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Food Scene

Phuket Vegetarian Festival program 2018

The Thaiger



Phuket Vegetarian Festival program 2018 | The Thaiger

The annual Vegetarian Festival is back and promises to be a big year for the annual nine day celebrations starting next Monday.

Some of the rituals are based around self-mutilation and daring acts of fire walking. A lot of the processions and ceremonies can be quite scary, especially for the young or squeamish. There will be lots of noise, lots of people and people going into trances before undergoing different levels of voluntary mutilation. These days there are medical staff behind the scenes should anyone drop out of trance and need medical help, a luxury not afforded the devotees in the past.

The Vegetarian Festival is becoming a popular tourist attraction but it’s also observed by younger locals and some tourists as well. Observers and participants avoid eating meat, seafood, poultry or dairy products during the period of the festival. The belief is that observers will have better health, purer mind, and gain merits from taking vegetarian foods.

You will see many restaurants with yellow flag, indicating that they provide pure, vegetarian food. This is your chance to try delicious new food as the streets will be filled with food stalls serving up vegetarian dishes.

The annual festival kicks off with religious rituals which are held at the main Chinese shrines on the island – Seng Ko Teng Thiao. The Lantern Pole is supposed to attract the 36,000 gods of the Chinese pantheon.

All shrines will raise their poles between 3-5.45pm, except for Sheng Leng Tong (which holds their ceremony earlier).

The opening night ritual of the Koteng lantern pole raising will be held at the Juitui Tao Bo Keng Shrine, the ancient Chinese shrine in Old Phuket Town. Apart from Juitui Tao Bo Keng Shrine, approximately 30 shrines around the island will conduct the annual ceremony including Bang Niew Shrine, Samkong Shrine, and Kathu Shrine. After the ritual, the Masong (people who invite the spirits of Chinese gods to possess their bodies) will be parading around.

Phuket Vegetarian Festival program 2018 | News by The Thaiger

Processions in Phuket Town

The daily processions are something you will unlikely see anywhere else in the world, at least not as intense as the Phuket parades – noise, music, fireworks, smoke, masongs in trances, body piercings and mutilations. The parades are a complete assault on your senses. Whilst there are many local children involved in the event, the western tourist, and especially kids, may find some of the activities quite overwhelming.

(Times listed in the 24 hour clock)

Tuesday, 9 October | Sapam Shrine street procession from 07:00

Wednesday, 10 October | Samkong Shrine street procession from 07:19

Thursday, 11 October | Ban Tha Rue Shrine street procession from 07:30

Friday 12, October | Bang Neow Shrine street procession from 07:00

Saturday, 13 October | Jui Tui Shrine street procession from 08:00

Sunday, 14 October | Kathu and Yokkekeng Shrines street procession from 07:00

Monday, 15 October | Sui Boon Tong Shrine street procession from 07:00

Fire Walking Ceremonies

Thursday, 11 October | Jui Tui Shrine Fire Walking at Saphan Hin from 20:09

Thursday, 11 October | Fire Walking at Sui Boon Tong Shrine from 21:00

Thursday, 11 October | Fire Walking at Ban Tha Rua Shrine from 20:00

Thursday, 11 October | Fire Walking at Yokkekeng Shrine from 20:00

Thursday, 11 October | Fire Walking at Sapam Shrine from 21:00

Saturday, 13 October | Fire Walking at Bang Neow Shrine from 20:00

Saturday, 13 October: Fire Walking at Samkong Shrine from 20:00

Saturday, 13 October | Fire Walking at Cherng Talay Shrine from 20:09

Sunday, 14 October | Fire Walking at Kathu Shrine from 15:00

Other Ceremonies

Friday, 12 October | Bladed-ladder climbing at Bang Neow Shrine from 20:00

Friday, 12 October | Bladed-ladder climbing at Samkong Shrine from 20:00

Friday, 12 October | Oil bathing and tying children’s wrist at Ban Tha Rua Shrine from 20:45

Friday, 12 October | Bladed-ladder climbing at Cherng Talay Shrine from 19:59

Friday, 12 October | Nail bridge crossing and oil bathing at Sapam Shrine from 20:00

Phuket Vegetarian Festival program 2018 | News by The Thaiger

Final Day of the Festival

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

If you’ve been ‘purifying your body’ during the festival then it will be time for you to cross the bridge of purification set up at each shrine. The devotees will be ‘rewarded’ with a stamp on their shirt as proof of their commitment to the nine days. The crossing of the bridge of purification is held between 6-8pm.

Then, grab your ear plugs and don’t wear anything flammable – the last part is just NUTS! After 9pm all shrines join together in a mega street parade in Phuket Town. This is the Nine Emperor Gods Farewell.

Each shrine involved in the festival has their own Emperor God. The procession accompanies each group to Saphan Hin, from where the gods will depart Phuket (no Immigration queues!).

