Weekend festival offers an authentic taste of Thai

festival organisers Wantana Vongsakul, Nattamon Moleekool, Joe  Moleekool and Mark Vongsakul

festival organisers Wantana Vongsakul, Nattamon Moleekool, Joe Moleekool and Mark Vongsakul

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering West Oxford and Botley. Call me on (01865) 425425

A CELEBRATION of all things Thai is coming to Oxford on Sunday with organisers hoping for thousands of people attending again this year.

The Oxford Thai Food and Culture festival is to return for a second year at Botley Park and will feature everything from food and music to dancing and massages.

The Bangkok House restaurant in Hythe Bridge Street, the Chaba Thai restaurant in Abingdon High Street and the Muay Thai Boxing Academy in Templars Square, Cowley, will be among those entertaining crowds on the day. Thai massages will be provided by Oxford Thai Reflexology based just off the Abingdon Road.

A Thai cooking masterclass will be performed by Oxford-based Aroma Thai Cooking, among food demonstrations from some of Oxford’s finest Thai restaurants.

Last year’s festival attracted almost 1,500 people to sample and experience Thai culture in the heart of Oxford.

Festival organiser Mark Vongsakul, of Bangkok House restaurant, said: “We weren’t expecting much last year and we had over 1,000 people, we’ve built a reputation now and hopefully we can triple our turn out this year.”

“The whole point is to spread awareness of how Thai people eat. It’s not what you get in Thai restaurants.

“This will be more authentic.

“We are also aiming to spread awareness of Thai culture, Thai dancing and Muay Thai boxing. There’s even a Thai massage if you’re feeling a bit tense.

“It was a nice mix last year with about 30 per cent Thai people, that was great for us and we want even more local people this year, the more the merrier. There’s so much going on you can easily entertain yourself for the whole day.”

The festival starts at 11am and runs until 6pm.

Money from this year’s event will go to The Oxford Buddha Vihara temple, one of only 15 Thai temples in the UK. The festival raised £600 for the Abingdon Road temple last year.

Mr Vongsakul added: “The event is held annually in Warwick and is very popular, I’m local to the area, which has a good Thai community, and got in touch with all the Thai restaurants last year and they were all up for it.”

Chang Beer will be sponsoring it and providing the beer and Chiang Mai Kitchen in Oxford’s High Street will have a stall for the first time this year.

Its deputy manager Tuk Tuk Kosidwiriya said: “We heard last year it was busy and this year should be even bigger.

“We want people to get to know the real Thai culture, we are taking part for the fun of it and looking forward to it.”

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