keaw wan (Green curry)
Green curry is a type of curry that was prepared from the green chilli pounded with galangal, shallots, garlic, lemon grass, lime peel, red corriander, cumin seeds, salt and shrimp paste. It can be served with several alternative which include chicken, fish, prawn or other meat choices. It can either be paired with steamed rice or kanom jeen (rice noodle)

IMG_0155

IMG_0155

[u][b]6. Khao kha moo (Rice with pork knuckle)
This is another widely available street food in Thailand and is popular among the Thais. This rice dish is served with steam rice added with the stew pork knuckle prepared from variety of herbs and spices. It usually comes with it a braised hard boiled egg cut into 2, which is also boiled over with selected herbs and spices and chopped pickled mustard green or other vegetable alternative. A simple one platter that is not only tasty but is also healthy.

IMG_0296

IMG_0296


IMG_0295

IMG_0295

[u][b]7. Look chin (variety of grilled meatballs skewers)
If you crave for a snack while walking through the streets in Thailand, get yourself few skewers of grilled meatballs which is delicious, convenient and inexpensive. Pair it up with a cup of hot or cold Thai coffee or milk tea from the street vendor. One of the interesting street food experience in Thailand and you may turned out to like it after trying it.

IMG_0249

IMG_0249


IMG_0298

IMG_0298


IMG_0297

IMG_0297

[u][b]8. Khao neaw gai yang (Grilled chicken with sticky rice)
This is a version of Thai food from the North east of Thailand or Isan region and has close link to its neighbour Laos. In Thailand, grilled chicken is available almost everywhere in the streets and best eaten with the sticky rice. This is one of the distinguished dish among the Thais and Lao and a symbol of how Thais and Lao people having close bond among each other. The grilled chicken meat are tender and juicy with great flavour and pairing it with sticky rice adds into an altogether meat eating experience that is so distinctive.

IMG_0299

IMG_0299


IMG_0300

IMG_0300

Posted by kidd27 09:18 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 2 of 2) Page [1]