Blog : culture

River Festival 2019 Bangkok / Lamphun

River Festival 2019 Bangkok / Lamphun

River Festival 2019
The Fifth Annual Celebration of Thailand’s River Culture
Illustrating the Concept of River Consonance” 

Every river has an amazing true story to tell. To celebrate our beautiful and fulfilling culture and heritage, ThaiBev is happy to support the tourism industry’s River Festival 2019 scheduled for November 9-11 in Bangkok. Now in its fifth year, the landmark event recognizes the importance of the ASEAN Cultural Year 2019. Everyone is invited to experience the charms of civilizations situated beside the river at 10 cultural heritage waterfronts along the Chao Phraya River during the three-day period. They focus on the concept of “River Consonance”. 

The Thai Beverage Public Company Limited, or ThaiBev, is assisting with this effort in close cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the Royal Thai Navy, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and a network of business partners. Together, they are able to draw on prior experience to make the fifth edition of the River Festival a continuing remarkable success for 2019.

This year, the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s ASEAN Affairs Department also joins forces. Its contribution to the “River Festival 2019” supports government policies that are aimed at making Thailand a center of cultural tourism and engaging with worldwide audiences. The show is timed to coincide with the ASEAN Cultural Year 2019 proclaimed to raise public awareness of the identity, diverse culture and heritage of the Region.

The driving forces behind this year’s celebration include Mr. Itthiphol Kunplome, Minister of Culture; Mr. Suraphon Svetasreni, President of the River Festival 2019; and Mr. Kamolnai Chaixanien, Senior Vice President of the Thai Beverage Public Company Limited; as well as main sponsors from the private sector and partner networks. Details of the River Festival 2019 and the “River Consonance” concept were given during a press conference at Wat Kalayanamitr.

Wat Kalayanamitr
Wat Kalayanamitr
Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)

The city’s main tourist attractions during the festival period include spectacular light and sound shows, retail businesses, and nighttime entertainments in outdoor venues of historic significance. The 10 truly amazing places to visit are Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), Wat Prayurawongsawat, Wat Kalayanamitr, Yodpiman River Walk, Tha Maharaj, Asiatique the Riverfront, Lhong 1919, SookSiam@ICONSIAM, and Wat Rakhang (Temple of Bells) that was built during the Ayutthaya Period.

Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)
Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)
Tha Maharaj
Tha Maharaj
Yodpiman River Walk
Yodpiman River Walk
Lhong 1919
Lhong 1919
SookSiam@ICONSIAM
SookSiam@ICONSIAM
Asiatique the Riverfront
Asiatique the Riverfront

The ornate shrines and vibrant street scenes are located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. They are some of the most visited destinations among pilgrims as well as foreign tourists and locals. During the three-day festival, visitors can enter the five temple grounds and pay homage to the Buddha at night. Or stop and take a moment to admire the beauty of the Chao Phraya River from all 10 riverboat piers.

If you’re into music, know that 11 universities across the capital are giving performances in various genres from popular music with wide appeal to classical. They are Chulalongkorn University, Thammasat University, Srinakharinwirot University, Silpakorn University, Kasetsart University, Ramkhamhaeng University, Dhurakij Pundit University, Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University, Rangsit University, Bangkok Thonburi University, and Bangkok University Rangsit Campus.

Experience the charms of Thai culture and Thai identity at venues of historic significance on the bank of the Chao Phraya River. No better time than now. Soak yourself in the concept of “River Consonance” during the River Festival 2019, scheduled for 9-11 November 2019, 17.00-22.30 hours. For updates please visit www.riverfestivalthailand.com and facebook/riverfestivalthailand

  • Additional information

The River Festival 2019 is an annual cultural celebration, which is now in its fifth year. Data collected from previous years indicated that participating retail businesses could generate incomes for local communities amounting to more than 2 million baht in three days. Each year, the event attracted more than 200,000 visitors, both foreign and local. Exit interviews showed more than 90 percent of visitors came away impressed about efforts at fostering the progress of Thailand’s culture through greater awareness of its heritage. To sum up, it’s a festival that contributes significantly to the betterment of society and culture, as well as the future of the tourism industry.

  • Highlights of this year’s River Festival
  1. Happening Music

It’s an opportunity to come in contact with pop stars, among them Sinjaroen Brother, Praw Kanitkul, Nont Tanont and other celebs, who give concerts at Asiatique. While there, find out what the concept of “River Consonance” means to you, and what kind of music is the happening thing. Step in for a surprise. Plenty of music to enjoy both on the boat and on the piers, plus performances by the CU Band and CU Chorus from Chulalongkorn, and the TU band and TU Chorus from Thammasat. Not to mention country music by up-and coming bands from Kasetsart, Srinakarinwirote, Ramkhamhaeng, Dhurakij Pundit, Suan Sunandha Rajabhat, and Bangkok Thonburi universities. There’s also jazz and international by Silapakorn. That pretty much ensures that fun is had by all.

