October 15-23rd – The centre of activity is Wat Leng Noei Yi Temple
also known as Wat Mangkon Kamalawat on Charoen Krung Road
Eat Your Greens, Wear White, and Don't See Red
Bangkok Vegetarian Festival
Legend has it that long ago, a group of Chinese visitors unfortunately fell ill during a sojourn in the Kingdom of Siam and in an effort to cleanse their bodies adopted a vegetarian diet along with prayer for their souls and wellbeing.
Eschewing all meat and animal products, alcohol and pungent ingredients like onions, garlic and strong spices (believed to incite people to anger or lust – yes, sex is forbidden too), the group gave rise to what is now celebrated as the Kin Jay Festival, where some of the most innovative vegetarian dishes in Asia are served during the 10-day event.
And innovative is just what a Thai cook needs to be during Kin Jay, when no milk or eggs are used either, and instead the accent moves from spiced and hot foods to a delicate balance of bitter, sweet, salt and sour, while the conjuring of tofu into myriads of different and astonishing meat substitutes prevails.
Lining the main Chinatown thoroughfares Charoen Krung and Yaowarat Road, hundreds of food stalls bedecked in yellow participation flags pander to the thronging crowds. Many bring shrines and deities from their homes to be blessed at the incense-suffused temples, and are met with drumming to dispel any evil spirits. With Chinese opera erupting from makeshift stages, and street performances and happenings throughout the area, if ever you’ve dallied with the idea of veganism, now is the time to be in Bangkok.