Posted by: Orlick | November 3, 2009

Royal Kathin 2009 Rundown

Royal Kathin Celebration 2009
Wat Buddha Thai Thavorn Vanaram
November 1st, 2009

This was the best Thai food experience I have ever had.
The Royal Kathin Celebration 2009.

I’m not entirely sure how I should go about this. The experience was interesting, but the food was stellar. The food wasn’t that hot at all, just satisfying. The spread was magnificent. Here’s what happened:

I got there at around 10am as people started lining up with bowls full of rice as an offering to the monks. As time went by, the line kept getting bigger and bigger and the loop of parishioners expanded from the sidewalk in front of the temple to the sidewalk across the street. I have a feeling this was the largest celebration so far, with the new immigration of Thai people in Queens. In 4 years I predict this line will loop to the end of the block.

There were about 9 monks who walked around with their large bowls and everyone gave a scoop or few from their own. The monks made their way around and found themselves into the shoeless temple later. Chanting was heard, hands clasped outside and my stomach growled. I had been wanting for over an hour, and the food was out since I got there.

It was nice and all. Not too ritualistic, but more casual. People didn’t seem to have crazy decorum. Some women were dressed beautifully and other people were in jeans and shirts. At around 12.30 the feeding started. I’m not sure who has first dibs, but I didn’t see the monks after their ceremony.

There was a marvelous amount of food. The line of steam tables went on and on. I’d say there were about 50 or so dishes. Some I’ve seen before, some I haven’t. The smells from the bbq duck and the cauldrons of soup were overbearing. The possibilities were dizzying.

One side of the tent was hot foods and the other had desserts and fruit. Also there was the money dragon where people stuck money to flags onto the dragon as an offering. A man told me to make a wish as I stuck it in and I did.

I stood next to this huge pot while I was waiting for things to develop in the morning. I didn’t bring a jacket, but the steam kept me warm and the scents put me in a dreamlike state.

A nice lady took to us. I couldn’t tell if she was crazy or just foreign. She brought us plates of sweets, telling ‘these are the best, I know, you don’t.’ This was one of the items she brought us. She was a lovely woman and I love her for her grace towards us.

There were no 2nds – the food was gone too fast. A friend in our group came after the food was served, so we grabbed the last remaining offerings for him. A great plate, nonetheless. Apart from having such a range of flavors, all the food tasted so fresh and satisfying.

Just an amazing showing. This will only get bigger in the next few years as more people come over. Hopefully not so many tourists like me will come so I can eat as much as possible. I’d like to bring a dish to offer next time. How would they react to pastrami sandwiches?

My complete photo set 2009
Thailand Royal Kathin picture set
2008 photo set from Eating in Translation

Royal Kathin Celebration 2009
Wat Buddha Thai Thavorn Vanaram
76-16 46th Ave
Elmhurst, NY 11373



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