Sinjaroen Brother
Sinjaroen Brother
Praw Kanitkul
Praw Kanitkul
Nont Tanont
Nont Tanont
  1. The opening of Pier 10

To celebrate a very important year marked by the coronation of a new sovereign, H. M. King Rama X of Thailand, a new riverboat pier is officially opened on the Chao Phraya River. The pier at Wat Rakhang has since been renamed “Pier 10”. The new call sign coincides with proclamation of 2019 as the ASEAN Cultural Year and the fact that the ASEAN Region has 10 members. The 10-pier system bodes well for the future of river traffic in the inner core of Bangkok, which is home to the longest river bend running through the capital.

Wat Rakhang Kositaram Woramahawihan
Wat Rakhang Kositaram Woramahawihan
  1. Special Activities

To reiterate the importance of 2019 as the ASEAN Cultural Year, more VIP Cruises up and down the Chao Phraya River will be added for pleasure. Representatives of the international community will be invited to participate in various promotional activities, offering them the opportunity of experiencing the charms of Thai culture and interacting with members of the local community, from temples to schools to people’s homes. The heart of the matter is a multicultural neighborhood that’s home to three religions, four beliefs, and five ethnic groups who coexist peacefully in harmony at “Ka Dee Jeen”, a midtown area in Thonburi. The activity is cohosted by the Supatra Group.

Something of interest to the media is the “Unseen Cruise Tour”, a series of activities at Wat Rakhang Pier. Begin the day with a photo contest aptly titled “One Shot Knockout”, which is scheduled for November 10 from 07.30 to 14.00 hours. At nightfall, enjoy outdoor movies featuring two of the best of Thai cinema, น้ำตาลไม่หวาน (Sugar Not Sweet), and เกาะสวาทหาดสวรรค์ (Paradise Island) that were part of the exhibits at the Bangkok Art Biennale 2019.

The journey is incomplete without a visit to Lhong 1919 and Asiatique, two famous riverboat piers on the south bend of the Chao Phraya River. Plenty of activities and fun you can do for enjoyment. From here, you can travel on to SookSiam@ICONSIAM and take part in the celebration of its first anniversary. Along the way, collect rubber stamps as proof of having visited all three riverboat piers, and you can enter for a chance to win a “Happy Pouch” from the River Festival 2019.

The River Festival Lamphun

  • You may also like: … The River Festival Lamphun.

The best event you can’t miss is the Loy Krathong Festival, which is happening at the same time as the River Festival in Lamphun. The venue for dual celebrations is the bank of the Kuang River that’s a lifeline of this beautiful northern city.

The River Festival Lamphun offers the opportunity of experiencing Lanna culture that’s renowned for exceptional northern hospitality. During this time, the street is full of locals and visitors as the crowd gathers to pay respect to Phra That Hariphunchai Temple, home of the gilded stupa that’s the heart and soul of Lamphun town. By night the sky is aglow under floating lanterns during the “Festival of a Hundred Thousand Lights”.

What makes Lamphun famous is the rich riparian ecosystems and forests that thrive within the city. Art lovers shouldn’t miss the art market where pieces are bought and sold through fairs and exhibitions in art shops. The festive season is a paradise for those looking for good deals on local products. Be spoilt for choice when it comes to authentic northern food prepared by locals as well as up-and-coming young chefs. By and large, it’s an immersive experience to enjoy in the lead-up to Loy Krathong Night on 11 November.

Don’t miss out on it! The River Festival Lamphun is happening on 7-11 November on the bank of the Kuang River from 17.00 to 22.00 hours.

Colorful Changes in Bangkok: 6 spots welcome the new year with color

Colorful Changes in Bangkok: 6 spots welcome the new year with color

In this final month before the New Year, wherever you look in Bangkok you’ll see joyous festivities with colorful lights. Come with Living ASEAN to six of them!

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Gott /// Photography:  Rittirong Tongjunsuk, Tanakitt Khum-on

Thailand Illumination Festival 2017 – Ratchada

This garden of more than 15 acres bustles with fascinating activities under the brilliantly glowing light of more than a million bulbs. Here you’ll find a tunnel of many colors, a Christmas tree festooned with lights, models of the 12 constellations of the zodiac, and an indoor sound and light show featuring songs composed by H.M. Rama 9. Open to visitors free of charge Monday – Thursday from 6 to 10 PM, and Friday – Sunday 6 to 11 PM until January 6, 2018: Ratchadapisek Road Soi 8, opposite the Esplanade shopping center.

Thailand Illumination Festival 2017
festival of lights
Thailand Illumination Festival 2017

festival of lights
Beautiful Bangkok – Magnolia Ratchadamri Boulevard

Here a “3-D projection mapping” light show by the artist group “Limelight” paints a 60-story building with images depicting Bangkok ways of life, culture, and history. Shows from Dec. 14 – 31 2017 five times daily, at 7, 7:15, 7:30, 7:45, and 8PM. On New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31) there’s a special additional show for the 2018 countdown at 11:55 PM.

festival of lights
Beautiful Bangkok

LIGHT UP CHRISTMAS TREE CELEBRATION – Central World

CentralWorld Shopping Plaza has set up an amphitheater in front for a wondrously decorated “land of music” featuring world-famous Argentinian artist Javier Gonzales Burgos. The huge Christmas tree surrounded by statues including Santa, polar bears, and reindeer is a visual highlight.

