Colourful Phuket Vegetarian Festival
Colourful Phuket Vegetarian Festival
The annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival is riveted into the memories of many because of its scenes of self-mutilation, which are traditional to the parades. These get a lot of media attention but the fact is the festival is rich tapestry of local culture, food history and tradition.
Taking in one of the processions is considered a must, but behind it all is the actual vegetarian festival that should not be missed. The festival lasts for nine days in October, based on the lunar calendar (13 to 21 October 2015).
On the streets and in restaurants of Phuket Town you can enjoy some delicious tucker without the extreme behaviour. Here vegetarian restaurants pull out all the stops, and anywhere you see an abundance of yellow flags, streamers and throngs of white-outfitted revellers, you are sure to find some veggie delicacies.
While the devout follow the 10 ‘commitments’ – stringent rules that include abstinence from alcohol or sex – anyone else can enjoy the indulgent side of the festival.
To get the full flavour you can sample any number of locations in town, including the popular Talad Sod (meaning fresh market) on Ranong Road just west of Phuket’s Old Town. North of town in Samkong on the portion of Yaowarat Road that runs east-west, an assortment of food outlets are available. This area is home to vegetarian restaurants that are open year around, so the food here is consistently good.
Most do find that whenever near a procession they will be drawn to it, if only to feel the atmosphere for a few moments. It is truly surreal, because there is definitely something in the air that comes with the strong belief of the participants, something you feel whether you are a follower or not. Processions are held in different parts of Phuket on each day, starting around the Sapam Shrine (further north of Phuket Town), moving to Samkong (one place mentioned above), then Kathu on the island’s west side and finally Sui Boon Tong Shrine in south Phuket Town to wrap up festivities.
To celebrate Phuket Vegetarian Festival Kata Rocks has created a healthy all vegetarian Thai menu that includes: Stir-fried mushrooms with chilli and basil, Pad Thai with yellow tofu, pineapple fried rice with yellow curry egg and cashew nuts, Stir fried mixed vegetables with oyster sauce, Vegetable spring rolls and healthy organic beverages including Homemade lemonde, Apple mojitos and Homemade ginger beer.
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