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Thailand Vegetarian Food Festival

by Tom Armstrong

picture2256We’re a bit late reporting on this one but it’s still worth mentioning for those of you visiting Thailand this week and next (and in the weeks following too). From October 10th to October the 18th, Thailand has a nationwide vegetarian food festival. The Phuket Vegetarian Food Festival gets most of the publicity, with it’s iconic images of religious devotion and human mutilation (and some very fine grub!).

The Vegetarian Food Festival with coincides with the 9th Chinese calendar month, in which the local Thai people of Chinese ethnicity undertake a ten day vegetarian diet, abstaining from all forms of animal meats and by-products. Various merit-related rituals are performed at Chinese temples, as well as processions of ascetic devotees performing remarkable feats such as fire-walking and climbing ladders with knife-edge rungs.

phuket-veg-festHowever, few people outside Thailand realise that this is actually a nationwide festival, with special vegetarian dishes available from restaurants and street vendors across the country. Look out for the yellow flags hanging above street food stalls and shop-fronts – this flag symbolises the fact that special vegetarian dishes are on the menu. Many of the dishes will use soya and other bean-based products as imitation meats, whilst other places go for a full range of vegetable delights.

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