LIGHT UP CHRISTMAS TREE CELEBRATION
LIGHT UP CHRISTMAS TREE CELEBRATION
festival of lights
LIGHT UP CHRISTMAS TREE CELEBRATION

festival of lights

Harry Potter: Christmas in the Wizarding World – Siam Paragon

The space fronting on Siam Paragon has become a magical country, giving muggles a not-to- be-missed photographic opportunity under the theme “Christmas in The Wizarding World,” put on by Warner Bros. Consumer Products and GES,
organizers of the international show “Harry Potter: The Exhibition” on its first visit to Thailand.

festival of lights
Harry Potter: Christmas in the Wizarding World

festival of lights
Let’s Celebrate 2018: The Holidays Bring Me Here – Central Embassy

A ten-meter Santa Claus, largest in Southeast Asia, rises majestically above Central Embassy shopping plaza, this year brilliant with more than a million Christmas lights. Here also is “Santa Playland,” designed to take everyone back to a fun-filled childhood atmosphere.

festival of lights
Let’s Celebrate 2018: The Holidays Bring Me Here
festival of lights
Let’s Celebrate 2018: The Holidays Bring Me Here

festival of lights
Winter Wonderland the Grand Celebration – The Emquartier – EMPORIUM

The Emquartier – EMPORIUM has transformed the trade center to be a miraculous land of winter under the theme “Winter Wonderland: the Grand Celebration,” with a 12-meter white bear and an army of small white bears beaming smiles at all
passersby. There is also a light show with content changing each week.

festival of lights
Winter Wonderland the Grand Celebration
festival of lights
Winter Wonderland the Grand Celebration

Link: http://www.baanlaesuan.com/88727/design/directory/5-light-up-bangkok/

You may also like…

JATUJAK ISN’T JUST FOR WEEKENDS
WAT ARUN RATCHAWARARAM, A MUST-SEE THAI HISTORICAL SITE
WORLDWIDE AIRPORT RANKING 2017: THE BEST AND THE NOT SO GOOD
Tropical Cocktails That Originated in Southeast Asia

Tropical Cocktails That Originated in Southeast Asia

Many think the Tropical cocktail Mai Tai is of Thai origin. At least the name sounds like the word for Thai silk. Far from it! Mai Tai comes from a Tahitian cry for “Very good!” It’s hot out there. Let’s find out which one of the tasty cocktails actually has its origin in the ASEAN Region.

/// ASEAN ///

Original Singapore Sling
Original Singapore Sling at Long Bar // Photo: VasenkaPhotography

– Singapore Sling –

The Singapore Sling is a gin-based cocktail invented around 1915 by Ngiam Tong Boon, a Hainanese bartender at Raffles Hotel, Singapore. Ngiam wanted to create a cocktail for ladies. So he mixed gin and pineapple juice, along with Grenadine, lime juice and Benedictine into a long drink. Its sweet and sour taste is perfect for summer. That’s why even male drinkers don’t shy away from ordering this rosy cocktail. Nowadays it is widely regarded as a national drink of Singapore.

Variations of the popular Tropical Cocktail abound. But the original recipe is still served at the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel. Peanuts are its longtime companion there. Singaporean barflies in the Roaring Twenties went to the Long Bar and sipped Singapore Sling while tossing peanut shells onto the floor. The Long Bar was the only area where littering was permitted at that time.

 

Jungle Bird
Jungle Bird // Photo: Hilton Kuala Lumpur

– Jungle Bird –

When the nightlife of the 1970’s was swarming with delicious cocktails, the Aviary Bar at the former Hilton Kuala Lumpur launched its version of Tiki drinks. The exotic rum-based cocktail is a mix of pineapple juice, Campari, lime juice and simple syrup. It was named Jungle Bird.

The Aviary Bar is no more after the Hilton Kuala Lumpur has moved to a new location. But the Jungle Bird has flown across the globe. It has become a popular Tiki cocktail in every bar that embraces the romanticized concept of Tropical cultures.

 

Siam Sunrays
Siam Sunrays  // Photo: Diageo Moet Hennessy (Thailand)

– Siam Sunrays –

Even without a long history, the Siam Sunrays is widely regarded as “Thailand in a glass.” The long drink was created by Surasak Phanthaisong, who won the Thailand Signature Drinks Competition in 2008. The recipe is publicized as a national cocktail by Thailand’s Tourism Authority in a campaign to promote travel to the Kingdom.

Inspired by the taste and aroma characteristic of Thai food, the Siam Sunrays is a mix of vodka, coconut liqueur, kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass, ginger, lime juice, Thai chili pepper, syrup and soda water. It may look like Tom Yum in a tall glass, but it sure is one refreshing way to beat the heat. The tasty Tropical cocktail can be found at many bars and restaurants around Thailand.

 

Ya Dong
Ya Dong at Studio Lam Bangkok // Photo: Studio Lam

As cocktails are becoming popular again in this present day, aspiring mixologists across Southeast Asia have invented new cocktail drink recipes based on experience and the taste of local cuisine. In Thailand, it’s easy to find hip bars that serve traditional Ya Dong (Thai herbal rice spirit) in a cool manner. Meantime in Indonesian, bartenders mix elegant cocktails with their Tuak, locally brewed “moonshine” from palm trees. And if you love sweets, there are cocktails that look like ABC, an acronym for the Malaysian shaved ice dessert.

