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Talaat Noi

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A performer at a Chinese play during the annual vegetarian festival, Talaat Noi held in Chinatown, Bangkok

Boonsamakan Vegetarian Hall - Fine carvings

Photo of Boonsamakan Vegetarian Hall

This small, tricky-to-find hall is worth a look both during the vegetarian festival when it is a highlight and the rest of the year as well. The hall features some intriguing wood carvings, particularly some three-dimensional work on the upstairs front area along with the usual dragons and phoenixes. Inside there are more ornate carvings and some striking altars. Opposite the hall is a stage area used for performances during the vegetarian festival.

A Chinese temple during the annual vegetarian festival, Talaat Noi, Bangkok.


The annual Chinese vegetarian festival is held in mid October each year.  This Chinese temple called Saan Jao Jo Sue Kong is a center of all the meat-free frenzy. Here heaps of white-clad worshipers come to watch ngiw (a Chinese drama, shown at the top of this post) pray, burn incense and candles, and buy the paper lanterns that form a virtual roof over the temple.

Offerings at Saan Jao Jo Seu Kong during the annual vegetarian festival, Talaat Noi, Bangkok.

Frying noodles during the annual vegetarian festival, Talaat Noi, Bangkok.

Selling eats during the annual vegetarian festival, Talaat Noi, Bangkok.

This is all fun, but the main goal is to eat, and a favourite dish to eat during the veggie festival is mie lueang, stir-fried Hokkien-style noodles.  At Talaat Noi these were made at very popular stall where you must wait about 20 minutes before even getting a seat.

For Hokkien Mie (Mie Lueang) Recipe:

Another thing that is very popular and yummy is khanom tup tab, a snack made by pounding peanuts with sugar until a thick, sweet skin is formed.

This is then wrapped around crushed peanuts. The result looks similar to, and tastes almost exactly like Butterfinger, but without the chocolate. Delicious.

Here and elsewhere in Chinatown you’ll find meat-free versions of most popular Chinese-Thai dishes, including noodles, stews and stir-fries. Oddly enough though, despite this being a vegetarian festival, you’ll find very few vegetables, and hardly anything green, Thailand’s Chinese community preferring soybean and flour-based dishes.

source includes: (RealThai / Austin Bush)

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