Many had their first chance to taste fresh mangosteens, longans, rambutans and durians (above). The line to drink the water from young coconuts was one of the longest at the festival. Chaokoh's canned coconut water was on hand too. And Singha beer drew plenty of customers, because the day was hot.
Thai culture was as much a part of the festival as the food. Look at the beautiful girls making flower garlands (at the top). Beyond them was a display of hand-painted umbrellas. Traditional dancing (above) and Thai boxing performances went on center stage, and a panel discussed the Thai culinary scene.
But what everyone really came for was the food. Here are a few highlights:
Ayara's miang kham, a wrap of assorted tidbits in a fresh betel leaf, expressed what Thai food is about--freshness, refined presentation and layers of flavor in a single dish. The components included shrimp, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, shallots, peanuts, ginger, roasted coconut, Thai chiles and palm sugar syrup.
Non-Thai chefs took part too. Sang Yoon of Lukshon (above left) did a "reimagined" Thai beef salad in which he combined smoked beef tongue, compressed cucumber and lettuce "soup." On top was a crisp dehydrated tomato slice.
The festival was oversold by 300 tickets, I heard someone say. Still, there was plenty of room to spread out and relax in the shade, have a Thai massage or visit an indoor display of Thai tourism information.
Giveaways included bottles of Tiparos fish sauce and Mae Ploy sweet chilli sauce at the Bangkok Market booth, where cases of Chaokoh drinks were unloaded at the end of the day so that festivalgoers could have one for the road.