The next generation recipes feature a perfect blend of fresh, new ideas and old-fashioned spirits. Who knows? One day they could rise to fame and earn pride of place in the world of mixology like those big names that came before them. Cheers, see you later!

 

Mai Tai
Mai Tais at Trader Vic’s Bangkok // Photo: Trader Vic’s Bangkok

Did You Know?

Many Thais think the Tropical cocktail Mai Tai is of Thai origin, because the name sounds like the word meaning Thai silk. Actually, Mai Tai is a rum-based Tiki drink invented by Victor J. Bergeron, the founder of Trader Vic’s restaurant. Legend had it that when he served this cocktail for the first time to some Tahitian friends, they cried out in the Tahitian language, “Maita’i roa ae,” literally “Very good!” So, he named this cocktail “Mai Tai.”

Having misunderstood it all along? No problem! You can enjoy the original Mai Tai in Thailand, too. Trader Vic’s restaurant at Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort could very well be your next favorite hangout place.

Vibrant and Diverse Chinatowns of Southeast Asia

Vibrant and Diverse Chinatowns of Southeast Asia

The Chinatowns of Southeast Asia boast a rich history and unique charm that are sure to captivate your imagination. Check this out.

/// ASEAN ///

Binondo / Manila’s Chinatown

The ethnic Chinese community at Binondo, a district of Manila, is considered the oldest Chinatown in the world. Founded in 1594 by the Spaniards as a permanent settlement for Chinese who converted to Catholicism, Binondo had been the hub of Chinese commerce and trade even before the Spanish Colonial period. Binondo Church, the district’s landmark, was built in 1596 by the Dominicans to serve their Chinese converts to the Christian faith. Binondo became the center for commerce in Manila during the American occupation. Part of it was destroyed during World War II, which resulted in many companies moving to Makati, a new business district.

Binondo
Photo: Doods Dumaguing (https://flic.kr/p/dTm8pM)
Binondo Church
Binondo Church. /// Photo: josh james (https://flic.kr/p/9jTuG4)
Binondo Church
Inside the historical church. /// Photo: Shubert Ciencia (https://flic.kr/p/6eZezv)

 

Chinatown / Singapore

You just can’t miss Singapore’s Chinatown because it is located on a major Mass Rapid Transit line. The Chinatown MRT Station is in Chinatown, where bustling streets are lined with low-rise, colonial style architecture in vibrant pastel colors.

The district is frequented by Buddhists, who come to pay homage at the sacred Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. The holy relic is on display inside the stunning four-story shrine. The house of worship is built based on architecture common during the Tang Dynasty, the most glistening period in China’s history from 618 to 709 AD.

Southbridge
Photo: Nicolas Lannuzel (https://flic.kr/p/oU8UMk)
Chinatown Station
Photo: Khalzuri Yazid (https://flic.kr/p/7bBfJM)
Chinatown
Photo: Brent 2.0 (https://flic.kr/p/dTEemW)
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.
The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. /// Photo: LWYang (https://flic.kr/p/kKSgGL)

 

Glodok / Jakarta’s Chinatown

There are numerous ethnic Chinese communities throughout Indonesia, the biggest of which is located in Glodok, a western district of Jakarta. There is more to Glodok than a big electronics market selling gizmos and gadgets. The streets of Jakarta’s Chinatown are vibrant with Chinese shops, authentic cuisine, and Chinese temples.

No far from Glodok stands another thriving Chinatown called Mangga Dua. Put the two ethnic Chinese neighborhoods together, and you get one of the biggest shopping districts in Southeast Asia.

Glodok
Lindeteves Trade Centre, the landmark of Glodok. /// Photo: Everyone Sinks Starco (https://flic.kr/p/LZ1syR)
Glodok
Chinese New Year celebrations in Glodok. /// Photo: basibanget (https://flic.kr/p/7GvMG4)
Mangga Dua
Chinatown gateway at Mangga Dua. /// Photo: Jakob Montrasio (https://flic.kr/p/7RraE9)

 

Petaling Street / Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown

In the early years of Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Street was part of a pioneer town that attracted many Chinese immigrants to the tin trade. One of them was a Chinese “kapitan” or headman named Yap Ah Loy, who later played an important role in developing the city.

Nowadays Petaling Street is bustling with rows of retail shops and restaurants, including the iconic Kim Lian Kee restaurant. It is dubbed the birthplace of “Hokkien mee,” which is a stir-fry noodle dish in Malaysian and Singaporean cuisine.

