Sunday, 17 October 2010

Hobart's first Thai Festival

At the Function Centre on Elizabeth St Pier today, the inaugural Thai Festival was held. It was a celebration of all things Thai, including food, singing, dancing, boxing and, of all things, a Thai fashion parade. You could get a Thai shoulder and neck massage, sample wines, play games, arrange for your Thai partner to enter the country courtesy of an immigration agent, and learn how to sculpt vegetables.

The obvious highlight for Rita, and most people present, was the food available from the various food stalls, as represented by some of our better known Thai restaurants round town like Vanidols and Infusion, Ivory and Shu Yuan.

The stalls were catering for larger numbers of people, under reasonably difficult conditions, so I think the food wasn’t as brilliant as it would have been had you eaten the identical item in the relevant restaurant, but it was fantastic to see so many people there, queuing up to sample the wares from 10 am till when we left at around 2.00.

The Thais are a gentle, courteous, friendly and happy race of people generally, and today typified all those adjectives. I loved the ‘vibe’ of the festival, and was happy to see that the mix of attendees was 50/50 (Thai/others).

They had instigated a coupon system for the purchasing of food, so that when you arrived, you paid (or surrendered your pre-paid ticket) $15, but were instantly reimbursed with $10 worth of food coupons, which was the currency to be used to purchase what you ate or drunk at the festival. If you needed more, you returned to the entrance desk and purchased more vouchers. Thus the entry fee in actuality was $5.

I searched out one of the organizers and had a quick chat with him, quizzing him on the background behind the festival. He told me they had organized it over the last three weeks only, and that depending on how successful this first one was, they intended holding the next one in December next year (2011) as the current Thai king turns 84 then, so it will be a celebration of that auspicious event. He didn’t envisage making any money out of today’s event (to get them started next year) but was happy with the way things were going.

He estimated that, at the time I spoke to him, they had had around 250 people through, but I think they had many more, as he was going on tickets/coupons sold, and I noted many stalls accepting real money in payment for food (as well as vouchers) from passers-by wandering around the dock area, and being attracted by the milling people at the end of the pier. I would also say it would have been difficult for those manning the entrance door to judge who had paid and who hadn’t, as the day developed and things got busier and busier, because you had to go outside to get food from the food stalls, then go back inside to watch the various entertainments inside, so people were continually going inside and outside.

The toilet-ing situation would need clarification for next year too, as it wasn’t immediately obvious where you could go for that particular human requirement!

But – all in all, a great day was had by all. I met many good friends there today, and look forward to next years event.
Posted on by Rita


Snuva said...

Sounds great! I wish I'd known about it beforehand.

Rita said...

Hi Snuva - yes, I agree. I only found that they had a Facebook site up on Saturday, otherwise I would have added that bit of info to my News sidebar. I had been invited by my good (Thai) friend Deena, in her usual hazy fashion, to a "Thai thing" on Sunday - "I pick you up at 10"! I hadn't realised till I found the Facebook site that it was actually a festival, complete with all the bells and whistles as mentioned in my post!

Thai Society of Tasmania said...

Hi Rita, Thanks for your comments, we try to do our best and the festival will be better next year.

Victor said...

Glad to know you went and blog about it. Considering it had little to almost no publicity, it has definitely done well. I foung out about this only on Fri in the Merc with a tiny,tiny advert. But we already had lunch planned at Port Huon. Definitely mark in my calendar of must do for 2011!

Tassiegal said...

Hey Rita,
Did you make it to World Party on Saturday?

sir grumpy said...

I wish I'd gone Rita.
I need to exorcise the ghost of a truly awful Thai green curry chicken wot I made meself.
I am always looking for short-cut pastes to whip up a storm in the kitchen quarter of Grumpy Towers.
(Alas, usually always disappointed by said pastes).
So, I used the old Mae Ploy and a recipe I found on the net, which called for lots of coconut cream and cashews ground up to help thicken even more.
Plus palm sugar.
It was quite disgusting and I ended up putting the lot in a big strainer and using hot water to flush the sauce away.
Alas, it and I never fully recovered.
I think when you have a gagging disaster like this you have to get back on the horse, so to speak, and get a great version of what you did.
I can still gag thinking about it.
I need great Thai food to lift me up where I belong. (At the table).

Ownage said...

buk buk buk buk buk bukloa lakasambudeeeeeee