The Vegetarian Festival is nearly upon us again. This will now be my fifth year of eating vegan for ten days. It’s much easier than it sounds and it is something that I look forward to every year. The Vegetarian Festival (Gin J Festival) happens every year in the tenth Thai lunar month on the first new moon after the equinox. This year it is celebrated between 14th and 24th October 2012. Most people make the mistake in thinking that this is a festival only celebrated in Phuket. Although it is true that their version is certainly livelier, it is actually celebrated in many places around Thailand wherever there are large Chinese communities. I will be taking part in this festival here in Samut Prakan and also in Chinatown in Bangkok.
If you go to any of the supermarkets and convenience stores you will probably see sections with yellow flags and red writing. The large red word above in Thai says “jay” which means that this food is safe for people who are taking part in the festival. The most common food includes soy bean milk and mama noodles. There is even cup noodles of tom yum with mushrooms and tofu. There seems to be “jay” stickers on everything including coffee (3-in-1 variety). In the past I bought lots of stuff with the intention to cook for myself. But, there are so many vegetarian stalls near my house that it is easy to eat out every day. So, the only thing that I bought today was soya milk. Make sure it has the “jay” sticker as some have milk powder.
If you are interested in seeing pictures of the Vegetarian Festival in Thailand, then follow me on Twitter at @EnjoyThaiFood for the vegetarian food and @RichardBarrow for pictures of the Chinese ceremonies.