Petaling Street
Photo: Conny Sandland (https://flic.kr/p/6UxpRp)

Petaling Street

Petaling Street
A boutique hotel on Petaling Street.
Hokkien mee
The famous “Hokkien mee,” a stir-fry noodle dish at Kim Lian Kee. /// Photo: Alpha (https://flic.kr/p/6d36zC)

 

Yaowarat / Bangkok’s Chinatown

Populated by the largest number of overseas Chinese, Bangkok’s Yaowarat neighborhood is no doubt one of the biggest Chinatowns in the world. Ethinic Chinese, especially speakers of Teochew, Cantonese, Hakka, and Hainanese concentrated at Yaowarat. Together they turned the district along the Chao Phraya River into a thriving CBD and cultural melting pot. Today’s Yaowarat is vibrant with commerce and finance, and a great variety of authentic Chinese cuisine.

Dubbed the “Golden Street”, Yaowarat is home to numerous gold shops dealing in wholesale and retail business. The famous 5,500-kilogram golden Buddha statue is located here at Wat Traimit, a temple near Yaowarat Road.

Yaowarat

Yaowarat

Yaowarat

Wat Traimit
The world’s biggest golden Buddha statue at Bangkok’s Chinatown.

 

And that’s not all. There are other Chinatowns in Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Brunei, too. Since time immemorial, Southeast Asia has become one of favorite destinations among Chinese migrants looking for a new life abroad. Finding strength in number, they created new homes and countless business opportunities in foreign lands. In the process they added cultural diversity and brought economic growth to the Southeast Asian region.

Chinatown in Vientiane, Laos.
Chinatown in Vientiane, Laos. /// Photo: Prince Roy (https://flic.kr/p/7Bg1sh)
A Chinese temple in Yangon’s Chinatown, Myanmar.
A Chinese temple in Yangon’s Chinatown, Myanmar. /// Photo: William (https://flic.kr/p/jziMXQ)

Don’t forget to share your thoughts on Chinatowns in your country on our Facebook page.

 

 

Which is the best chicken rice in the ASEAN: Malaysian, Singaporean, or Thai?

Which is the best chicken rice in the ASEAN: Malaysian, Singaporean, or Thai?

Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand each have their version of delicious Hainanese chicken rice. Which is the best? Not all people have the same opinions about it. Here is what Living ASEAN has discovered. Check this out.

/// Singapore / Malaysia / Thailand ///

One of the most expensive chicken rices in town at Chatterbox, Mandarin Orchard Singapore. /// Photo: Chatterbox
One of the most expensive chicken rices in town at Chatterbox, Mandarin Orchard Singapore. /// Photo: Chatterbox

Originated in Hainan, an island province off China’s southern coast, Hainanese chicken rice no doubt has reached the pinnacle of fame. It accompanied Chinese immigrants to Southeast Asia, where it became one of the most popular dishes, even a culinary staple.

CR04
Photo: Mechie Choa Yu (https://flic.kr/p/bABVjC)
Poached or roasted? The choice is yours. Photo: Matthew Kang (https://flic.kr/p/fBkZ1G)
Poached or roasted? The choice is yours. /// Photo: Matthew Kang (https://flic.kr/p/fBkZ1G)

/// Singapore ///

Let’s start with Singapore, where chicken rice is listed as one of national dishes. The Singaporean version is noted for the perfect tenderness of chicken and rice. Chefs usually pour chicken stock with chili dipping sauce on chicken to add flavor. Roasted chicken is commonly available as an alternative at most restaurants as well.

The three-in-one dish consists of poached chicken, dip sauce, and steamed white rice cooked with chicken fat from poaching the whole chicken. Singapore’s chicken rice has got the thumbs up from many food lovers. It has performed impressively in renewing an interest in and love for traditional Chinese cuisine.

 

Chicken rice balls of Malacca
Chicken rice balls of Malacca. /// Photo: Yun Huang Yong (https://flic.kr/p/e9aRDw)
Chicken rice and the favorite supersize side dish, stir-fried bean sprouts. (Lou Wang restaurant, Ipoh, Malaysia.)
Chicken rice and the favorite supersize side dish, stir-fried bean sprouts. (Lou Wang restaurant, Ipoh, Malaysia.)

/// Malaysia ///

Nasi Ayam, or Malaysian chicken rice, comes with spicier chili dips, but compared with the Singaporean version, the difference is so slight as to be difficult to describe. Meanwhile in Malacca, the state on the Malay Peninsula’s southwest coast, chicken rice is presented in a unique way. Oily steamed rice is shaped into balls and served alongside sliced chicken fillet. These rice balls are such a treat fresh off the stove. As the Malaccans put it, rice balls stay warm longer, and are easier for customers to pack for lunch at work.

 

Customers queue up in front of a well-known chicken rice restaurant in Bangkok.
Customers queue up in front of a well-known chicken rice restaurant in Bangkok.

CR30

 

CR14

/// Thailand ///

Khao Man Kai, the Thai version of Hainanese chicken rice, is different from those of their neighbors in that dips are not put on chicken itself. Rather, the dipping sauce comes mixed in soybean paste and is served separately in a kind of small dishware. Remember, looks can be deceiving. Don’t judge the sauce by its calm hues. The Thai dipping sauce is a mix of chili, ginger, lime juice, and rice vinegar. It can be as zesty and spicy as any other Thai food. Most Khao Man Kai eateries offer poached chicken as well as the fried variant. You can have both kinds of chicken in the meal.

