I decided that once a month in 2018, I’m going to take a quick trip to explore/see/do/hear something weird and unusual in the space around me. I’m calling these Space Oddities and this is May…
For this month’s cultural adventure, I really stuck the cultural aspect. For the second time, I attended the Thai Culture & Food Festival, which was held at the Buddhist Center of Dallas. This free festival, going on its third year, is put on by the Thai Community Center of North Texas, a non-profit established in 1998 whose mission is to preserve Thai culture, religion, and tradition.
In line with the organizer’s mission, the festival offers temple tours, a marketplace of Thai goods, cultural exhibitions, and, most importantly in my opinion, food. So much food.
My friends and I arrived in the sweltering heat of a late May afternoon and ducked inside the temple to cool down. We got to observe a traditional Buddhist ceremony in the beautiful, gold-gilded temple. It was amazing to see such a culturally diverse group of people gathered in silent observation.
After the service, we walked around the festival grounds and caught a few exhibitions of traditional Thai culture, including dancing, sword handling, and Muay Thai demonstrations.
The marketplace was filled with clothing, packaged foods, toys & games, and jewelry. I got my fortune (cookie) told - at $20 per session, I’m too cheap (and a little scared?) for the real thing. That, and I wanted to spend my money on...
But really, let’s talk about the food. I love Thai food and was not disappointed. The festival featured foods from all four Thai regions, from teas & coffee (Thai coffee drool…) and fresh coconuts to chicken satay and papaya salads. And also fried bananas and mango sticky rice and bean paste buns. And Pad Thai and noodle soups and several types of Thai pancakes (the lady above is preparing one of the most insanely delicious things I tried at the fest: Sweet egg yolk pancakes… what? A sweet pancake batter cooked and folded like a taco shell with a coconut cream filling and shredded egg yolk. I was dubious, but man. So dang good).
Needless to say, I didn’t eat dinner that night. If you feel like you missed out on the food, the Buddhist Center of Dallas has mini food fests every Sunday from about 10am - 2pm. Authentic Thai street food is sold from permanent food stalls behind the temple and proceeds benefit the Buddhist Center. Check it out!