Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Loy Krathong Thai Festival

Loy Krathong is a traditional Thai festival that is celebrated on the evening of the full moon in the 12th month in the Thai lunar calendar.

This translated to a sunny, breezy and slightly cold Sunday in mid November, where a decent crowd gathered to join this annual festive celebration with lots of food, performances and activities for a good 4 hours.

Originally I was quite nervous when trying to find the actual festival as it was quite well hidden away, but upon discovering it I was met with a mass of illegally parked cars which made it quite impossible to miss it!

Kiddies Ferris Wheel & Bouncy Castle
Catered to be a family friendly event, there was no shortage of children's entertainment.
Kids were kept busy with colourful amusement rides, bouncy castle, games and a showbag caravan stall set up; much like a mini fair.

The centerpiece of Ozone Park that day
Being centrestage at the Thai Festival was this stage dedicated to the various singers, dancers and performers that evening.

Run by the Thai Australian Association of WA, highlights of the evening included an impressive fireworks display, a food market with Thai food galore, a "Miss Noppamaht" beauty pageant and a stunning waterscape of floating lanterns being launched into the river at dusk, as a sign of respect to the Water Goddess.

A flurry of handmade lotus-shaped flower lanterns could be purchased from vendors for this event, with these traditionally being filled with either food, flowers, money, incense sticks or candles, before sending these off with a wish or a prayer.

Moo Ping
With food being prepared at home for a 7.30pm dinner, we joined the food queues and took it easy with anything eaten here being pre-dinner appetisers.

I found it hard to go past the smell of freshly grilled pork skewers from the Big Boon stand, and its highly intoxicating aromas permeating the air. These traditional barbeque pork skewers sold for $2 each, and are reminiscent of the Vietnamese pork skewers at UWA's recent Springfeast.

These are equally as juicy but less sweet, with a sticky caramelised marinade that wraps the tender pork. My only further request would be to buy one straight off the barbeque instead of from the warmer!

Pad Thai
Our indecisiveness between Pad Thai or Green Curry was abruptly but pleasantly interrupted when a new, piping hot, fresh batch of the stir fried noodles were being emptied into chafing dishes, ready to be eaten.

We're having Pad Thai! - The quickest and most certain decision ever made, in my life.

$7 gives you a container of tamarind flavour noodles, stir fried with egg, shrimps, fish cake and vegetables, and topped with a handful of raw beansprouts, a lemon wedge and crushed peanuts.

For those with a mild tongue, the vendors ask if you prefer your cut chilli and chilli flakes scattered or lumped to the side (the empty side served with absolutely no pad thai) :(

Meatball skewer
To complement our meatless pad thai, we purchased a skewer of firm but bouncy beef balls, which were consequently dunked into a mild sweet chilli sauce when served.

Thai sausage [bits]
I had every intention within my body, mind and tastebuds to try these Thai sausages, which were sizzling appetisingly in pans at the back of the stall. In the end I couldn't justify the reasons for paying $1.50 for each sausage "bit" in this dish.

I very nearly used my hands to pick up a sausage bit and eat it, thinking these were free samples!

These would have appealed to me a lot more if they were served whole or deliberately made smaller, rather than being cut up into sections like so.

A bit of Petanque action on the green
Definitely not just something for the oldies, with the apparent kid:adult ratio!

Spring rolls, curries and boxed meals for sale
There were many food vendors like this one, selling home cooked Thai meals.
No surprises that pad thai, green curry and papaya salad made multiple appearances that night!

Being busy and hot with the griller
These sausages were then transferred to plastic takeaway containers, and sold for $7.50 each with fresh salads.

Chilled drinks, fruits and Salted Duck eggs
There was a diversified range of items for sale, even though they put all the eggs in one basket :P

Mango stall
A very popular stall that night taking full advantage of this current booming mango season.
Boxes of fresh, sweet, juicy mangoes lay waiting to be peeled, carved and cut up upon selection by the customer for $5 per box.

Temptation was at a record high, but I refrained due to the 40 mangoes I already had at home, the fact that I have been eating mangoes everyday at a crazy rate for the past month and knowing that I had a bowl of it waiting in the fridge for me already.
$5 saved.

Making Som Tum
The making of green papaya salad with a mortar and pestle, with all the crushing, pounding and grinding to combine the sour, salty and hot flavours from this dish's ingredients.

Check out her arms. There is no better way or thing to work out with than som tum.

Thai Mart
This little pop up stall presents a mini Thai supermarket, selling drinks and Thai snacks and everything other packaged item you could imagine.

Takeaway containers galore!
The Thai in Town store really brought loads of Thai food to town, with mountainous stacks of pre-cooked food ready to eat.

Menu items featured Chilli & Basil noodles, Pad Thai, Chicken Satay, Thai style BBQ pork, sticky rice, Thai curries, sago ball desserts and sweet coconut milk ice desserts. With such a large selection, they are also available to cater for parties, functions and hold scrumptious (as I can imagine!) cooking classes.

Freshly cooked Pad Thai
This is the stall that we ended up giving our money to, for some wonderfully just-cooked-just-then pad thai.

The ubiquitous Ice Cream van
Making its appearance just about everywhere, is the ice cream man and his van.

Aren't you just loving those Hello Kitty car seat head rests! :)

Grilling in action
Quite a few stalls were set up that had continuous grilling going on in the background to feed the crowds.

A selection of flavours to choose from before ordering a refreshing beverage, that was instantly made to order.

That fluorescent pink colour representing ice tea is just a teeny little discerning though!

The desirable, irreplaceable bags of pork crackling, which can only be replaced by another bag of pork crackling.

Chicken Satays
As the eating drew to a close, we finished up with a dessert of chicken satay sticks, at $3 each.
I was very distracted by the huge bubbling pot of red curry, filled to the brim with fish balls, graciously bobbing away in that deep, vibrantly red soup.

Green and red curry noodle soups to the rescue, on an increasingly windy evening.

Coconut Jelly at the dessert stall
With such a delectable range of sweets and desserts, Thai desserts take on such vast colours, ingredients and textures. I love the prominent featuring of coconut milk, sticky rice,  durian and mangoes that combine ever so seductively in their desserts.

The beauty queen pageant involved contestants running for Miss Noppamas, saw ladies dressed in beautiful traditional Thai costumes for the evening. They were more than happy to pose for photos with anyone who wanted to be sandwiched by colours :)

4 out of (probably 100) photos captured
As the festival drew closer to its end, there were still masses of people eagerly waiting for the fireworks display. As we are nearing Summer, the 7pm sky was not yet dark enough a canvas to paint with explosions of light and colour.

I have never enjoyed taking photographs of fireworks as photos are nowhere near as spectacular as the real event itself, however now armed with a DSLR camera and its TOO MANY settings, I took an immediate liking loving to having fun with some long exposure shots.

Definitely get along to this Thai festival next year!
If eating is on your agenda, TAAWA also organises a Thai Food Fete at Asia House, on Stirling Street in Perth. The last session is this Sunday, and I am devastated I have left it too late!


As 2012 draws to a close, there are a multitude of different festivals and events happening, particularly to welcome the silly festive season that seems to have already arrived.

Perth: once a shy, quiet wallflower, has blossomed into maturity in past years, and has grown into a vibrant and bustling city with a socialite personality. From a recent catchy and successful marketing directed at promoting Perth,

Yes, I would love to get to know my beautiful home town a lot better.

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