Every dish has its own distinct taste. In Hainan, the dish rose to fame by sticking with the original recipe that used only the kind of poultry and ginger indigenous to the island province. The famous recipe has come a long way, and there are subtle differences among those variations. You just have to try them all to see. It’s entirely up to you to judge which one is the best. And don’t forget to share your opinions on our Facebook page.

CR12

7 Traditional Rice Desserts to Give a Try

7 Traditional Rice Desserts to Give a Try

Rice is an indispensable component of ASEAN dishes, since it’s an important part of our everyday meals. In fact in Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam, instead of saying “Let’s have dinner,” we say “Let’s eat rice.”

Information resources: TK Park/Wikipedia

Rather than going on about typical main dishes such as fried rice or Nasi Goreng, we’d like to introduce you to seven local favorite rice-based desserts guaranteed to flatter anyone’s sweet tooth.

 

– KETUPAT –

ketupat01
Photo credit: Sham Hardy https://flic.kr/p/6ZArj1
ketupat02
Photo credit: Sham Hardy https://flic.kr/p/6ZwJfX

 

This local Muslim dish is made from boiled sticky rice mixed with coconut milk. It is usually wrapped in woven coconut leaf or nipa palm, and served during Hari Raya,the period of celebration following Ramadan.

 

– KRALAN / KHAO LAM –

kaolam

This is found throughout ASEAN countries, but under different names:khao lam (Thai), leman (Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei), kralan (Cambodia), or kermlam (Vietnam).

It’s a sweet dessert made of sticky rice, red beans, sugar, grated coconut, and coconut milk mixed together, packed into bamboo sections, and roasted. For those who prefer a thicker texture and moderate sweetness, look for the ones with loads of coconut milk on top.

 

– BIBINGKA –

bibingka
Photo credit: George Parrilla https://flic.kr/p/5C42sE
Photo credit: Yvette Tan https://flic.kr/p/ejrzNG
Photo credit: Yvette Tan https://flic.kr/p/ejrzNG

This soft and spongy Filipino cake is available only during the Christmas season. Rice flour and baking powder are seasoned with a pinch of salt and sugar, then poured with a mixture of coconut milk, eggs, and butter into a clay pot for a fine bake.

Varieties of bibingka in the Philippines are endless. There are bibingka galapong (from rice flour and tamod), bibingkang malagkit (from glutinous rice flour, served in square blocks), bibingkang kamoteng kahoy (from cassava flour), and many more.

 

– SUMAN –

Photo credit: dbgg1979 https://flic.kr/p/6cfXPU
Photo credit: dbgg1979 https://flic.kr/p/6cfXPU

This original Filipino sticky rice cake is usually wrapped in buri palm leaves and steamed. Some prefer to sprinkle sugar on the top, while some pour latik (coconut curds from simmered coconut milk) on as a sauce.

 

– DADAR GULUNG –

Photo credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8c/Kue_dadar_gulung.JPG
Photo credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8c/Kue_dadar_gulung.JPG

This pastel-colored sweet is also known as an Indonesian coconut pancake. Dadar means “omelet,” and gulung means “to roll,” as the finished pandan rice flour mix “omelet” is rolled around a grated coconut and palm sugar filling. Dadar gulung is commonly found mostly in Indonesia and Malaysia.

– MANGO WITH STICKY RICE –

mangoricetouse

This one of the most renowned Thai desserts.Afresh ripe “naam dokmai” or “okrong”variety of mango is paired with sticky rice and served with coconut milk. During the ripe mango season, which usually peaks in April and May, variations on this dish – for example mango & sticky rice ice cream and mango & sticky rice cake – can also be found.

– SERI MUKA –

Photo credit: Reedz Malik https://flic.kr/p/icqMLy
Photo credit: Reedz Malik https://flic.kr/p/icqMLy

Two layers of altogether different texture give this dish a perfect taste. The bottom layer of steamed glutinous rice is topped with a soft and creamy pandan custard. In 2009 the Malaysian Department of National Heritage proclaimed seri muka to be one of 100 uniquely Malaysian-heritage foods and beverages. Besides Malaysia, the dish is also available in Indonesia and South Kalimantan.

 

ASEAN Winter, Snow in the Tropics?

ASEAN Winter, Snow in the Tropics?

Hot weather, wet weather, cold weather. The ASEAN Region has it all. Did you know that it snowed in some parts of Southeast Asia, too, and there were times when temperatures plunged to as low as minus 57C? Take a look.

/// ASEAN ///

– MYANMAR –

8643
Photo credit: https://en.wikipedia.org

The Hkakabo Razi is the highest mountain in Myanmar. The mountain peak and namesake has had a fair share of coldest days on records when temperatures took a deep dive to a record low 57.9 degrees Celsius. Dubbed the highest peak in Southeast Asia, the Hkakabo Razi is known for its alpine climate, or the average weather for the regions above the tree line. Thick snow blankets much of the highlands of Myanmar during winter months. Spending winter here may not be the most enjoyable activity in the world. If you wish to conquer the top or love watching snow-capped peaks, the Putao Mountain in Kachin State is probably more interesting as a safer destination. The Putao is known for very beautiful hiking trails leading to the twin peaks, called the Phangram Razi, and the Phongyin Razi. They are not as high as the Hkakabo Razi but safer. By the way, extreme cold weather is guaranteed. So come well prepared.

