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Apr 24, 2013 12:59 PM

Songkran Thai New Year Festival 2013 (San Jose)

On Sunday I checked out the Songkran festival in downtown San Jose. I believe this was the first year. The Singha beer garden seemed to be doing a good business on this hot day. The entertainment program was well fleshed out, but the Thai food offerings were scant.

Most of the food vending was from trucks that call on the various hubs in the area. Not fond of Mogo BBQ anyway, and not in the mood for it at a Thai festival. Of the handful of trucks, House of Siam on Wheels was the only one with Thai food and the line looked unbearable to me.

Even though the sponsors advertising in the printed program were mostly restaurants, they did not sell here. Sabieng Thai of Santa Cruz had a stand that was scooping out mound of pad thai. Didn't try it either.

Booths manned by each local Thai temple showed off their fruit carving skills. The photo below is the watermelon masterpiece from Wat Buddhapradeep.

There were a fair amount of vendors including the Asian American Donor Program taking registrations for marrow/stem cell donors.

When I walked up to the site, I noticed the long lines at Sa-By Thai a block away and wondered if the food was that good. After seeing the festival, it seems more likely that hunger for something Thai to eat was a big factor.

Best part was water splashing and the opportunity to be blessed by the saffron-robed monks.

Had I not enjoyed a Burmese lunch earlier that day, I would have stepped into Dakao or China Chen right there for a bite of something Vietnamese. If the festival continues next year, I wouldn't make a special trip for the food without confirming the offerings in advance.

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  1. We also celebrated this last Sunday at our monastery in Melbourne, Florida. A lot of the people ate for free because of all the wonderful home made food donated to the 3 monks. Most expensive purchased items were the soup and papaya salad at $5 each. Meat on a stick for $3 for 2 sticks. Those wonderful custardy things cooked under the conical hats were 3 for a buck. Rice and leaf wrappers were naturally free.

    While a few of the vendors own restaurants, the food here is cooked to order and definately as made as at home. Sometimes being in the sticks does have its' advantages.

    And all of the money goes to the monastery.

    2 Replies

      Nice! Yes, the local Thai temples have celebrations and food fairs with homestyle food. Those are better bets, it seems.

      Here's my report on the new Burmese temple's festival.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Sorry I do not know the names, but all the labels are in Thai.

        Now that we are entering the third generation, would it surprise you that so many of the kids had KFC, happy meals, and Subway's rather than the offered foods? Some cultures melt faster than others, but the pot does melt.

    2. Yes, pretty disappointing food offerings last weekend. Though the som tum I had was actually pretty good, and Thai spicy, made with crab. I didn't catch the vendor.

      We ended up feasting on Cha Ca La Vong at Thien Long.