Have a complete Thai experience at Thai Festival 2017
Underneath the alluring facade of mermaid drink spam on Instagram, it’s no secret: Artbox Singapore left a good number of patrons disgruntled – and even the Nashville filter can’t hide that.
So the original Artbox in BKK still trumps. But if you’re up for giving Thai pop-up markets in SG another chance – there’s still the Thai Festival 2017 to keep yo’ Bangkok withdrawal in check. Promising a less gimmicky Thai market experience with more authentic street snacks and traditional performances, the festival is now open until Sunday, 7th May. Here’s the scoop!
Yes, everything is sheltered – so you can join in the festivities whether rain or shine!
Disclaimer: we went for the festival on opening day, and there wasn’t much of a crowd. We’re not sure how it’ll be during the weekend, but you can probably expect some queues.
Here’s a handy map of the festival grounds
– FOOD –
Papaya salad from Zap X 3
There’s no better appetiser than papaya salad or mango salad ($5 each) to start off any Thai feast. Well-balanced with tomato slices, long beans, shredded carrot, and peanut, this comes in a portion good for sharing among 2-3.
At first taste, this innocuous-looking salad might seem mild, but wait for it – the chili will hit you full force seconds later. You might just find yourself in tears halfway – so do request for lesser chili if you’re not a master of spicy food!
Pork skewers from Zap X 3
Juicy and well-marinated, these pork skewers (3 for $5) are made even more tender with little strips of fat in between the layers of meat. More substantial than the usual skinny stick of satay or yakitori, these are definitely worth the buck.
Beef boat noodles from Noodlecafe
Even in our humid weather, slurping up a bowl of Thai boat noodles brings ultimate comfort. While these beef or pork boat noodles (from $5 per bowl) won’t sate a ginormous appetite, they’re prepared right on the spot with piping hot soup, tender beef slices and a meatball. Thai Thai must try.
P.S.: Help yourself to as many beansprouts and basil leaves as you want for garnishing!
Khanom Buang from C&N Thai Snacks
For a light bite, try the Khanom Buang – sweet fried Thai crepes – at just $2 for 4 pieces, made right in front of your eyes. Wrapped in the crispy, thin crepe layer is a dollop of sweet egg yolk and coconut shreds. Mmm.
Our advice? Don’t share. You’ll be wanting the entire bag to yourself.
A common sight at BKK night markets, the quirky and colourful Loop Soop ($4) is somewhat like our local ang ku kueh – except with a jelly-like covering, and in shapes of fruits like strawberries, bananas, and watermelon slices.
Aside from that, you can also look forward to other Thai street favourites like tapioca cakes and assorted glutinous sweets from $3.
Lemon honey drink from Meili Bee Farm
Soothe your tongue from all those spicy dishes with the homemade honey-infused drinks ($2 per cup) from this stall. Unfortunately, the intriguing purple lemon pea drink was already sold out when we visited, so we settled for the classic lemon honey one.
We found the honey flavour to be rather faint for our liking – even after the stall owner kindly added an extra dose of it into our cup. If you’ve got more of a sweet tooth than a sour one, skip this and go for coconut water or Thai milk tea instead.
Singha Beer station
If you’re still #thirstyaf after downing your cha yen, head to the Singha Beer station for a chill round of booze from just $5 per can.
This is just one of the areas at the festival where you can grab a table and enjoy your noms away from the crowd’s bustle. Fret not if you need to rest your weary feet – there are sit-down tables near the stage and along the sides of the festival lawn as well.
– SHOPPING AND ENTERTAINMENT –
Cooked food isn’t the only stomach pleaser you can look forward to at Thai Festival 2017. If you wish to bring a taste of Thailand back home to savour at your own time, there’s loads of packaged foodstuff available – from fruit chips and traditional biscuits to organic health products.
Coconut chips ($3 for 1 bag, $5 for 2). These were crunchy and surprisingly as flavourful and sweet as fresh coconut.
Stall vendors are more than happy to hand out snack samples, so don’t be paiseh – feel free to try them!
Sweet potato chips in flavours such as Garlic Butter, Authentic Thai Spices, and Original Sea Salt
Traditional Thai massage
If you’ve got no qualms about possibly moaning with pleasure out in the open – without fancy aromatherapy or even a bed – pop by this Traditional Thai massage booth to get the knots in your body sorted out! A 20-minute massage costs $15 and will cover your back, head, shoulder, and feet.
PSA: there’s so much more to Thai entertainment than siam dius. As you munch on your nosh, be mesmerised by the graceful movements of traditional Thai dancers in their exquisite costumes.
Beauty and fashion
Ladies, be warned – the Thai Festival might have you emptying your wallet on the trove of clothes, accessories, and beauty products there. All of these hail from the Land of Smiles itself, and a good number of the skincare items are made with natural products.
One noteworthy beauty gem we chanced upon was this handmade coconut soap ($10) from Phrudin Herb. The “flesh” of the coconut-shaped soap is a cleanser, while the “husk” on the other side is a scrub!
Beach-worthy beaded sandals, basket bags, and pom pom-adorned clutches from Leather Crafts Modern Thai.
Girls who love their bling can check out Rock Me Jewellery – for ethereal pieces with precious and semi-precious stones that look like they belong in LOTR.
The best of food, shopping, and culture at Thai Festival 2017
Perhaps I’ve got trust issues, but I was bracing myself for fearfully hipster-ified renditions of popular Thai eats – like outrageous rainbow funfetti mango sticky rice. But nope – Thai Festival 2017 stayed true to its promises, and its traditional roots. Kudos for not shedding culture for fads.
If you’re here just for the food, you might find the selection a little limited as there are significantly more retail booths than food ones. But hey, quality > quantity. Besides, do bear in mind that this isn’t a food event – it’s an all-encompassing market celebrating the best of Thai culture. And in that aspect, I’d say it does pretty well.
Of course, you won’t be getting BKK price tags here. But even so, between the spread here and sparkly $10 lemonade disguised as “unicorn tears” at the typical hipster market, prices are very reasonable – especially given how authentic everything is. So hop on down to the Thai Festival 2017 before it’s gone – or suffer from FOMO til next year!
Thai Festival 2017
Date and time: 5-7 May 2017, 10AM-9PM
Venue: Royal Thai Embassy
Nearest MRT station: Orchard