– LAOS –

laos
houphan-namet-phoulouey-cold-january-2016-11

Photo credit: Janina Bikova/WCS Loas/NEPL NPA http://www.namet.org
Photo credit: Janina Bikova/WCS Laos/NEPL NPA http://www.namet.org

For a brief period in January, temperatures in the northern province of Houaphanh can drop to minus 3 degrees Celsius, giving the people of Laos a chance to experience plenty of frost and hail first hand.

Locals get on with their lives dressed for the weather, while visitors are just happy showing up with the latest in winter trends. It’s not uncommon to find “selfies” and video clips from northern Laos showing people in warm clothes and fur jackets on social networks and the Internet.

While many believed it was snow they were seeing, the weather authority said the phenomenon was actually frost caused by sudden exposure to waves of cold weather. Oftentimes the cold waves would linger on for a few days before the weather quickly returned to normal.

– VIETNAM –

Photo credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fansipan-vietnam.jpg
Photo credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fansipan-vietnam.jpg

Every year, the top of the Fansipan Mountain is covered with snow. Like the mountains in Myanmar, hiking tours are available. The excursions usually take a few days to reach the mountaintop. For those opting for the less adventurous way, the recently opened cable car service is ready to help you conquer the summit in no time. Meanwhile, take your time to enjoy bird’s eye views of the picturesque landscape.

– THAILAND –

Photo credit: Ekkarat Punyatara
Photo credit: Ekkarat Punyatara

Every year, people in Bangkok and the vicinity look forward to the arrival of cold winds as a reprieve from punishing heat. What really happens is a far cry from cold European weather. Towards year end, cool breezes can be felt heralding a change of season from rainy to cold. It is not winter in every sense of the word. In an unlikely scenario, temperatures may go below 20 degrees Celsius, and that is good enough a reason for the city dwellers to get excited and get into warm clothes, albeit for a short time.

The Northern Region provides plenty of wholesome destinations to celebrate “winter.” The best time of year comes when atmospheric vapor condenses turning morning dew into frost blanketing much of the landscape, a phenomenon known as “Mae Khaning” or “Moey Khaab.”

These beautiful sights along with seas of dense valley fog make for great photo opportunities and continue to attract city people looking for a touch of the country. Many wish that snow were here one day, although the chances of that actually happening are very remote.

– SINGAPORE –

Photo credit: aotaro https://flic.kr/p/DFFiCj
Photo credit: aotaro https://flic.kr/p/DFFiCj

According to www.yoursingapore.com, despite having no real snow or reindeer to offer, Singapore promises a big and wonderful Christmas celebration.

Every year, Orchard Road transforms into a Christmas wonderland with sparkling lights and flowery archways. Turkey seasoned with Asian herbs and spices are also up for grabs.

Of course, there’s no snow here. But plenty of Christmas and New Year promotions should be more than enough to satisfy every shopper.

– MALAYSIA –

Photo credit: Soon Koon https://flic.kr/p/pxv8bE
Photo credit: Soon Koon https://flic.kr/p/pxv8bE

Originally from China, the Dongzhi Festival is a cultural heritage that has been passed from generation to generation among Malaysians and Singaporeans of Chinese descent.

The festival celebrates winter solstice, which marks the onset of winter (time of the shortest day). In this occasion, family members come together to meet and eat Tangyuan, glutinous rice balls in sweet soup. The food symbolizes family unity and harmony.

In case you are visiting Malaysia this winter, don’t forget to drop by at a Chinese restaurant and treat yourself with the menu.

– THE PHILIPPINES –

Photo credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cf/Parols_For_Sale.png
Photo credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cf/Parols_For_Sale.png
Photo credit: Gep Pascual https://flic.kr/p/sW81G
Photo credit: Gep Pascual https://flic.kr/p/sW81G

With the majority of its citizenry being Christians and an obvious influence from the Spanish colonial period, the Philippines bring Christmas celebrations to the whole new level.

The spiritual season begins as early as September and continues to December. The 4-month long celebration is known as the “ber” months (September, October, November and December).

Traditional Filipino parols – star-shaped Christmas lanterns can be seen everywhere. These unique ornaments count as the icon of the festive season. Originally, they were made from bamboos and papers. Nowadays, thanks to seller creativeness, the parol comes in all shapes and sizes.

One little tip to visitors: Christmas in the Philippines wouldn’t be complete without this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4z22oBCCDA, which is played repeatedly everywhere. So, be prepared, and Happy Holiday to you all!

Durian: The Irresistible King of Fruit

Durian: The Irresistible King of Fruit

LivingASEAN proudly presents different durian cultures unique to the ASEAN region. Perhaps it’s something you have never heard of, including five interesting ways of making eating the spiky fruit more fun than you would ever imagine.

Photos: Sitthisak Namkham, Samutcha Viraporn,
IceDEA, Dhara Dhevi Cake Shop, HEMELTZs Chocolat, Inthanin, Beard Papa’s Singapore

004
A wall is covered with durian graffiti in Kuala Lumpur.

006

The majority of durians are grown in Thailand and Malaysia with other varieties available in Indonesia. Some are also grown in the Philippines, southern Vietnam and other Southeast Asia countries.

