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Apr 10, 2010 07:25 AM

Songkran (Thai New Year) Festival 2010 in Silver Spring Tomorrow (April 11)

I took friends and family here for the first time last year and everyone had a blast. I would advise not to arrive too late because parking is a mess, and the crowds are even worse.

I'm interested to hear if people discovered any really good stands last year. I went early specifically for the kaffir lime trees because people warned they get sold out quickly. However, I think they are well stocked now. The lime trees were there well after opening last year although the smaller trees run out quicker. There's also _the_ mango sticky rice lady who opens a little later than the other stands. Last year she ran out of the durian dessert as soon as I got to ger in line (literally the person in front of me, argh!) She was right near the entrance, in the first corner, on the side closest to the street. We tried at least 3 other mango sticky rices (I am married to a mango sticky rice fanatic) before hers and hers was superior. The rice was fresher, the rice wasn't overly sweet or "over-marinated" in coconut milk, and the mangos were sweeter. Just a perfect balance.

Anyone remember other standouts?

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  1. There was a pork jerky (or beef jerky?) guy giving out free samples. That stuff was good. I also enjoyed the coconut-dipped banana fritters one stand had. You could just ask for a few bucks worth instead of getting a full bag of fried stuff.

    Other than that, alot of meat on a stick stuff, alot of papaya salad stands, and alot of soup stands, none of which stood out to me. I probably spent 30 bucks on food last year.

    I went to the mango sticky rice specialist last year as well (with huge expectations after seeing the line) and the mango was excellent but the rice itself not good at all...and I'm a mango sticky rice freak as well. I guess I caught it at the wrong time. D'oh.

    1. If anything like when we went (2004) then to get a keffir lime tree get there by 10am.

      1. Thanks so much for this post, bmorecupcake! I didn't realize it was today till I read it. I trekked out there and gathered with a few other confused people at the Glenmont Metro trying to figure out where to meet the bus. Turns out the bus doesn't come to the front of the station, where the Metro buses come, but around the back where cars park. We only had to wait a few minutes for the rented school bus to show up.

        I was so surprised by this festival. It was HUGE! I'm not great at estimating crowds, but I'd guess there were at least 1,000 people there - reveling in the food, sunshine, picnicking-by-the-brook, and Thai dance performances.

        I was starving but tried to make the rounds before deciding what I wanted. The choices were overwhelming. As much as I wanted to try a lot of things I saw which were unfamiliar to me, even more I wanted to bathe myself in some of my favorites. Most of the places selling food had signage only in Thai with no prices listed. I figured these places had better food. Maybe they don't, but I had to narrow down my choices somehow! I saw people lining up for a woman making som tam with a huge mortar and pestle. I ordered it, spicy and without crab. (Crab in som tam? OK, but seems odd to me.) When I sunk my teeth into it, I couldn't believe it. It was wonderful -- just like in Thailand, with tiny dried shrimp and everything! And no weird ingredients (corn, broccoli, etc.) And the heat! My nose and eyes were streaming and my lips were tingling for 10 minutes after I finished it. It was divine! I also got mango and sticky rice there as well, as I wasn't able to find the durian woman bmorecupcake referred to. Before eating that, I headed off for Thai iced tea bubble tea and a large skewer of piping hot, fresh off the grill chicken. On the way, who do I see but the durian lady -- with a line of at least 20 people in it. I got in it and stayed there for 25 minutes in the blazing hot sunshine. A line this massive has to be there for a reason, I figured. I decided I wanted to get mango with black sticky rice and coconut custard, but I noticed that everyone in line was getting white sticky rice - so I go that. I ate the first sticky rice / mango that I bought and brought the second one home. It's in the kitchen calling to me now, along with a leaf-wrapped sticky rice. I was about to die of sunstroke at that point, so I went to catch the bus back to the Metro station, for which there was no wait at all.

        Next year i want to go earlier in the day. This event is definitely something to put on the calendar!

        1 Reply
        1. I just discovered my kaffir lime tree has root rot and it might not survive. This weekend there is a Songkram festival in Sterling, VA. Does anyone know if the Sterling festival is similar to the Silver Spring festival? Specfically, does it have vendors selling kaffir lime trees?

          Direct link to the flyer we were handed in Silver Spring:

          6 Replies
          1. re: bmorecupcake

            Sucks for me that I won't be able to make this, sucks for you about the tree. How bad is it? I've never dealt directly with root rot, but my tree is one rebound-capable sucker. It lost every single leaf last fall and had spider mites and it's out on my back patio loving life to the fullest.

            1. re: Dennis S

              Oh, really? The exact same thing happened to my tree over the winter. The leaves all fell off. I had bought it at the Silver Spring Songkran last year. I don't know the first thing about plants or gardening. I kept it indoors next to the window and just kept watering it once a week and it grew every week until December. It was like magic to me at the time, although now I know that it was already in nutrient-rich potting soil. After the leaves started falling off, I thought in the spring it would heal itself or something. Two weeks ago the last leaf fell and I figured it was dying. I was told there is no magic, I need to replace the soil and/or use plant food. I did so, but I didn't see any improvement. Then I read online that roots should be bone white. If the roots are brown, then that means the plant has root rot. Well, all my roots were brown. (If I cut a root, the inside was bone white, but I assume that doesn't count.) I also read that if the plant is too big for the pot, that would cause problems. So just yestereday, I trimmed the roots, trimmed the plant, and added perlite, top soil, sand, and peroxide to my potting mix like I read online.

              1. re: bmorecupcake

                Hmm - still not sure - the white inside the root sounds positive. I heeded my Step-Mother in Law's advice to not give up watering it and it did rebound.

                Definitely if the plant needs a bigger pot repot it.

                1. re: Dennis S

                  Well, it turns out there was nothing wrong with the plant, just needed to replant it in a bigger pot. I hope it can re-grow after the mutilation it received. :(

                  That's what happen when you're not paying attention to Google's results and inadvertently apply advice from to your kaffir lime tree.

            2. re: bmorecupcake

              The Sterling festival is similar to the SS festival, only on a much smaller scale (I was told); several hundred people vs several thousand in SS. You can call up the Sterling temple and ask what vendors will be there.

              1. re: comestibles

                The Silver Spring festival is terrific, the Sterling one is very so-so.