This three hour cacophony of noise, smoke and fireworks borders on dangerous so should be attended with an escape route in mind, safety goggles (really) and patience. The crowds are massive and YOU are part of the parade – there are spectator stands.

Then, on Thursday, October 18, each shrine will hold their own Lantern Pole lowering ceremony which usually run from 3-5pm.

Phuket Vegetarian Festival program 2018 | News by The Thaiger

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Food Scene

Pru gets Phuket’s only Michelin gong

The Thaiger & The Nation



Pru gets Phuket’s only Michelin gong | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Trisara

Phuket now has a Michelin star restaurant in its midst. The only restaurant in the Phuket or Phang Nga region to score a gong in the second Thai Michelin foodie guide.

Montara Hospitality’s farm-to-table restaurant Pru at Trisara has earned a Michelin star.

The guide whas expanded this year to cover the best dining venues in southern Phuket and Phang Nga provinces and in the greater Bangkok region -the cities of Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Sakhon and Samut Prakan.

Pru chef de cuisine Jim Ophorst is touted as an inspiring voice of change for elevating the farm-to-table movement in Thailand.

29 year old Ophorst is originally from the Netherlands and renowned for his imaginative cooking style and innovative techniques. In 2016 he joined Montara’s Trisara, where his raw talent and conviction inspired the conception of Pru. He was also twice a semi-finalist for S Pellegrino’s annual Young Chefs Award, in 2016 and 2017.

Pru’s culinary concept, “Plant, Raise, Understand”, stems from Ophorst and his team’s close relationship with local suppliers and farmers, as well as the opportunities to forage and discover new ingredients from the restaurant’s own farm, Pru Jampa.

The farm sits among beautiful lakes on whose banks herbs, organic vegetable gardens, free-range chickens and ducks are raised.

“I’m excited to discover new ingredients all the time because it pushes my creative boundaries,” says the chef.

“We also want to strengthen the local farm community. This will yield better ingredients for better dishes at Pru. At the end, it’s all about the happiness in every angle – from the farmers to the restaurant team to the guests at our tables.”

In addition to Pru, Seafood at Trisara, which serves authentic southern Thai dishes based on treasured family heirloom recipes, was awarded a Michelin plate, the little red guide’s guarantee to a good meal.

Executive chef Kla Prakobkit presents a menu featuring local favourites made from scratch and showcasing produce that’s sustainably sourced.

Pru is open for dinner from 6.30pm Monday through Saturday.

Seafood is open daily from 6pm.

Pru gets Phuket's only Michelin gong | News by The Thaiger


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Food Scene

Hua Hin seafood sellers told not to overcharge customers

The Thaiger



Hua Hin seafood sellers told not to overcharge customers | The Thaiger

“Sea Write author Somchai Liewwarin complained that he was charged several thousand baht for just a few plates of seafoods.”

PHOTO: Downshiftology

Food-shop owners and street food sellers in Hua Hin say they will sign an MoU with the Hua Hin municipal office which will require them to strictly abide by trading rules and not to overcharge their customers, especially for seafoods.

Story about the over-charging food vendors HERE.

The measure to rein in the food sellers follows a recent social media post by a Sea Write author Somchai Liewwarin, aka Win Liewwarin, who complained that he was charged several thousand baht for just a few plates of seafoods when he dined with a few friends at a seafood shop about two months ago.

The post has drawn many online responses criticising the overcharging by seafoods restaurants and food-shops on the famous walking street. It has also prompted the district chief officer, Thanon Panphipat, to try and reign in the extortionate pricing.

Thanon held a meeting with food-shop owners and street food sellers at the district office to discuss the alleged overcharging problem and it was agreed at the meeting all the food sellers would be made to sign an MoU promising to not overcharge customers and to follow other trading regulations.

Regarding the author’s complaint, the district chief officer said the case was unclear as the author did not provide evidence to prove he was overcharged.  The author, meanwhile, said he didn’t want to press any charge against the food seller but merely wanted to warn the other tourists to be careful.

Thanon said the municipal administration have warned food sellers to show price lists and service fees to inform customers.


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Time for a street food makeover – Tourism Ministry

The Thaiger & The Nation



Time for a street food makeover – Tourism Ministry | The Thaiger

The Thai Tourism Minister says it’s time for an upgrade of Thai street food.

The Nation reports that Weerasak Kowsurat says he would hold talks with the Public Health Ministry and the BMA on how to upgrade the quality of dishes sold by street vendors in the capital.

He has revealed plans to bring together stakeholders to discuss how to ensure street foods are hygienic by offering advice on how to store ingredients and how to properly clean utensils.

Weerasak says his ministry will also work with local municipalities to boost the quality of street food in other provinces around the country.

He says the Tourism Ministry will launch an awareness campaign for tourists, explaining the characteristics of each dish to help them get the most out of eating on the street.

Weerasak says that, as of 2016, there were 103,000 street food outlets around Thailand, making up 69 per cent of all food outlets in the country.


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