March 23,2016 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) announced today that they will be celebrating Songkran Festival marking the Thai New Year, with Thai Restaurant Week in Los Angeles and New York April 11-17, 2016. Songkran (April 13-15), the most famous festival in Thailand, is in keeping with the Buddhist/Hindu solar calendar and it signifies when the sun enters the sign of Aries the Ram.
In honor of Songkran nineteen restaurants in Los Angeles and twenty restaurants in New York will be offering special dishes and/or pre-fix menus throughout the week, with TAT holding kick-off events in both markets. Chef Nooror Somany Steppe from the Blue Elephant Cooking School in Phuket will be offering cooking classes in Los Angeles during the week at the New School of Cooking. In addition to sampling dishes from each restaurant, New York’s Thaithentic catering and their chef Evelyn Garcia will be demonstrating Thai cooking techniques and serving some of her favorite Thai food at the NYC kick-off event.
In addition to Thai Restaurant Week, The Tourism Authority of Thailand is celebrating Songkran with an online contest where one lucky winner will win a trip to Thailand. By sharing your New Year’s resolutions or your previous Songkran experiences at #SONGKRANSTORY CONTEST you can celebrate Songkran in Bangkok next year.
In Thailand many people go to their home town during the festival; they cook, eat and drink their favorite foods with their family and friends. People that cannot travel during Songkran will make dishes that remind them of home. In the spirit of sharing their favorite Thai dishes, TAT has asked Thai restaurants to create special dishes and menus to celebrate the New Year and give people the opportunity to taste food from the different regions of Thailand.
A famous aspect of Songkran celebrations is the throwing of water. The custom originates from the spring-cleaning aspect of Songkran. Part of the ritual was the cleaning of images of Buddha. Using the ‘blessed’ water that cleaned the images to soak other people is seen as a way of paying respect and bringing good fortune.
“Los Angeles has the largest Thai community outside of Asia and we look forward to Songkran becoming a yearly celebration here,” said Kulpramote Wannalert, director of the TAT-Los Angeles Office. “The support that we have received from the community has been overwhelming and we look forward to building this up annually and across additional cities in the United States and Canada.”
“This inaugural Songkran Thai Restaurant Week is just the beginning of our efforts to promote Songkran festival in the United States,” said Srimala Waraphaskul, the director of the TAT-New York Office. “We look forward to continuing this tradition for many years to come, and to have Songkran Festival become one of the most renowned festivals with the world celebrating with us in Thailand.”
Located just 15 degrees north of the equator, “Amazing Thailand” is one of Southeast Asia’s premier travel destinations and home to well-known tourist locations including the capital city of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Ko Samui and Krabi. Known as the “land of smiles,” Thailand features some of the world’s finest luxury hotels and resorts, and offers visitors a rich tapestry of exotic architecture, culture, cuisine, traditions and adventures. For more information on Thailand please click here.
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