Thailand
Out of more than 200 varieties of durians in Thailand, the three most sought-after are Mon Thong, Chanee, and Kan Yao.

Mon Thong (meaning “golden pillow”) comes with a sweet taste and a firm texture. Chanee is smaller in size but less sweet, softer and creamier. And Kan Yao has mild, not-so-sharp sweetness.

 

001

 

The quality that most Thais look for in a durian is its firmness. Durian aficionados can tell a good fruit apart from plain ones simply by knocking on the spiky skin and judging the sounds. Hollow sounds tend to indicate the durian is too soft. In contrary, solid sounds indicate the fruit is a firm one.

Due to their pungent odor, the spiky fruits are not allowed in many places including aboard the BTS Skytrain and the MRT.

 

 

Malaysia
Malaysians prefer their durians to be soft and buttery. In Malaysia, durians are eaten within the day they are ripe, and drop from the trees to the ground. It is said that the best durians are the ones that fall down in the morning.

Malaysia seems to have it all from Musang King durian puree to Musang King durian mochi to durian flavored popsicle sticks.
Malaysia seems to have it all from Musang King durian puree to Musang King durian mochi to durian flavored popsicle sticks.

 

Durian flavored cheesecakes come in the guise of a simple cupcake appearance.
Durian flavored cheesecakes come in the guise of a simple cupcake appearance.

 

There are many products made from durian in different, perhaps quirky, ways that are available in Malaysia. They include durian flavored ice creams, candies, cakes, pastes, freeze-dried durian snacks, and a wide variety of durian parfaits.

 

007
Indonesia
The keyword for getting a nice durian experience here is ‘Kampung’. In Malaysia and Indonesia, the word means “village.” So, when you visit a durian stall, make sure to look for the ‘Kampung’ sign. It means that the fruits are products of indigenous durian trees grown in the villages, and not from any genetically modified tree.

 

005

 

Often you will come across durians that are either too ripe or too raw. So, one useful thing to know is not to buy a fruit that had been cut open. It is a normal practice that a “Takung Duren” (durian seller) will always select the fruit, cut it open and pass on an amount of its creamy flesh for you to taste. After that it’s your turn to decide whether to take the fruit or ask for a new one.

Well, choose wisely. We hope you all have a chance to meet your durian soul mate!

 

A little note to durian lovers: In an unfortunate case, you may encounter an unscrupulous vendor trying to sell you a rotten or spoiled durian for high prices. No need to overreact like a buyer did in this hyperlink: http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/unhappy-with-quality-of-durians-malaysian-man-stabs-fruit-seller-to-death. Just keep calm and buy from other stall instead.

 

Creative Ways to Eat Durian

 

It looks like a simple slice of durian. But make no mistake; this is actually durian-flavored ice cream. A piece of this innovative, delicious durian ice cream is available at IceDEA (www.facebook.com/iceidea) /// Thailand.
It looks like a simple slice of durian. But make no mistake; this is actually durian-flavored ice cream. A piece of this innovative, delicious durian ice cream is available at IceDEA (www.facebook.com/icedea) /// Thailand.

 

Crispy freeze-dried durian makes a perfect snack. It's light and also full of nutrients. /// Malaysia
Crispy freeze-dried durian makes a perfect snack. It’s light and also full of nutrients. /// Malaysia

 

This Hello-Kitty durian ice cream is a combination of cute and cool. /// Malaysia
This Hello-Kitty durian ice cream is a combination of cute and cool. /// Malaysia

 

Thailand's well-known and loved Dhara Dhevi cake shop offers numerous baked goods on its menu. Try out these durian macarons. Pair them with your favorite choice of tea, and you won't be disappointed. www.facebook.com/dharadhevicakeshop /// Thailand.
Thailand’s well-known and loved Dhara Dhevi cake shop offers numerous baked goods on its menu. Try out these durian macarons. Pair them with your favorite choice of tea, and you won’t be disappointed. www.facebook.com/dharadhevicakeshop /// Thailand

 

HEMELTZs Chocolat has lines of assorted durian chocolate to choose from. The Singaporean owned brand sources high-quality durian from Thailand and export these luxurious chocolates to the world. www.hemeltzschocolat.com /// Singapore
HEMELTZs Chocolat has lines of assorted durian chocolate to choose from. The Singaporean owned brand sources high-quality durian from Thailand and export these luxurious chocolates to the world. www.hemeltzschocolat.com /// Singapore

 

013
Innovative durian-based products are mostly on offer during durian peak season (June and July). Thailand’s Inthanin Coffee creates special durian latte selections. And for a limited time this year, Beard Papa in Singapore also rolls out durian cream puffs. See more at www.facebook.com/inthanincoffee and www.facebook.com/beardpapasingapore /// Thailand /// Singapore

 

014

015
Dubbed “durian pancake” or “durian crepe,” this bite-size sweet pack has loads of fresh cream wrapped inside a thin layer of durian crepe like a little golden treasure box. /// Malaysia
X