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Celebrating Songkran (Thai New Year) at Wat Dhammaram

Celebrating Songkran (Thai New Year) at Wat Dhammaram
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  • Celebrating Songkran (Thai New Year) at Wat Dhammaram

    Post #1 - August 21st, 2009, 1:41 pm
    Post #1 - August 21st, 2009, 1:41 pm Post #1 - August 21st, 2009, 1:41 pm
    Over four months late but maybe this will be useful for next year. Last spring we attended the Thai New Year celebration at Wat Dhammaram, the Thai Buddhist temple and cultural center on the southwest side.

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    We arrived too early for the dancing exhibitions, beauty pageants and music so we were free to concentrate on eating. Most of the food is in a large room with vendors' tables around the perimeter and communal tables in the center.

    Many people were pounding papaya for made-to-order som tom. This was a soupy but great one.

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    A good version of moo satay with sticky rice.

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    This version of hor mok was probably the most herb-intensive version I've had. No complaints.

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    An excellent rendition of boat noodles. Offal fans would not have been disappointed.

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    One of the better renditions I've had of moo phad phrik khing. Salty, oily, flat-out terrific.

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    The dessert tables were almost overwhelming. I could only identify a few items.

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    This is khanom krok, sort of a coconut-rice pudding filled with green onion.

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    I believe this is mung bean and coconut custard topped with caramelized onions.

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    There were many dozens of these things on offer, each with a distinct flavor.

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    A very odd dessert. Those lumps in the caramel-like pudding tasted exactly like they were flavored with chicken bouillon cubes.

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    Great event.

    Wat Dhammaram / Thai American Cultural Center
    7059 W 75th St
    Bridgeview IL
    708-594-8100
  • Post #2 - April 18th, 2011, 1:24 am
    Post #2 - April 18th, 2011, 1:24 am Post #2 - April 18th, 2011, 1:24 am
    The Songkran celebration at Wat Dhammaram is one of the Chicago area's best food events. I missed last year's festival, being in Los Angeles at the time. The big LA street festival was a sorry substitute. Here are some photos taken at Wat Dhammaran a week ago Saturday.

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    That thin yellow curry with fermented bamboo was one intensely funky dish.

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    Pad prik king, identical to the version sampled at a previous Songkran (above), is one of the best I've tried.

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    An interesting bowl of wide noodles with many garnishes. That blob of chili sauce really didn't enhance the dish.

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    Boat noodles, not up to the very high standard set a couple years ago.

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    This giant hor mok with lots of herbs was another great rendition.

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    A good version of tod mun pla that would have been even better fresh out of the fryer.

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    An excellent coconut-based green curry with nice garnishes. The day's highlight was another coconut-based curry noodle dish (no photo).

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    Many people were preparing som tum to order. This fine version included roast pork, something I'm not sure I've had before.

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    Khao kha moo, pork leg with fresh and pickled greens, was a great plate of food with many contrasting but complementary flavors and textures.

    Did anyone else attend the festival? You might want to mark your calendars for next year.

    Wat Dhammaram / Thai American Cultural Center
    7059 W 75th St
    Bridgeview IL
  • Post #3 - April 18th, 2011, 2:08 pm
    Post #3 - April 18th, 2011, 2:08 pm Post #3 - April 18th, 2011, 2:08 pm
    Is there a list I can get on to receive a reminder and details about this next year? Also, Peter, do you have any tips for getting down there on public transit that might be better than the 5-step (including taxi), 1-hour, 44-minute adventure Google Maps is quoting me?
  • Post #4 - April 19th, 2011, 7:19 am
    Post #4 - April 19th, 2011, 7:19 am Post #4 - April 19th, 2011, 7:19 am
    Wonderful pictures and reporting, thanks! I never caught the first post and am grateful for this newer one. Sounds like something well worth attending. I second Sharon's question about getting on a list to remind me of the event...

    (As to how to get there on public transport, the quickest way seems to be the Orange Line to Midway where you can pick up the Pace 379. (The Google directions don't seem to know about the Pace bus; skip their recommendation for the CTA bus.) The 379 doesn't run very frequently on weekends, but probably often enough. It should take about 30 minutes on the bus to get to 79th Street and Harlem. Then, a walk of about four blocks north to Harlem and a long block east on 75th Street gets you to the front gates.)
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #5 - April 19th, 2011, 9:37 am
    Post #5 - April 19th, 2011, 9:37 am Post #5 - April 19th, 2011, 9:37 am
    The event is open to all but they do a very poor job of publicizing it. You could call and ask about a list but to be safe I'd simply mark my calendar and contact them at the end of March or beginning of April. Wat Dhammaram has a website although you might not find the information unless you read Thai.

    Pace bus 379 will get you close but the 386 (also from Orange Line/Midway) will get you closer. It runs hourly on Saturday.
  • Post #6 - April 19th, 2011, 9:54 am
    Post #6 - April 19th, 2011, 9:54 am Post #6 - April 19th, 2011, 9:54 am
    Rene G wrote:Pace bus 379 will get you close but the 386 (also from Orange Line/Midway) will get you closer. It runs hourly on Saturday.


    It will indeed. I just knew that Sharon would enjoy a walk in the sunshine. :oops:
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #7 - April 19th, 2011, 10:09 am
    Post #7 - April 19th, 2011, 10:09 am Post #7 - April 19th, 2011, 10:09 am
    Rene G wrote:The event is open to all but they do a very poor job of publicizing it. You could call and ask about a list but to be safe I'd simply mark my calendar and contact them at the end of March or beginning of April. Wat Dhammaram has a website although you might not find the information unless you read Thai.

    You can also use google to translate this webpage, as long as it is not words embedded in graphics: http://translate.google.com/translate?u ... =&ie=UTF-8

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #8 - April 19th, 2011, 10:19 am
    Post #8 - April 19th, 2011, 10:19 am Post #8 - April 19th, 2011, 10:19 am
    Thanks. I've made a note on my calendar to call them next spring. I realized yesterday that Bridgeview is only 15 miles from my house, so I called a friend who has a brain like a GPS. Our brief conversation went something like this:

    Me: Can you please tell me how to bike to Bridgeview?
    Friend: Why do you need to bike to Bridgeview?
    Me: Thai food.
    Friend: OK, I'll send you something by Wednesday.

    This is a true friend--doesn't care a hoot about food or biking but knows my priorities and doesn't ask unnecessary questions. He even said he'd pick me up if I eat too much at the festival and can't bike back. :)

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